15 Things Thrift Stores Don't Want

15 Things Thrift Stores Don't Want
Image: iStock


Whether it's due to the crazy popularity of Marie Kondo's Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the growing desire to have a more environmentally sustainable life, or because more people are moving toward a minimalist lifestyle, many thrift stores are reporting major upticks in donations. While donations are obviously crucial for thrift stores, many of which have a charitable function, the truth is that not all donations are welcome. 

Even when they are donated with good intentions, there are some things that thrift stores just can't or won't accept. Whether for health, legal, or environmental reasons, some donations create more work for thrift stores because they have to find ways to dispose of them. So, whether you are donating to spring clean or get a tax deduction, read on to see the surprisingly common things that thrift stores really don't want. 

  • Cribs


    The little sweet pea has finally transitioned from the crib to a big kid bed! Yay! But if moms are looking to pass on the crib, a thrift store is likely not the best option. Many thrift stores won't take cribs due to both the size constraints and changing safety regulations. If the crib still meets safety regulations, moms may have better luck having a garage sale than having a thrift store take it.  

  • Paint 


    Leftover paint from home renovation projects is still totally useful, but, unfortunately, most thrift or donation centers won't take paint or other building supplies. The good news is that many communities have recycling centers that will take paint so it can be disposed of properly. 

  • Damaged Clothes 


    Thrift stores are looking for gently used clothes that someone will want to buy. Clothes with missing buttons, stains, or tears aren't likely to sell, which means that the stores are stuck having to find ways of disposing of them. 

  • Car Seats 

    istock.com/Anatoliy Sizov

    There can be dangers to accepting used car seats, so most thrift stores won't accept them because they can't verify that the seat isn't expired or hasn't been in an accident. Thrift stores want to keep their smallest customers safe!

  • Used Mattresses 


    A great mattress is the key to a happy bedroom. But a lot of life (and, ahem, love) can happen on your mattress, which is why thrift stores just can't take them. Instead of donating a mattress, considering donating blankets or bedding. 

  • Clothes With Pet Hair 


    Clothes are one of the major donation categories for thrift stores, but one thing they don't want is clothes that aren't clean, which includes clothes covered in pet hair. If there is a pet in the house, make sure to wash clothes before they are donated!

  • Cloth Diapers


    Cloth diaper mamas love how environmentally friendly reusable diapers can be, but, unfortunately, most thrift stores won't accept them. If moms want to donate them, definitely call first to make sure they won't just get thrown away. 

  • Beauty Products


    So, that ruby red lipstick just wasn't the right color. Or maybe one is finally convinced that blue eye shadow is never a good look. Either way, moms have to find another option for used makeup or other beauty products as most thrift stores won't take them for safety reasons. 

  • Large Appliances 


    Most thrift stores don't have the storage space for large appliances or the ability to test to see if they are still functional. This is another option where looking for a local recycling center is the best bet. Pick-up services, such as Habitat for Humanity, may take large appliances. 

  • Pillows


    Just like mattresses, pillows are on the no-go list for most thrift stores due to the fact that they can carry bedbugs and bodily fluids. Even decorative pillows aren't accepted at some stores, so double check before trying to donate. 

  • Particle Board Furniture

    istock.com/Михаил Руденко

    Furniture made out of particle board can be cheap, easy to assemble, and lightweight. That makes it perfect for your first house or apartment but not great for secondhand use as it is too easy to scratch or damage. Many thrift stores won't accept it, especially if it is large or bulky. 

  • Prescription Glasses


    If a prescription changed or someone is just wanting a new look, consider donating eyeglasses to a local chapter of the Lions Club, which is an international charity with a focus on vision. They'll happily accept prescription glasses when many thrift stores won't. 

  • Encyclopedias


    Blame it on the internet, but nobody wants a large, bulky set of encyclopedias anymore, including thrift stores. Encyclopedia owners may be able to get rid of them at a yard sale or on a local buy, sell, trade page as there are some people who want them for crafting purposes. Or they can be donated to a local library. 

  • Worn-Out Denim


    A great pair of jeans is an awesome thrift store find! But does anyone really want something with unintentional holes in it? Jeans that are worn, faded, and torn aren't wanted by thrift stores, so donors are better off looking for a local denim recycler instead. 

  • Dated Clothing 


    When it comes to clothes, there is vintage cool and there is hideously out of date. Thrift stores make money from selling items, so clothing that nobody is going to want is a storage or recycling problem for them. 

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