As much as the First United Thrift Store appreciates your donations, they're urging you to take your disco balls and used dentures elsewhere.
These are just some of the items the East Hastings thrift store has had to trash over the years after receiving them as donations. As spring cleaning season gets underway, the store has created a set of donation guidelines in an effort to save money and volunteer time.
Can this be used?
Heather Forbes — communications coordinator for First United Church, which runs the store — urges people to think about whether their items are still usable by anyone before deciding to donate them.
"Ultimately, the person who is going to be receiving your gift needs to be able to make use of it." Forbes told The Early Edition's Samantha Garvey.
Donations of damaged clothing and broken household items can actually hurt thrift stores more than help them, Forbes said, because volunteers then have to sort through and get rid of the items themselves.
"That ends up being a lot of volunteer energy going into something that they didn't come here for," she said. "And sometimes we have to just put [items we receive] in the trash."
Clothing as basic human dignity
Forbes said that clothing is an expression of personal identity, and allowing her store's clients to do so in an affordable way is a way to provide dignity for the less economically privileged.
To that end, Forbes urged people looking to make donations to their local thrift stores to make sure their donations are in clean, usable condition — and are things someone would actually want to wear.
"You still want to express yourself [regardless of socioeconomic status]," Forbes said. "So it's really important to us that we have this nice space where people can come in and pick out things that they like for themselves, and it's priced at a point that they can afford."
"That's something that we're really proud of."
Check out the First United Thrift Store's guidelines for donations:
With files from Samantha Garvey