Nara Bopp Williams

We had a wonderful 2017, and are looking forward to the coming year. You may have noticed that WabiSabi was closed for several days at the beginning of January. During this time, we had a busy and productive week of processing donations, while also preparing the store for the New Year with the help of many wonderful volunteers. Here are three basic rules to remember when donating.

Three things to remember:

1. Small loads can be dropped off anytime between 2:00 and 5:30 every day of the week. For big loads, please call ahead at 435-259-3313.

2. Clean, laundered, working, complete donations please! If you wouldn’t buy it in a thrift store, don’t donate it!

3. Please donate soft items in plastic bags, and hard goods in boxes that close.

Why are there always so many unprocessed donations?

We absolutely love donations, and could not exist without the continuous support and generosity of the community! However, many people may be unaware of the sheer volume of donations that we receive on a daily basis.

Our donation door is open every single afternoon. Whenever people move from house to house, clean out their closets, remodel, leave Moab for the season, and so on, we are here for them.

We try to keep things moving as quickly as possible, but space is limited, and fills up fast. Imagine one or two people attempting to go through a truckload of donations, while, during that time, even more donations arrive: It can be difficult to keep up.

We accept clothing, furniture, electronics, toys, books, kitchenware, building supplies and so much more. Items must be clean, laundered, complete and in working condition. Here’s a good rule: if you wouldn’t buy it in a thrift store, don’t donate it!

Providing high-quality donations is the best way to help: These items are easy to process, and sell quickly, allowing us the space to put more items out for sale.

“Hard goods” (i.e., items which are not clothing or soft accessories, like gloves, scarves or linens) can go into manageable sized boxes, preferably boxes that have tops which close.

While it is OK to mix any and all items together, placing items that go together – for example, a set of toys – in a closed bag can help our sorters immensely.

Clothing should be turned right side out and placed in tied trash bags, as should sheets, towels and other linens. Please try to keep the bags manageably sized, so that they may be easily moved.

As a general rule: if it’s soft, put it in a bag. If it’s not, put it in a box. If you need help getting boxes or bags, please let us know.

A few extra minutes of your help when donating can save us hours of work when sorting the donations. Because we give our proceeds back to the community, this time is valuable to everyone.

What has to happen before something goes on the store floor?

When we can process donations efficiently, here’s what happens: donations come in. Donations are sorted through and priced, tagged, and put on the floor quickly. Staff is happy! Shoppers are happy! And the best part: the more proceeds we make, the more money we can give back to the community.

What happens to items that can’t be sold?

We make every possible effort to keep things in the community, and out of the landfill.

Oftentimes, we are able to donate excess or unsellable items to other organizations. After items have been on the floor for about six weeks, we do a deep discount colored tag sale. At the end of that sale, those items are pulled from the store floor, and either donated or recycled.

Clothing that is in poor condition, or that hasn’t sold after six weeks, can be sold to a textile recycling company for about 1 cent a pound. After the labor costs and transportation costs, we don’t actually make a profit from this, but we feel that it’s certainly better than throwing this clothing away!

We ran a recycling and garbage audit earlier in the year to make sure we were recycling as much as possible and continue to seek out innovative ways to use materials: Last year, we held six creative reuse workshops and ran a BEACON Afterschool Club focused on upcycling.

Why are there “good items” in the dumpster?

After we’ve exhausted every option, we do sometimes need to simply throw things away. Space is precious inside our donation room and in our store, and if something can’t be sold, recycled or re-donated within a reasonable amount of time, to the dumpster it must go.

We are aware that folks often go through the dumpster, but we do caution everyone that there are many things that go into the dumpster that we wouldn’t advise touching, and items can be sharp or dangerous.

The reason something had to be thrown away is not always immediately obvious, and some items may be unsafe. We are not responsible for anything you may pick up or anything that happens as a result of dumpster diving. Please be safe!

Thanks for all of your support! Please send any questions to

Nara Bopp Williams is the program director of WabiSabi.