Five tips to make ‘thrifting’ worth your time in 2022

thrifting - guadalupe resale shopRetail prices are soaring on everything from clothing and food to vehicles and gas. The inflation rate is at its highest level in three decades. Shipping delays and limited inventory are frustrating consumers from coast to coast. 

Savvy shoppers, however, are rediscovering a money-saving alternative – thrift store shopping. Prior to the pandemic, the thrift store industry was growing by 7% annually, according to The Association of Resale Professionals. However, the online resale platform ThredUp estimates the secondhand market will double from $36 billion in 2021 to $77 billion in 2025. 

Thrift store shopping, affectionately called “thrifting” by the trend’s devotees, can be entertaining and enlightening, as well as challenging. Below are five tips to make thrifting worth your time in 2022: 

Shop with a purpose

When customers enter a grocery store, they have a general idea of what they need to buy – milk, eggs, bread, etc. You don’t need a specific list to shop at a thrift store, though, just a general idea, goal or plan of action. If you’re looking to spruce up a living room with new artwork, for instance, decide in advance on the theme, like tropical, floral or wildlife. Then begin your search. 

Pay attention to labels

Resale shops are full of like-new and brand-new items. Shoppers often stumble across designer brands with the original price tags attached. If you’re looking for shoes, dresses, jackets or ties, know which manufacturers have the best reputation for producing high-quality products. Name-brand items can be discounted 50% or more from their original prices. 

Know the cause

Many thrift stores support nonprofit organizations and rely on volunteers to run operations rather than paid employees. That means a higher portion of revenue can support charitable causes like education, the environment, health care or the arts. It’s human nature to evaluate whether you really need to purchase an item, but that decision is easier when you know the money will support a cause that’s near and dear to your heart. 

Consider alternate uses

The best finds at a thrift store can come from repurposing items. A porcelain vase, for example, might have once held flowers, but someone with artistic abilities could transform it into a one-of-a-kind statement piece with a little paint. It’s similar to when fashionistas accessorize their outfits by wearing items that weren’t necessarily intended to go together, like a scarf or hat, but still look good. 

Shop at the right time

Resale shops typically receive the most donations on weekends and Mondays. That’s because people use their free time to clean. Although inventory is replenished on a daily basis, weekend donations can make their way onto the shelves early in the week. Also, many seasonal residents in Southwest Florida donate items before heading north for the summer, so inventory and selection is usually strong in March, April and May. 

The concept of thrifting is not new. However, economic factors have made thrifting popular once again. Shoppers certainly can capitalize on the trend in 2022 if they map out an appropriate plan of action before beginning their next shopping adventure. 

– By Kat McNabb, Manager of Guadalupe Resale Shop

Guadalupe Resale Shop debuts seasonal holiday décor

seasonal holiday decor at guadalupe resale shopGuadalupe Resale Shop is celebrating the season by filling a section of its showroom with holiday décor.

Christmas décor includes festive tableware like plates, bowls, glasses and casserole dishes, as well as place settings, table centerpieces, shelf decorations, stuffed animals, bows, lights, angel statues, decorative pillows and even a few ugly sweaters.

“Every year, our volunteers help transform the showroom into a home for unique holiday treasures and gifts,” said Kat McNabb, store manager at Guadalupe Resale Shop. “Customers have been telling us that they don’t want the same holiday décor that their neighbors and friends bought at big box stores, and they’re finding one-of-a-kind decorations and table centerpieces here.”

McNabb also notes a trend among party-goers to bring food in a leave-behind casserole dish. When the party is over, a guest simply leaves the bowl or plate as a small gift. The party host is welcome to keep that dish or pay it forward at the next dinner party.

Proceeds from sales at Guadalupe Resale Shop support three educational programs at Guadalupe Center in Immokalee: the nationally accredited Early Childhood Education Program, After-school Tutoring & Summer Enrichment Program and college-preparatory Tutor Corps Program.

Located at 12980 Tamiami Trail North, Unit 10, in Naples, Guadalupe Resale Shop is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays. Donations are accepted from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays from a curbside drop-off behind the store.

Vintage vs. old: How to tell the difference

Vintage vs. old: How to tell the difference

vintageFashionistas and collectors are in hot pursuit of vintage items to add to their wardrobes, homes or garages. 

