DIY Hanging Planters



I love making one-of-a-kind gifts for my friends and family every holiday season, but if you’re like me, it’s hard to find the time to craft something completely from scratch. That’s why I love being able to repurpose thrifted goods into something that is useful and beautiful without it taking weeks to make. The hanging planters we’ll be putting together today, for example, take only a couple of hours to complete! At this rate, you’ll have everyone crossed off of your to-gift list before the first candle of Hanukkah is lit!


Here’s what you’ll need to craft your own hanging planters:



  • Thrifted ceramic jars (or adjust the project for tins or glassware)
  • Thrifted belt
  • Drill
  • Ceramic tile drill bit
  • Painter’s tape
  • 4 screws that fit properly into the drilled hole
  • 4 coordinating washers
  • 4 coordinating nuts
  • 1 nail
  • Small hammer
  • Scissors
  • Pen or pencil
  • Measuring tool (a sewing tape measure works perfectly)
  • 2 plants
  • Hooks/hardware to hang the planters (if the planters won’t be hung in a stud, make sure you include wall anchors)
  • Safety mask
  • Safety goggles
  • Small piece of scrap wood


Step 1: After washing your thrifted ceramics, plan the placement of the holes. You’ll need two on each planter. Put a bit of painter’s tape over those areas and mark where you want the holes to be. The tape keeps the drill bit from skidding across the glaze as well as protecting the surface from small cracks the drilling could cause.

Step 2: Gently set a nail on each mark and tap it a tiny bit (so carefully) just to dent the glaze. This creates a starting point for the drill bit to bite into.

Step 3: You may want to take this one outside as there will be some dust. With your safety equipment on, carefully drill all four of your holes. If the dust is clogging up the hole, try sucking it out with a vacuum or wiping it with a damp cloth or Q-tip.

Step 4: Remove the tape and wipe the planters down. You may even want to rinse and dry them if there’s a lot of dust inside.

Step 5: Measure and cut the length you’ll need for your belt straps. Mine are each 13” long. After cutting them to size, I rounded all four ends of the straps.


Step 6: Decide where the holes in your straps should be then mark all four of those. Place the straps, one end at a time, on the scrap wood and hammer the nail through to punch a hole. You may need to wiggle this around quite a bit to stretch it so the screw will fit through.

Step 7: Thread the screws through the straps and planters one at a time, securing them from the inside with the washer then nut. Tighten as best you can then all you need to do is add greenery!

Dangling plants like burro’s tail or ivy would look amazing in here, but to keep things festive I decided to start with clippings from my Christmas tree. This way plants can be swapped out seasonally, by style preference, or to best suit the light wherever my pal decides to install her planters. You may want to include hanging hardware with your gift to make it even easier to put up.

Photo12.jpgIf you wanted to, you could also include a note which shares the source of your supplies along with Goodwill’s mission: to generate opportunities for people to build brighter futures for themselves and their families. This way, the person who receives your gift knows that these are so much more than just planters. When you holiday shop at Goodwill stores, your gifts just keep on giving, and I can’t think of anything merrier than that.



Recycle with Goodwill

By James Cherney, Retail Operations Director

November 15 is America Recycles Day, a nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States. It’s a great day to reflect on what more you can do to reduce your environmental impact and practice the principles of “reduce, reuse, and recycle.”

Beyond recycling plastic bottles, aluminum cans, glass, paper — and all the other personal waste produced from our daily lives — Goodwill can help you recycle a lot of other things! Founded on the business model of selling donated items, these goods are diverted from the waste stream. It’s a cycle that extends the life of usable items, while generating revenue and jobs for Goodwill’s mission-based programs.

Last year, Goodwill Industries of West Michigan reused or recycled over 9½ million pounds of donated material!

