- Many millennials are waiting until later to buy their first homes, which means they often don’t have the space for the heirlooms their parents are passing down to them.
- That trend, combined with the minimalist movement, has led to an uptick in donations to thrift stores.
- We visited a Goodwill thrift store in New York City to see the trend for ourselves.
Millennials are living with less.
This has led to a generation of consumers who donate, and thrift stores like Goodwill are the biggest beneficiaries.
“We are definitely getting overrun with furniture and about 20% more donations of everything than in previous years,” Michael Frohm, the chief operating officer of a Goodwill thrift store in Greater Washington, told The New York Times in August 2017.
Many young people are also waiting longer to buy their first home, meaning they may not have the space for the furniture, keepsakes, and clothing their parents are passing down to them.
“We value a mobile lifestyle,” Erin Hendrickson, a minimalist expert who runs the blog Minimalist RD, told Business Insider. “We aren’t living in 2,500-square-foot homes, so don’t have space.”
In Middle Tennessee, Goodwill donation director Danny Rhodes has seen an uptick in donations in urban areas where a high concentration of millennials live. He says there’s been an increase in donations of dining-room furniture in particular, as it’s a room that millennials often don’t have in their homes.
“I’m always surprised to see such nice vintage and furniture items being donated rather than inherited,” he said.
We visited a Goodwill store in Manhattan to see what it’s like to shop there now:
We visited a Goodwill store near Union Square in Manhattan, New York. Goodwill has more than 3,200 stores across the US, in addition to an online auction site.
The store is an easy dumping ground for New Yorkers to get rid of unwanted products that could otherwise end up in a landfill. Goodwill sells items at reduced prices — dresses start at $US12.99, and men’s suits start at $US29.99, for example.
This store has a mix of men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing, along with a small home section.
Frohm told The New York Times that Goodwill has been overrun with furniture and homeware donations as consumers look to divest themselves of china and furniture they inherited from their parents.
Source: The New York Times
An entire industry has been created because of this. People are hiring professional move managers to help them downsize and dispose of the belongings their grown children won’t take. The full cost of the service, which may include an estate sale, can reach $US5,000 or even more, The Times reported.
Goodwill offers this service for free. In Middle Tennessee, Rhodes also oversees home collection and estate sales. He said that, more often than not, these calls come from Gen X and millennial customers, who don’t have the space to store these items.
Source: The New York Times
The vast majority of donations are still clothing and textiles. There is a ton of clothing in this particular store …
… especially jeans.
Blogger Betsy Appleton, who is an ambassador for Goodwill in Tennessee, says that you can often find a pair of designer jeans at these stores.
Source: Goodwill Digger
Millennials aren’t only donating to these stores — they’re shopping in them as well. The experience of shopping here is akin to an off-price store in that it’s a bargain hunt.
“I have a different mindset than when I am going to a mall,” Appleton told Business Insider. “It’s more of an adventure. I am not going for something specific.”
The store is clearly trying to appeal to millennial shoppers in its displays.
We came across several well-known brands such as Guess and Steve Madden.
The rise of fast fashion and cheaper clothing labels has also led to an influx of donations, as consumers are more willing to donate these inexpensive items than they are their more expensive ones. Sometimes these brands donate directly to Goodwill themselves.
“When I go to a mall I feel defeated,” Appleton said. “So many of these products are going to end up in a landfill, in the trash, or at Goodwill.”
Appleton frequently sees fast-fashion clothing appearing in Goodwill six to 12 months after it launches in stores.
There are certainly bargains to be had. These Vans cost $US8.99.
We also spotted a pair of Ivanka Trump heels. Business Insider reported in August that there has been an uptick in donations of Ivanka Trump-branded clothing items. This may be due to an excess of inventory that came about when the label was dropped by several stores.
Source: Business Insider
Overall, millennials are more conscious about sustainable living and preserving the environment, Hendrickson said. This tendency has led to an increase in both shopping and donating at these stores.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.