Whether it’s a funky print, retro sneakers, 1950s hotrod or early 20th-century artwork, vintage pieces are highly sought-after items. 

But how do you know if something is vintage or just plain old? Simply study the resale market. 

Five elements help determine whether an item is considered vintage: 

  • Age: Generally, vintage items are a few decades old, with items from the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and even 1980s regularly earning that term. Vintage items often exchange hands a few times. 
  • Quality: The most impressive aspect of vintage items is that they’re in excellent condition given their age. That means holes, tears, dents, cracks and rust should be minimal or nonexistent. 
  • Demand: Are people asking for that item or searching online for it? Vintage items often have an emotional connection with their owner or potential buyer. 
  • Quantity: In an era of mass production, it’s difficult to find items that are in short supply. When they are few and far between, though, consumers will act fast before they’re gone. 
  • Value: On the secondhand market, prices are driven by quality, demand and quantity. Some vintage cars, for example, sell for a higher price today than their original MSRP, even when factoring inflation into the price. 

Across Southwest Florida, the vast majority of people are building their wardrobes with new clothing purchased at department stores or online retailers. They are decorating their homes with sofas, coffee tables, kitchen tables, lamps and artwork straight from the catalog or showroom of a nearby big box store. 

Adding vintage items to your closet or living room introduces personality, style and a little flair. Fortunately, savvy shoppers can visit a variety of resale shops in Collier and Lee counties to score vintage styles. 

Vintage fashion can be plaid or floral designs, jeans, dresses and jewelry from bygone eras. Vintage furniture includes end tables, lamp bases and lamp shades, vases, tchotchkes and chairs. Even plates, bowls, wine glasses and silverware can be vintage. 

If an item was produced or manufactured in the 1990s or early 2000s, has little interest among consumers and an incredibly low price, it isn’t vintage… it’s just old. 

– By Kat McNabb, Manager of Guadalupe Resale Shop

Donation bins cause confusion, concern for nonprofits

Donation bins cause confusion, concern for nonprofits

guadalupe resale shop inventoryRecently, donation bins have been popping up in parking lots across Southwest Florida. 

These unattended metal bins, which resemble oversized postal boxes, share two common elements: they often feature green colors to promote recycling and many incorporate the word “donate” so people think they’re helping a good cause. 

In many cases, though, these donations bins are not directly supporting a charitable cause. In fact, some bins are providing inventory for businesses that resell those donations for a profit. 

For example, for-profit textile recycling companies based in Tampa and Davie have donation bins in Southwest Florida to collect clothing and shoes. Meanwhile, a for-profit book retailer headquartered in Indiana also has a trio of local donation bins to collect used books, which are then resold online. 

In each case, these businesses are upfront in noting they are for-profit entities that donate an undisclosed portion of their sales to charitable causes. Potential donors can donate goods directly to a nonprofit, though, and have 100% of proceeds support that cause.

Four Tips

As these parking lot donation bins become commonplace in Collier and Lee counties, it’s important to keep these four tips in mind: 

  • Consider local nonprofits: Dozens of reputable nonprofits and churches in Southwest Florida operate resale stores and thrift shops, including Guadalupe Center, St. Matthew’s House, Avow, Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity and others. They rely on quality donations to stock shelves, and every sale helps support the cause. Sales generated at Guadalupe Resale Shop, for instance, account for 9% of Guadalupe Center’s annual funding, money that supports life-changing educational programs for students in Immokalee. 
  • Research who is behind the donation bin: A little sleuthing and a quick Google search can reveal the organization that maintains a donation bin. In the cases above, each name listed comes back to a dot-com, a tell-tale sign that it’s a business venture. Donors essentially are providing these companies with inventory or raw materials.
  • Don’t leave donations exposed to the elements: Resale shop volunteers and staff will help supporters unpack donations and provide a tax receipt during business hours. Do not leave donations unattended outside of a thrift store or donation bin. A box of moldy, waterlogged donations, including a winter coat, clothing and purse, was recently spotted on the ground near one of these bins, effectively rendering the donation worthless.
  • Know what nonprofits want or don’t want: Secondhand shops want quality donations that fetch higher resale prices, but not every shop accepts electronics, office furniture, baby clothing or other items. Check their wish list prior to packing donation boxes. 

