Jessica Dunman, director of retail operations at The Resale Shop, a St. Louis thrift store run by the National Council of Jewish Women, observed a lot. “We were making our regular charities and strangers donating,” said Ms. Dunman. “People were looking for somewhere they could unload.” At one point, she recalled, there were 11 storage units in the store’s parking lot to handle the overflow—an abundance of dishes, kitchen equipment “and clothing.”
The quality of resale items jumped with quantity, said store owner Chris Swanson, allowing consignment stores in Columbus, Ohio, such as One More Time (clothing) and One More Time (furniture), to be more selective. It’s been a similar story with donations to The Thrift Store in Rapid City, SD, “they’re much better than what you usually see,” said Jenny Gossard, manager of the store, which benefits Club for Boys. Also in Rapid City. “During the pandemic, people had more time to pay attention to what they were giving us.”
Those who initially had plans for minor degradation—cleaning out a closet, perhaps, or the junk drawer in the kitchen—soon sure were.
“I really got into it,” said Andrea Burnett, 58, a book evangelist who lives with her family in a three-bedroom home in Richmond, Calif. “Because there was nothing else to do, I was watching ‘The Home Edit.'” Ms. Burnett said, referring to the Netflix series “Get Settled With Home Edit.” “Everything I could see on the subject became my rejected porn.”
“Do I need it?” The question became Ms. Burnett mentally asked herself about almost everything in the house. Few objects can justify their presence. Clothing, equipment, china, lamps, furniture and art supplies were donated to the Humane Society and a local women’s shelter. “The only things that were safe,” said Ms. Burnett, “were the French press and my bed.”