A Shirt Collector’s Life

Ever since Kelli and I held the on line sale a month or so ago on the blog I’ve had several email requests from blog readers who are asking that I collect 100% cotton shirts for them.  It’s been a little bit hard….let me explain.

I had three places that I bought shirts from at great prices….one recently closed.  Now I’m down to two places each are in opposite directions and both are a half hour away.  If I go to the thrift store I have to search the entire store and MIGHT end up with 8 100% cotton shirts…occasionally I hit the jack pot and get 13 but typically it’s never more than that.  I get to town about once a week now that I have to go to physical therapy.  The thrift store that is in physical therapy town, isn’t open after physical therapy….so no shirts are bought on that trip to town…so I’ve gotten no shirts lately as I am not one to make unneeded trips to town.

When Kelli and I showed off a HUGE pile of shirts, we’ve likely shopped for them for several months.  They don’t just “happen”.  I think that many blog readers are under the illusion that the shops that I go to are HUGE mega stores and have racks and racks of shirts like a Savers or Goodwill store has.  That is not the case.  I look through one small rack of men’s clothes to find them.


There is a store where I can buy the shirts for $2 each but I typically don’t buy them as for me, that’s on the expensive side.  I do buy them there if I am buying for me and am looking for a perfect color.

I’ve come across other problems when trying to help to people get shirts too….They want me to photograph the shirt before they buy them so they can pick and choose.  I don’t have time for that.  Then I have other people who want me to find 10 red shirts…um…that doesn’t work either.  I’ve had some that want me to find only geometric prints and not stripes or plaids.  I find geometrics RARELY…and when I do, I often keep them for myself.

I get people who tell me they only want to pay for extra large sized shirts so they get the most money for their buck.  I understand that BUT…there are  likely 10 shirts in the men’s extra large section and of them 7 are polo shirts-2 Tshirts and the one left isn’t 100% cotton.

I’ve had people tell me they want me collect Hawaiian shirts for them…..Ummm those are even fewer and further between.  I’m lucky if I find a couple of them each year.

I’ve decided that from now on, I’ll likely be collecting shirts still but we are going to sell them outright as a lot.  There will be no more picking and choosing and I won’t be doing special orders.   No shirts will be collected and sold through email correspondence.   Shirts will be sold on the blog by people bidding on them.

One more thing that people don’t realize is that yes, I can get the shirts cheap BUT I still paid the gas money and I still took my time to search to look for them.  I also took the time to cut them apart.  If I paid 25 cents for a shirt, in light of that, you aren’t going to be paying only 25 per shirt.

If you’ve been tempted to email me about shirts….please don’t.  I’ll be sending out this reply to everyone.  “Watch the blog.  Shirts will be for sale there sometime in the future.”  I started doing this last week and got a comment from someone that said well I don’t read your blog all the time.  That one made me laugh….

So that’s where I am on collecting shirts.  The shirts in the photo above show the last batch of shirts that were shipped out.  Any other emails or correspondences regarding shirts will not be filled.  Watch the blog.  Shirts will be for sale sometime in the future…I will no longer be holding or collecting shirts for individuals.

I’m very sorry but as Hubby told me….at some point I do have to say no to something or it’s all going to drive me crazy trying to keep up with it all!!

30 thoughts on “A Shirt Collector’s Life”

  1. I agree with you Jo. And yes you should charge for the time and money you’ve put into the shirts. It’s still cheap. Shirts in my area are at least 3,00 People who expect you to accommodate are not appreciative of you. And that’s sad.

  2. Wow ! I can’t believe that people are so demanding and picky. I was just grateful that you had shirts and that I had a chance to buy them. Because here $2 shirts are like unicorns. The thrift stores I go to price them more into the $9 – 12 range.
    but hubby is right, sometimes you just have to say “no, can’t do that”

  3. I read your blog every day and didn’t know you were helping folk by picking out shirts for them. Amazed you do, with your ultra busy life. So,I think you have made an extremely sensible decision. If people want Op Shop shirts then they need to do the looking and the leg work! I’ve said before in comments left on your blog that here in the UK shirts are priced individually and would normally be £5 each so I never buy any.

  4. Good for you. You give an inch and people take a mile (and more, if allowed). And it never ends. So you do what you have to do for you, and don’t worry about anyone else.
    I can’t believe people would even ask…

  5. ‘What did their last servant die of?’ as my mother would have said. You really can’t be expected to be a personal shopper as well as all the other things you do for everyone. I can’t believe people even have the nerve to ask. Besides, surely it takes all the fun out of a good bargain if you’ve asked someone else to find it for you.