It’s uncertain whether for-profits’ donation bins are having a noticeable impact on resale shops run by nonprofits. However, every book, dress or suit jacket that goes into one of these bins is a donation that does not have a chance to help local nonprofits fulfill their missions and enhance the lives of the community members they serve. 

kat mcnabb– By Kat McNabb, Manager of Guadalupe Resale Shop

Tutor Corps students shop for future at Guadalupe Resale Shop

Each year, Guadalupe Resale Shop welcomes high school graduates of Guadalupe Center’s Tutor Corps Program for a fun shopping trip.

Students are allowed to select up to 10 items priced at $40 or less, at no cost. Students often use this opportunity to add pants, long-sleeved shirts, sweaters, jackets and coats to their wardrobes, as well as business attire for job interviews and formal events.

Check out photos of the Tutor Corps Class of 2021 shopping at Guadalupe Resale Shop.

Tutor Corps Shopping Trip

Prized artwork and precious metals seek new homes in Southwest Florida

When one thinks of “treasure hunting,” images of sword-swinging pirates and metal detectors racing over the beach may come to mind. But for most modern-day treasure hunters, the search happens in air-conditioned strip malls, where thrift and resale stores offer a thrilling prospect of treasure hiding in plain sight.

Valuable items once housed in Naples-area homes have made their way to the shelves of Guadalupe Resale Shop, an upscale resale store in North Naples specializing in like-new furniture, clothing and home décor. The Resale Shop regularly receives donations of designer labels, fine jewelry, antique curiosities and high-quality furnishings. On occasion, though, there is a proverbial shimmer of gold in the pan, and something that may have once been pricey turns out to be priceless.

Fortunately, these treasures aren’t falling into unwitting hands. The Resale Shop has a history of pairing valuable décor with savvy buyers. In 2019, for instance, Toronto-based art collector Ron Woods purchased an original oil painting by S. Lewiston, valued at $2,000, for a bargain price of $175. The painting, one of Lewiston’s signature tableaus of the Venetian canals, now hangs in the library at St. Joseph’s Villa, a retirement community in Dundas, Ontario. Just one year later, international gallery curator Aldo Castillo discovered “Janet,” a lifelike statue by prolific hyperrealist sculptor Marc Sijan, in the Resale Shop’s front window. Castillo, a Naples resident, had been a longtime donor to Resale Shop, and thus was not surprised to find such an extraordinary piece of art on display. “People in Naples donate some very nice things,” Castillo noted. Much to the joy of local investors and resellers, these “nice things,” especially artwork and jewelry, will only appreciate value over time.

At Guadalupe Resale Shop, it’s more than just the shoppers hawking for treasure who benefit from high-value items. Proceeds help fund the Guadalupe Center’s transformational education programs for low-income students in Immokalee, including the nationally accredited Early Childhood Education Program, After-school Tutoring & Summer Enrichment Program and the college-preparatory Tutor Corps Program. Each is designed to foster personal and academic success, preparing students to be lifelong learners and leaders.

Guadalupe Center serves more than 1,400 students per year, and as more supporters donate high-end items to the Resale Shop, that number will only continue to grow. To put things into perspective, Castillo’s purchase of the “Janet” statue alone provided Guadalupe Center with enough funds to outfit a preschool classroom with a year’s worth of art and music supplies. These remarkable donations are creating opportunities all over the county, and as collectors are finding their next great investment, local children are finding their passion.

Guadalupe Resale Shop accepts donations throughout the year, and all donations are tax-deductible. The Resale Shop also offers free home pickup for large items, such as bedroom furniture and kitchen tables.

You never know who – or what – will wander through the doors of Guadalupe Resale Shop. Even if customers don’t walk away with a priceless treasure, they’ll still have made a difference in the lives of students in Immokalee.

– By Kat McNabb, manager of Guadalupe Resale Shop

End-of-season donations welcomed at Guadalupe Resale Shop

Guadalupe Resale Shop is requesting donations of like-new furniture, clothing and home décor before seasonal residents head north for the summer.

“The end of season is a great time for winter residents to let go of gently used items they may no longer need,” said Kat McNabb, store manager. “Since the Resale Shop supports a nonprofit, Guadalupe Center, supporters can feel confident that their donations are helping a great cause in the community where they spend their winters.”

