Tucson thrift stores see flood of donations including unusable items

Updated: May. 24, 2021 at 7:25 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - In the midst of spring cleaning, and pandemic restrictions lifting, thrift stores are being flooded with household items, including Goodwill in Tucson.

However, some items should not be dropped off including broken furniture, used mattresses, and leaking batteries. Here is a full list of items Goodwill cannot accept.

”We really appreciate the generosity but just take that second to ask, will this end up in the trash or is this something of value that I would give to someone I care about,” said Matthew Flores, director of Marketing for Goodwill of Southern Arizona.

Goodwill’s donations are up about 15 percent from 2020 with an average of 1,200 donations a day.

Although donations may be well-intentioned, many items take more time and money to process than they do to sell, and some items cannot be resold at all.

”If it’s a broken piece of furniture that cannot be repaired in any way, if it’s completely shattered and torn apart, please don’t drop it at our door, soiled clothing or if it’s stained, a rag with oil on it, all that stuff,” Flores said.

There has also been an influx of hazardous donations, which have to be disposed of carefully, including used propane tanks and empty chemical bottles.

”It’s very important to make sure it’s not trash that’s being brought here, that’s less work for them to have to go through individually, and I would hate to come into a store like this and look and be like, oh that shouldn’t even be on a shelf,” said Chrystal Bucher, Goodwill donor.

Bucher is a nursing assistant who helps hospice patients declutter. To assist her patients, she has been dropping off their donations to Tucson thrift stores on a weekly basis.

”To see someone get rid of things that they’ve had for so long and cherish, it’s not easy, so to be able to work with them, and then being able to drop that off and know that it’s for somebody who could utilize it better and the finances of it will go to something helpful, really makes a difference for them and me,” Bucher said.

Goodwill is keeping more than 30 million pounds out the landfill every year in Southern Arizona alone.

Flores said 92 percent of every dollar Goodwill spends goes back to their 12 local youth and adult programs, which include job training, and employment opportunities.

For those interested in donating, Goodwill’s drive-thru donation centers are socially distanced, and staff will be wearing masks.

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