Thrifty Thurston Turns Trash into Treasures


By Mary Ellen Psaltis

boggsfinallogoLooking to drop a few pounds? How about a lot? I don’t mean the weight around your waist; I mean the weight around your neck. The stuff of life that clutters our closets, garages and drawers. Cleaning out a few of these areas will clear your head and your house while others can benefit from the treasures you pass along. For me the results of spring-cleaning are equivalent to a few hours of expensive therapy. I’m lighter in more ways than you can imagine – and it didn’t cost a penny. In fact, in some instances releasing your ‘trash’ puts cash in your pockets.

Get the whole family involved. Letting go of books, clothes and household paraphernalia affirms your abundance to the universe. You have enough to give away!

BooksBooks, CD’s, DVD’s

Friends of the Library will graciously accept both hard and soft covered books of all kinds. They do not accept schoolbooks or computer related books (as they get dated so quickly). Check with your library branch to see if they are accepting magazines. Bring them inside to the Return Desk. Books are always for sale, but several times each year the Friends of the Library have a Giant Book Sale.

School librarians also will sometimes take books, CD’s or games. Kids outgrow books, and they can be enjoyed by others.

Lassley’s Bookstore Paperback Exchange, in Lacey, will take books on trade for store credit.

Building Supplies and Materials

olympia habitat store
Shoppers choose products for home improvement, remodeling and art projects at the West Olympia outlet of Habitat for Humanity.

If you have extra tile from your bathroom remodel, or a faucet that you are swapping out, consider donating gently used building supplies and materials to Habitat for Humanity’s store in West Olympia.  Skip the big box stores and grab supplies for your next craft project here.

Clothes and Miscellaneous Household Items

ARC of Washington will pick up gently used clothing, shoes and purses, bedding and bath items, knick-knacks, house wares, and various small household items. They do not pick up furniture, TV’s, appliances, computers or monitors.

Goodwill has locations in Lacey and Olympia and accepts a wide range of items beyond clothes such as household items including furniture. All donations need to be clean and in good condition. Goodwill’s Premiere Donation program has been set up for more valuable items such as jewelry, fine china, Persian rugs, paintings and antiques. Maybe you have an unused instrument or home theater equipment that is sitting idle. Arrangements can be made for these to be picked up from your home or business for safe transport.

used clothing store olympia
A variety of used clothing stores will accept donations or sell items on consignment.

Some business will buy your clothes outright and others consign. Everything needs to be clean and in good condition. Check with each store for buying hours and specifications. For example Psychic Sister might buy your pre-1980’s clothes. Owner Sarah Adams or Kailey Wegter will be happy to help and can offer alterations for the treasures you want to keep but need to be adjusted. Plato’s Closet buys contemporary clothes at their west Olympia location.


The Thurston County Public Works Department Solid Waste Program sounds like garbage (or worse) to me, but that is an erroneous perception. Their 2good2toss program, coordinated by Loni Hanka, connects people who have something (a rabbit cage or doll house) with those who want it. Costs are minimal, and it keeps these treasures out of the landfill.

Now that you’ve done some serious cleaning, you might have found miscellaneous items that you don’t know what to do with them, and you are sure no one else would want them either. Maybe it’s out-of-date medications or unused paint. There is a chart of ultimate knowledge that answers your perplexing questions. Peter Guttchen, part of the Solid Waste Program team, is enthusiastic about the expansive information offered at the Solid Waste website. It’s called Where Do I Take My?

Don’t have enough stuff or enough energy for a yard sale? Craigslist, the virtual garage sale, provides a platform to sell items that have monetary value. Listings are free and including photos helps. Contact with potential buyers is done online. Exchanges of goods and money can be done in public places for the sake of safety for both parties.

A few more thoughts:

olympia consignment store
Your “trash” doesn’t have to end up in the landfill. Use these Olympia resources to turn it into someone’s “treasure.”

Gather a few of your neighbors for a combined garage sale. Share the workload and attract more shoppers. Have a clothing exchange with your friends and include the kids. Everybody brings his or her goods for rummaging. Whatever is left over gets dropped off at Goodwill (or equivalent). Check out the websites or call your favorite community agencies. Many have a list of ‘wants.’ I recently gave away a couple of old cell phones to SafePlace.

Spring is blowing in more strongly every day. Let that energy sweep through your over-packed garages and closets. Share the wealth and save the landfill.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Release and Regift!

Thrifty Thurston highlights inexpensive family fun in Thurston County.  The weekly series focuses on family-friendly activities throughout our community.  If you have a suggestion for a post, send us a note at  For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, click here.

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