Guadalupe Resale Shop is an upscale boutique in North Naples. Proceeds from sales benefit Guadalupe Center’s three education programs: the nationally accredited Early Childhood Education Program, After-school Tutoring & Summer Enrichment Program and college-preparatory Tutor Corps Program. Guadalupe Center’s mission is breaking the cycle of poverty through education for the children of Immokalee.

Guadalupe Resale Shop accepts donations of high-quality, gently used:

– Household furniture

– Home décor

– Kitchenware

– Lamps

– Linens

– DVDs and CDs

– Books

– Ladies’ and men’s clothing, including shoes

– Accessories, including purses and jewelry

The Resale Shop does not accept donations of electronics, armoires, entertainment centers, used household appliances, mattresses, children’s and babies’ clothes, toys, light fixtures, ceiling fans, gardening tools and exercise equipment.

The Resale Shop is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays. Donations are accepted from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays from a curbside drop-off behind the store. The shop handles all donations according to COVID-19 safety protocols. 

Tips for decorating your home on a tight budget

We’ve all browsed through a department store catalog or furniture showroom, coming across a beautiful piece that would look great in our family room.

It’s the right color, the right size, the right quality and the right style… but way out of our price range.

It happens. A lot.

April is National Decorating Month. Instead of focusing on pricey redecorating projects, perhaps it’s time to start shopping smart and shopping thrifty. You can indeed upgrade your home or condominium without running up a credit card bill.

Below are five ways to decorate your home or condominium on a tight budget:

Shop at Resale Stores

Southwest Florida’s affluent seasonal residents may only live in their Collier or Lee homes for a few weeks each year. Yet, many love the art of redecorating. Before they can be “in with the new,” they must be “out with the old.” Oftentimes, they’ll donate like-new, brand-name furniture, home décor and accessories to local resale stores. Shoppers can find essentially new, high-quality items up to 90% off the original retail price. Paying $250 for a barely used $2,500 sofa is a score worth celebrating.

Many resale stores support area nonprofits, too, so shopping there also is supporting community organizations.

Wall Art

Art lovers flock to museums to admire works of art from da Vinci, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Picasso. Obviously, their works of art are pricey. In fact, all original artwork is pricey.

However, technology has improved so much that it’s difficult to tell what is original and what is a print. Today’s canvas prints can have texture and contrast that mirror original paintings. Manufacturers even make digital oil paintings.

Quality prints look great in every room. The key is focusing on the frame. Avoid plastic or mass-produced, store-bought frames. Fall in love with the artwork first, and then look for a frame to match.

Accessorize

Department stores sell table lamps in all shapes and sizes, but they are mass produced in a factory. Chances are, several neighbors have the same lamps. Find a base with a unique design, and try to match the color and style to the room.

Adding throw pillows to a sofa or daybed is a great way to accessorize. Again, choose a color pattern that fits a room’s color and wall art.

Another easy addition is a tchotchke, which can fill voids on bookshelves and end tables. Tchotchkes offer a little flair and personality, as well as conversation-starters for guests.

Room-by-Room Decorating

Interior designers often emphasize a home’s “flow.” However, each room doesn’t need to adhere to the same decorating style. For instance, look at the White House. The East Room is adjacent to the Green Room, but each has its own purpose and personality.

A single-family home can work the same way. Perhaps you elect to decorate your living room with a Florida style with pastel colors, travel-themed artwork and seashell-filled glass lamps. Meanwhile, your dining room is contemporary with clean, soft lines and neutral colors.

Ask yourself where you spend the most time inside your home. Start there.

Outdoor Space

We live in Florida for one reason – the beautiful weather. Outdoor living spaces can be as simple as a table and chairs, or as luxe as an entire entertaining space featuring an outdoor kitchen, dining area and recreational space.

The key in creating an outdoor oasis is comfortable seating. Unlike interior rooms, where cable connections, doors and windows dictate design, outdoor spaces can be free-flowing. Choose weather-resistant patio furniture that won’t be damaged by sunlight, rain and high humidity.

Redecorating on a tight budget is entirely possible. Spring is a great time to tweak our home interiors before summer rain and heat start sending us indoors for a few months. 

– By Kat McNabb, Manager of Guadalupe Resale Shop

Spring cleaning: Tidy up with a purpose

Spring training and spring break offer a much-needed economic boost for our region as visitors stay, eat, shop and play in Southwest Florida.

Although not quite as glamorous, spring cleaning also is beneficial to our community.

