Sunday, February 16, 2014

Goodwill Hunting

I won't even lie.  I almost backed out on sharing this post because I'm not sure that I'm ready to share the secrets of my success in finding fabulous home accessories with you guys (a.k.a. The Competition).

I told you on Friday, when I shared my best-ever Goodwill finds, that I feel a little competitive when I'm bargain shopping...
Its kind of like that.

But you guys are so good to me! It's really the least I can do.

Plus most of you don't live anywhere near me. So my Goodwill is probably safe. 

Ok, now that I'm done being they are!  My secrets to scoring great decor accessories at Goodwill.  In spite of my bad jokes, I really do hope they help you out!  

Tip #1
Stop in often. I'm super lucky that there's a Goodwill store on my route home from work, so it's not out of my way at all to stop in. The stock at Goodwill changes constantly, and stopping in often not only helps you find gems soon after they arrive, but it also helps you learn to distinguish the items that are almost always available from the items that you have to snatch up when you see them.  For example, my local store seems to have an ever-present supply of I-phone and Kindle accessories, so I don't get too excited about those.  But when the Nate Berkus stuff arrives...I'm all over it.

Tip #2
Be on the lookout for salvage items  Goodwill gets salvage items from certain stores (the best one being Target), which means that when the store does not sell an item and wants to get rid of it, they donate it to Goodwill.  These items are brand new, and are usually about one season behind.  I'm generally looking for housewares, but I've also seen salvage shoes, clothing, and accessories (including tons of jewelry!).

Tip #3
Get the savings card.  My Goodwill identifies items by color and letter.  Each week a certain color and letter is on sale for 50% off for savings card holders, which brings Goodwill's already low prices to ridiculously low levels.  I usually have a running 'watch list' of items that I like, but I'm keeping my eye on until they go on sale. If I put an item on my 'watch list' it means that I don't want to pay full Goodwill price for it, but I won't be crushed if someone else buys it in the meantime.

I couldn't wait on these.  I paid $10, which was 80% off than original price.

Tip #4
Learn the schedule of your specific store.  When do they put out new stock?  When do the weekly sales start?  By stopping in at these times, you can be the first to see new items and take advantage of the sales.  Also get to know the workers, so that you can ask them questions about the sale schedule. The people who work at my Goodwill are so sweet!  If I'm eyeing something up that isn't on sale, they'll tell me how long it will be until the the item is scheduled to be on sale, which helps me decide if I want to wait on it.

Tip #5
Go in with an open mind, and be willing to look at what items can become, rather than what they are.  Goodwill is the land of project possibilities for me.  I love to pick up items that I can paint, re-purpose or otherwise transform.  It's the perfect place to find project starters and inspiration. Can that embroidery hoop that costs 49 cents be a wreath form? (Done that.) Could that huge, ugly picture be painted over and transformed into a chalkboard? (Done that too!) Best of all-- if a project from a Goodwill item goes south, I don't have to feel too bad about it because I only spent a few bucks on the materials.

Tip #6
If at all possible, shop alone and when you're not in a hurry.  I find that I really need to have the time to wander around by myself in order to think creatively about the items that I see in the store.  Distractions and time constraints stunt that process for me.

Happy Hunting!!


  1. Hey take ur mom and me along with u for our first trip to good will!!!!