One of the best things about shopping is finding great deals, but what if you could also help your community at the same time? Johnson County has many resale stores that donate their profits earned from selling donated items back to charitable organizations. Best of all, many of these stores get brand-new items donated to them. If you've ever wondered what happens to clothes at Target that don't sell, even at 70 percent off, then you need to head to Goodwill!

Both Goodwill and Salvation Army are large, national organizations whose resale stores are well known. In addition to the standard retail stores, there is also Goodwill Outlet, where items are brought out in bins and sold by the pound. The Outlet is not for the faint of heart (wear gloves!), but there are great deals to be had. I dug up a pair of Old Navy pants with the tags attached, and scored them for about 40 cents.

But there are some other charity shops around our community who offer tons of unique items. If you are interested in antiques and other home goods, try Madison Street Salvage. Their mission is not only to preserve architectural pieces from all over the Midwest, but also to support historic preservation in Franklin. Their proceeds go directly to Franklin Heritage, Inc. Inventory includes small decorative items, light fixtures, furniture, doors and windows and appliances. Incorporating these pieces into your home can add some vintage flair. Or you could repurpose and repaint something funky and turn it into a modern statement piece.

The Habitat for Humanity ReStore offers building materials, paint, appliances, furniture and other household items. Some are brand-new, as contractors donate leftover materials. Proceeds go toward building affordable homes for local families in need. It's the perfect place to look for affordable options for home projects.

Humble Impressions has some of the lowest prices around, and all proceeds go to local food pantries. All clothing is 99 cents, and is 10 cents on Tuesdays! They sell furniture and other household items as well. The owner relied on food pantries for part of her life, and started the store to give back to the community.

To take a break after shopping, grab a coffee at Coffeehouse Five. Staffed by volunteers, all profits go to various local charities including the Buddy Walk for Down syndrome and Emma's Art Cart, which delivers art packets to hospitalized children. They have hot drinks, baked goods as well as smoothies and sandwiches.

If you are looking for more ways to have fun and do good at the same time, check out AroundIndy, Eventful and Eventbrite.

Need information on your thrifty treasures? Try the PriceIt! Database or check out the library’s antiques and collectables sections. Your branch also has books on restoring and upcycling furniture and refashioning clothing. So check there for ideas on what to do with that too big gown that you had to buy because you loved the fabric! Here are a few recommendations to get you started:

150+ quick & easy furniture projects

Furniture makeovers : simple techniques for transforming furniture with paint, stains, paper, stencils, and more

Eco-craft : recycle-recraft-restyle

Restore. Recycle. Repurpose. {create a beautiful home}

Born-again vintage : 25 ways to deconstruct, reinvent + recycle your wardrobe

Rip it! : how to deconstruct and reconstruct the clothes of your dreams


Amy is a librarian at the White River Branch. At heart, she is an adventuress who loves to try and learn new things with family and friends…even if she ends up an epic failure. Having fun while doing good for others makes for the best adventures. So look for Amy shopping at thrift stores, running for a cause or eating and drinking at fundraisers!

Join the conversation at amy@jcplin.org

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