Used Gear For Good

Your closet is full to bursting with clothing you don’t wear anymore. A backpack you haven’t taken on a hike in years. Climbing shoes you thought you’d use all the time but haven’t touched. The clutter is overwhelming and all you can think about is, WHAT am I going to do with all this stuff?

So, what to do?

Before you throw everything into a plastic garbage bag and drive straight to the nearest thrift store, take a deep breath. Believe it or not, there are better ways to rehome your outdoor gear and apparel that are much more charitable.

Donate clothing and gear to local organizations.

Did you know the clothing industry is the 4th most polluting industry in the world? And that most clothing brought to secondhand store chains still ends up in landfills rather than into the hands of those in need?

Yeah, it’s a little hard to digest.

But there are still steps you can take to help! Rather than going straight to Goodwill, do some research on your local homeless shelters, food shelves, and outdoor education programs.

Here in Vermont, winters are harsh. Warm clothes, sleeping bags, tents, etc. make all the difference for folks who are homeless. And don’t we feel grateful to live in a place with so many organizations that support them! Each year we donate boxes of winter clothing and footwear to the hard-working shelters and other nonprofits that help those in need, and we encourage you to do the same!

So why outdoor education programs?

Outdoor education for kids and teens is becoming increasingly important and popular. Outdoor learning allows them to problem solve and build skills, all while establishing a relationship with the natural world. However, it also exposes the students to the elements, and families and schools are often unable to afford clothing and footwear for their children’s outdoor programs. To ensure Vermont’s youth can still participate in crucial outdoor learning, we make it a priority to donate expired consignment items to programs and schools in need.

Taking the extra ten minutes to research local organizations in need of items will go a long way to help those in your community and to keep clothing and gear out of the overflowing landfills. But if you need some more ideas on what to do with your used items, we have our own consignment program at our brick and mortar store!

Consignment at OGE

OGE was founded back in 1995 initially as a way to help people of all walks of life get outside and give new life to used gear. Folks would bring by their clothes, packs, shoes, everything, and we would help them find their gear a new home. And we’re still doing this today! By offering used items, we were (and still are) able to provide folks with the gear at a lower cost so they can be comfortable pursuing their outdoor adventures.

Folks spend HOURS browsing the myriad of gear and clothing in our consignment department. Racks of clothing organized by type are arranged around the floor, from the warmest down jackets to everyday walk-around-town pants. Towering racks of ski boots create a forest of potential for skiers looking to save some dollars. Need some climbing shoes? We have used pairs of those too!

After you consign your item with us and it sells to its new forever home, you receive 75% of what it sold for in-store credit (or 65% in cash). But what happens if your item doesn’t sell? Or if it’s a little too old for us to accept into our used inventory?

Rather than let items sit around our consignment basement for eons gathering mountains of dust, we have a program in place to donate gear and clothing after 8 months where we too donate the items to local homeless shelters and outdoor education programs.

Are you a part of an organization that supports the homeless or youth? Send us an email at [email protected] and we may have some consignment items available to donate to your cause.

Charitable Grant Fund

When you bring an item into OGE to consign, we help you give it a price that we think is fair based on the condition of the item and its original MSRP. If you’re feeling extra generous, you have the option to donate a portion of what your item sells for to our Charitable Grant Fund!

Our Charitable Grant Fund was founded in 2013 to promote access to the outdoors, support land conservation, and promote outdoor education programs. More recently, we have committed to using a portion of the funds each year to organizations focused on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in outdoor spaces.

And this grant program would. Not. Exist. Without consigners like you. When you choose to donate a portion of your sale to the grant, OGE matches it and puts it right back into the community. These projects vary from building ADA-accessible mountain bike bridges to constructing composting privys on the Long Trail to purchasing nordic skis for youth after school programs – all funded by YOU! We can’t thank you all enough for helping us make these positive impacts in our community.

You can learn more about the Charitable Grant Fund here.

Lowering barriers into the outdoors.

OGE was started as a way to help people of all walks of life get outside. By offering used items, we were (and still are) able to provide folks with the gear at a lower cost so they can be comfortable pursuing their outdoor adventures.

Maybe you’re a college student who wants to push yourself out of your comfort zone and try rock climbing for the first time. But tuition is cripplingly expensive and why spend hundreds of dollars on new climbing shoes if you’re not even sure you’re going to like the sport?

Maybe you’re a mom who wants to get her kids into skiing but can’t afford multiple pairs of skis that they’re just going to grow out of in a couple of years.

Enter consignment.

The outdoor industry is notorious for elitism and gear shaming. Our hope is to lower the financial barrier for folks to enjoy the outdoors – not selling them the hottest new thing that they don’t need.

We have bins full of used climbing shoes available to try on in our consignment department for those students who want to get into climbing. Racks of used skis border our ski department, everything from telemark to nordic to AT, ready for the mom who wants to get her kids outside in the winter.

Recreating outdoors isn’t about who is the fastest. Who is the strongest. Who has the fanciest gear. It’s about having fun. Connecting with nature. Building friendships. If we can help folks find used and cheaper gear that will allow them to fulfill their outdoor adventure goals, we will feel fulfilled.

In the end?

Whether you’re looking for an environmentally friendly way to recycle your old gear or looking to save some money to get into a new sport, consignment is for you! Come by our shop at 37 Church Street in Burlington or give us a call at 888-547-4327 and we’ll help you reach all your used outdoor gear dreams.

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Published:December 11, 2020

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