  6. Oh my goodness! I don’t understand people being so demanding either. Good grief. I don’t have anything to add that hasn’t already been covered by previous comments. Good for you Jo. I’ve
    learned to say no also.

  7. I agree with your decision, Jo, to put a boundary around you that keeps you happy. In case anyone is thinking you are not generous and thoughtful, I was one of the lucky, lucky ones to pick through the pile of shirt pieces you and Kelli had for sale on Friday of the retreat. I picked out green shirt pieces for $1 each and then you reached into the pile and showed me your favorite green piece. And now it’s MY favorite green piece. That’s the kind of generous spirit I see in your blog all the time. And that’s why I read you first every morning. Thank you!!

  8. I agree totally with your “No”! It was a great explanation, but as a Dr told me years ago to simply say NO. “No is No and no explanation is needed”. I was a people pleaser for too many years and yes, often taken advantage of which was my own fault. I am proud of your decision!

  9. If a person reads your blog they know how great you are…and busy. I can’t believe people would ask for you to shop in the limited time you have. It’s time to just say No! -Jean

  10. I find it disappointing that so many plaid shirts anymore are not 100% cotton. I have to check each one. I know the industry goes in stages, but we seem to be in a 50/50 stage right now. All the great new colors are not 100%

  11. I would ask how much they are willing to pay on an hourly basis for a personal shopper! People can be absolutely ridiculous in their requests. You would need to be awake 24/7 in order to handle your own obligations and everyone else’s. Stay grounded, Jo, and just say “NO”! Your post did make me laugh.

  12. You have GOT to be kidding me about people asking for you to shop for shirts! UNBELIEVABLE! Agree with all the previous comments. It’s hard to say no, but the time has come. Here’s a good response, “I would love to help, but I’m just unable to do so right now.” No further explanation necessary. Took awhile, it I’ve mastered it

  13. You are such a wonderful,giving lady and you are finding out the more you do for people the more they want . Bless you Sandra

  14. Do love reading your blog. I like that you are giving us insights to “your” life. Not ours! I’m not
    a thrift store goer(is this a word ?) but I’ve read and heard people talk about their love of it. If anyone wants those shirts they need to develop the desire to go and look in their local thrift stores. Seems right to me. It’s an amazement to me how “someone else’s effort and time” are
    easy for them to request. I’ve often thought when I’ve heard or seen a nifty vintage sewing machine or cabinet for a fantastic price -“WOW”. The truth is that they probably didn’t come across it the first time they ever went in a thrift store or antique mall. Just my thoughts. Keep on doing what’s right for you and your family.

  15. I was helping my granddaughter with a costume so we went to Goodwill to find what we needed. IT was 10 for $10 day and I walked out with cotton shirts and the items I needed for her costume for $10. Now I have all these shirts hanging in my closet. Why? I”ve made one shirt quilt and Iove it but another one? maybe not. Shirts for sale.

  16. I, like everyone else is flabbergasted that anyone would ask! I like the “servant dying” quote, I’ll have to remember that! I would think that the fact you share your daily life with us in your blog, they would know how busy you already are without heaping on more! I only read a handful of them, but I do know how long it takes me to do that! I can’t imagine trying to keep one up daily. Bless you for not being bald already; I would have pulled mine out long ago!!!

  17. I had no idea you were also a personal shopper…………she says tongue in cheek.

    Wonders will never cease. You have so much more patience with people than I do.

    My vote? YOU get to be the center of your universe. :-)

  18. Jo, you are a kind and generous person. Thank you for sharing this part of your personal life. Some people are just rude and expect to be catered to for all their desires. I have seen it volunteering at one of your thrift stores. We know all the stuff is donated so the choices are not like in the regular stores. Some people are embarrassed to be seen in a thrift store and ask others to shop for them. Too bad for them. Why should some people be so bold to expect you to do their shopping for them and be so picky to boot! Good for you to say NO to all their Nonsense! Do what makes you happy!

  19. Another recommendation: When people ask me if I will do things for them I tell them my going hourly rate which I calculate at 2X my employed salary rate. Never once has someone agreed to pay it. I have a 1 hr minimum.

    Yes, there is a premium value on my personal time which is what they are asking to take.

  20. I follow a lot of blogs — yours is the first one I always look at when there’s a new one!

    You’ve made a great decision on this and on childcare. You do a lot for people, but you have to draw lines sometimes so things work for you and for your family.

    I go to thrift stores, too, often looking for specific things. It’s a marathon, not a sprint! There’s no telling how many stores and how many visits it will take to find what you’re looking for. It would be hard to put a price on that, and a difficult way to make much money.

  21. You were doing what? I can’t believe it! That is way above and beyond. I guess some folks think you don’t have anything to do all day! Yea, right! Take care of you!!!

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