When you clean, refresh and update your home, how do you dispose of surplus items? Yard sales aren’t as popular or profitable as they once were, so oftentimes, people just set those items by the curb on trash day.

Not everything we no longer want is worthless, though. Our tastes, decorating styles or needs simply may have changed. In fact, many household items placed on the curb have a strong resale value… if given the chance.

Across Southwest Florida, nonprofit organizations will gladly accept donations and resell those items in their resale stores or thrift shops. This revenue helps support programs and services that are vital to our community, like education, youth, housing, hunger, employment and social services.

Spring cleaning quests are focused on getting rid of stuff, but throwing items with a resale value to the curb is equivalent to sending cash into the incinerator. Local nonprofits rely on your donations to make ends meet. Throwing out an end table or lamp, for instance, might free up some space in your living room or garage, but donating that end table or lamp is like giving $20 or $25 to the nonprofit of your choice.

Southwest Florida’s resale stores offer a treasure trove of goods and bargain hunters know which stores have the best merchandise. Not all locations accept the same types of donations, though, so it’s important to call ahead or look online for donation guidelines.

Guadalupe Resale Shop, for example, accepts donations of quality furniture, home décor, artwork, kitchenware, lamps, linens, DVDs and CDs, books and more, as well as all types of new and gently used ladies’ and men’s clothing, including accessories such as jewelry, purses and nearly new shoes. In 2021, the Resale Shop’s greatest needs are donations of like-new living room, dining room, bedroom and patio furniture, as well as home décor and brand-name clothing. These types of items sell quickly and command higher sales prices that enhance transformational, life-changing education programs for more than 1,400 students in Immokalee. Guadalupe Center generates nearly 9% of its annual operating budget through Guadalupe Resale Shop.

The concept of spring cleaning dates back to the days when fireplaces heated our homes during the winter. Once March and April rolled around, it was time to clean the soot and dirt that had accumulated. We no longer need to worry about that issue, especially not in Florida, but spring cleaning is still an annual ritual for many. According to data from the American Cleaning Institute, more than three-fourths of households engage in spring cleaning each year.

For any retail store, there is a delicate balance between inventory and sales. During the summer, many resale stores in Collier and Lee counties sell more items than they receive in donations. March, April and May are critical periods to build inventory that will carry stores through June, July, August and September.

In Southwest Florida, thousands of retirees and couples are preparing to head north for the summer. It’s the perfect time to clean, and the perfect time to make a donation to a charitable cause.

– By Kat McNabb, Manager of Guadalupe Resale Shop

Guadalupe Resale Shop needs volunteers for high season

Guadalupe Resale Shop is in need of volunteers to help process donations, price items, stock shelves, create displays, assist customers and ring up purchases at its North Naples showroom.

The nonprofit organization typically has more than 100 dedicated volunteers who lend their services during the year. However, some winter residents are staying up North this season because of COVID-19 while local volunteers are limiting their outside interactions.

“Volunteers typically only ‘work’ a few hours each week or month, so it doesn’t feel like a ‘job,’” said Kat McNabb, store manager. “To them, it’s important to continue giving back to the community, and volunteering at the Resale Shop allows them to help enhance educational opportunities for the next generation of students.”

Proceeds from the Resale Shop help Guadalupe Center create endless possibilities through its nationally accredited Early Childhood Education Program, After-school Tutoring & Summer Enrichment Program and college-preparatory Tutor Corps Program. Guadalupe Center’s mission is to break the cycle of poverty through education for the children of Immokalee.

In 2020, Resale Shop volunteers logged more than 12,000 hours of volunteer time.

Since the pandemic began, Guadalupe Resale Shop has introduced a series of safety measures to keep volunteers, shoppers and donors safe. The list includes:

Encouraging shoppers and donors who are experiencing a fever or cough, or recently displayed any symptoms, to delay their visit.

Providing hand sanitizing stations throughout the showroom floor.

Requiring staff, volunteers and customers to wear protective face masks and maintain six-foot social distancing.

Sanitizing changing rooms after each use.

Holding all clothing donations for a minimum of 24 hours and thoroughly cleaning other donations before offering them for sale.

Maintaining the no-return policy to ensure all items inside the showroom have been cleaned and sanitized.

The Resale Shop is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays. Donations are accepted from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays from a curbside drop-off behind the store. 

LEARN MORE: How to Volunteer