Tag Archives: thrift store

Christmas All Year Round

Of late I’ve morphed into the Christmas Lady at the MCC(Mennonite Central Committee)  Thrift Store on Selkirk Avenue where I have been volunteering now for about five years.  Inspired by the example of both my mother and mother-in-law who were volunteers in MCC stores in Steinbach, Manitoba and Leamington, Ontario for many years I decided to make that part of my retirement plan too.  I started out working at the front counter of the store getting to know all the interesting people in the neighborhood who are regular visitors and the wonderful volunteers who operate the cash register and help clients find the items they are looking for. Then when the woman who took care of sorting and pricing books needed to take a leave of absence I replaced her for nearly a year.  When she returned and my services were no longer needed as the ‘book lady’ I began  working with a lively and interesting group of women from my church who volunteer at the Thrift Store once a week in the upstairs area, unpacking boxes and sorting and cleaning and pricing items. During my time with them I have become something of a Christmas specialist.

Someone donated a twelve place setting of Christmas dinnerware this week.

You simply would not believe the amount of Christmas stuff that arrives at the Thrift Store each week. I organize and sort it and clean it and price it. I usually fill up four boxes or so a week with wrapping paper and wreaths, tree lights and tablecloths, candles and creches and cookie cutters.  Then the boxes are taken down into the basement of the Thrift Store to be stored till Christmas.  

By summer that pile in the basement is HUGE! Many of the items donated to our store come from the homes of older folks who are downsizing because they are leaving their houses to move to personal care homes or assisted living facilities.  christmas bag thrift storeIt is incredible how much Christmas stuff one person or family can amass in a lifetime.  It makes me determined not to add to my own Christmas cache even though many of the items I am sorting and pricing are so………. nice and I am tempted to buy them.

marge at thrift store with wreath

My friend Marge with a kitchy wreath decorated with hand knitted stockings. I am continually unearthing ‘treasures’ like this.

My experience at the Thrift Store has made me much more cautious and careful about buying anything new.  It has taught me that we don’t need half the things we buy and most of the things we do need to buy can be purchased at a Thrift Store for less than half the price……….. including Christmas stuff. 

Other posts…..

The Book Lady

The Magic of Tidying Up

Going On a Field Trip




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Filed under Retirement

The Book Lady

book table selkirk thrift storeThis is what my book table looked like when I arrived at the Selkirk MCC Thrift Store on Wednesday. Anywhere from ten to thirty or more boxes of books are donated each week. I have been working as the book lady at the shop for the last few months, sorting and organizing and shelving books to sell and I really enjoy it. 

at the thrift storeOpening all those boxes of books is always a bit of a mystery. What will I find inside?  Often the entire book collections of people who have died or moved are donated and as I look through their books I really get to know them. Recently I went through a woman’s collection of more than a hundred cookbooks with photos, notes, cards, lists and concert programs tucked inside. This week a school had weeded their library and donated hundreds of children’s books. book shelvesThe shelves in the Thrift Store are organized with sections for magazines, children’s books, mysteries, novels, recipe books, romances, non-fiction and inspirational material.  However when I arrive each week everything has been all mixed up by browsers and I have to straighten everything out. book table

After a few house of work my book area looks like this. I’ve packed up some books to be donated to other charities, thrown out some books that are dirty or torn or very out of date, put many out on the shelves in the store to be sold, and picked out art books, coffee table books and travel books to be displayed on special occasions at special prices. 

I usually end up buying a few books myself before I leave either for gifts, my own personal reading or for the church library because I’m the librarian at Bethel Church. 

I love being the book lady.  I’ve helped with many other jobs at the Thrift Store but this is the perfect one for me!

Other posts………

I’m a Shop Girl 

The Palace Theatre

Good Will and Good Memories

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Filed under Books, Religion