Our country is in the middle of a bedbug epidemic, and I need to change the way I do things. Let me preface this by saying that I have not had any insect problems of any kind, I have just become more aware through the news & articles. These changes are strictly of a preventative nature. I have not heard of any in my area, but many thrift stores in the US have had infestations of bedbugs. Due to the nature of what I do, and the volume of thrift store sweaters that are brought into my home, I need to make changes before it's too late. I could just keep the sweaters in the garage, to protect my family, but that doesn't protect my customers once I send the sweaters out. Bedbugs are extremely resilient, and it takes a lot to kill them & their eggs. I obviously wanted a safe non toxic method for our environment, and for the safety of both my family & yours. After speaking with a pest control expert, we agreed that the best solution was freezing. He said it takes 10 days of deep freeze to guarantee that any bedbugs & eggs will be dead. I bought a large chest freezer this weekend, just for the sweaters, and put it in my garage. From now on, I will be taking the sweaters as I get them, and placing them into the chest freezer for 10 days or more. After that, they will be brought into my house for Sweater Sunday and proper inventorying.
What does this mean for you? You can be absolutely certain that there are no bedbugs, moths, eggs, or bugs of any kind, in any sweaters you buy from me. No thrift store can offer you that guarantee. The downside is that if you are requesting me to look for certain colors/patterns/etc. that I don't have on hand, it will take longer to fill those requests because of the 10 day "quarantine". Also, I will start charging an additional 25 cent charge per sweater, to cover the additional costs & labor involved in the process. So, what was $6, will now be $6.25, and what was $8 will be $8.25 etc. I am hoping that you all agree with me that the 25 cents is well worth the piece of mind.
ETA: From time to time I will also be putting sweaters in the dryer, in medium size loads (a large load could cause insulation from the heat), for 30 minutes at a time. This way I can add to my inventory in a quicker way when needed, though it is not as cost or energy efficient.