Finding deals at Central Florida thrift stores bringing joy to shoppers, nonprofits

Goodwill Industries, Habitat for Humanity see increase in donations

By Adrianna Iwasinski - Investigative Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - People inspired by the Netflix show "Tidying Up with Marie Kondo" are cleaning out their closets and homes, purging themselves of anything that does not bring them joy.

Kondo's method of organizing encourages people to organize their homes and, as a result, their lives.
It's called the Kondo Effect, and it's also having a big effect on Central Florida nonprofit thrift stores.

Since Kondo's show premiered on Netflix in January, area thrift shops have received an increase of donated items.

"We are at a 20 percent increase right now. I can't say what specifically it's to, but we have seen an increase," said Adrienne Gonzalez, with Goodwill Industries of Central Florida. "From November to January, our donations definitely increase."

Workers and managers at the Habitat for Humanity locations in the area of Seminole and Greater Volusia counties areas say donations to their ReStore locations are up as well. Things like couches, appliances, lighting fixtures and art are on the rise.

"We're seeing an amazing influx of those particular items and it may be contributed to those kinds of shows," said Jon Sitton, with Habitat for Humanity's Seminole/Apopka ReStore location in Sanford.

"At the beginning of the year, everyone is trying to clean out their homes," said Sekou Toussaint, ReStore director of the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Volusia County which has a ReStore in Orange City and Daytona Beach. "We try to move things fast to keep it fresh and exciting for anyone that wants to shop."

News 6 visited three different thrift stores in three Central Florida counties and discovered amazing deals on quality items at each store, including high-end furniture, brand-new appliances and even collector items from designer stores such as Tiffany and Co.

"I got really good deals," said Sharon Andrews, who says she frequents both the Sanford and Castleberry ReStore locations. "I like them all, because you never know what you're going to find."

Shopper Julie Breedlove, of Orange City, told News 6 said she furnished her home with more than 50 ReStore purchases.

"The excitement of finding the treasure is incredible," Breedlove said. "We've completely redone our house. It's an incredible, fun hobby."

There are more than just furniture deals at these nonprofit thrift stores.

"I found a work of art that I paid $10 at a 75-percent-off sale at a ReStore," said Breedlove. "I went online and right now you can buy it for $595."

In Orange County, it is more than just pre-worn clothes filling up the Goodwill on South Orange Blossom Trail.

It's also big ticket items selling for a fraction of the cost.

"We have name brand, designer items," said Adrienne Gonzalez, with Goodwill. "Whether that's furniture or clothing, you can get something for almost 80 percent off what it would be in a typical retail store."

At the South OBT location, News 6 found a china cabinet in great condition for $159 that retails for more than $800. Brand-new mattresses, in the bag, which can retail for more than $1,000, were marked down for a third of the price. 

"Here, you can get a king size bed for $389," Gonzalez said.

The items bought at these particular local thrift stores help their affiliated local nonprofit. Stitton said every dollar spent at a ReStore helps the Habitat for Humanity mission of building affordable homes for Central Florida families.

[FINDING JOY: Click here to find Habitat ReStore locations in Central Florida]

"The money doesn't just stay in the store," Sitton said. "It actually goes right back out to the community and keeps our mission going on."

Donations of clothing and furniture also help many programs offered at the Goodwill Industries of Central Florida.

"Over the last year, we helped over 49,000 people," said Gonzalez. "And we helped close to 11,000 of them find jobs."

Gonzalez helps run the Goodwill online store, which gets first dibs on some of the higher-end designer donations it gets every day.

A recent search of the website showed listings of donated Dooney and Bourke, Coach and Kate Spade purses, even Tory Burch shoes, all on sale for a deep discount.

"If it doesn't bring you joy, it may bring joy to somebody else," Gonzalez said.

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