Computers/Electronics: Goodwill offers a free, easy, and environmentally responsible way to get rid of your unwanted computers, printers, flat screen monitors, TVs and more. Simply donate at any of our 16 Goodwill store and drive-thru donation centers. These items are either sold, or broken down into parts and recycled. We partner with reputable recyclers to maximize the commodity value of donated items while diverting toxic waste from our landfills. We no longer accept CRT TV or computer monitors (flatscreens are fine!). For a complete list of items we accept visit:

Clothes/Textiles: Clothes that no longer fit, are out of style, or you simply don’t wear any more, are gratefully accepted. Items are priced, resold, and reused by someone else. And don’t throw your ripped jeans into the trash; we accept them too. Damaged, torn, or unsaleable clothing items are sorted and sold to various recyclers or salvage brokers for the greatest value.

Furniture: Downsizing, moving, remodeling can all result in unwanted furniture. Donating to Goodwill could be the perfect solution. With the advent of DIY-ing and the popularity of upcycling due to Pinterest, your shabby dresser might be reborn as shabby chic! Goodwill does offer a limited pick-up service in the Muskegon area for large items if you are unable to bring to Goodwill yourself. Please call 722-7871 to schedule.

And don’t forget, your generous donations fund our job training and employment services for people in West Michigan. We sincerely thank you!

For lots more ideas and information about recycling in your area, visit the America Recycles Day website at

Visit to calculate the human impact of your Goodwill® donations.

Your change changes lives

By Kim Harsch, Resource Development Coordinator


I love my job at Goodwill because of you – Goodwill donors and shoppers. Because of you, I get to meet people whose lives are forever changed by Goodwill’s mission – to provide work opportunities, skill development, and family strengthening resources in all communities we serve.

This mission is funded in large part by your purchases and donated goods. Another way you help fund programs for people in our community, is through our “RoundUp” program. “RoundUp” means if your Goodwill store purchase is $10.50, you can opt to “round up” to an even $11.00 and that extra 50 cents goes directly to support Goodwill’s services, listed here. If you choose not to, that’s okay too and we sincerely thank you for your business!

So why do we do this? Not all of our programs and services are self-supported through our business enterprises and need a little extra help.

Your spare change adds up to thousands of dollars each year, and 100% of these funds go to help someone in your community get back on their feet. Last month your RoundUp change helped Adam move his family from dire living conditions to safety. He was able to receive the financial coaching he needed free at Goodwill so that he could afford a home for his young family. Your change changed Adam’s life. Read Adam’s story here.


If you always RoundUp – thank you! If you haven’t, please consider it next time you shop at Goodwill. Thank you again for positively “changing” lives!


Providing quality services to enhance lives

By Richard Carlson, President and CEO

Iam pleased to report that Goodwill Industries of West Michigan was recently awarded its 14th consecutive, three-year accreditation from CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) International.

The accreditation award for our Goodwill includes these internationally recognized categories: Community Employment Services-Employment Supports, Community Employment Services-Job Development, Comprehensive Vocational Evaluation Services, Employee Development Services, Organizational Employment Services, and Governance Standards.

The goal of CARF is to ensure that persons served remain at the center of the service delivery process. By pursuing and achieving accreditation, Goodwill Industries of West Michigan has demonstrated that it meets international standards and is committed to pursuing excellence. This accreditation decision also represents the highest level of accreditation that can be awarded to an organization and recognizes that Goodwill Industries has put itself through a rigorous peer review process and has demonstrated to a team of surveyors during an on-site visit that its programs and services are of the highest quality, measurable, and accountable.

The CARF Survey Report contains comments on numerous areas of our organization strengths.

Here are a few excerpts from their findings:

  • Goodwill Industries of West Michigan is a mission-driven organization that provides person-centered services and demonstrates a remarkable commitment to continuous quality improvement of its business functions and service delivery practices. Particularly noteworthy are the organizations community engagement efforts and dedication to providing a safe work environment for persons served and staff members.
  • The organization maintains meticulous records and documentation that support compliance with Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Its attention to detail in this area demonstrates a commitment and unwavering promise to offer an array of employment choices to persons served. Parents and persons served express deep satisfaction with services they receive from Goodwill Industries of West Michigan. A common theme in their comments is the professionalism, dedication, and enthusiasm of staff members and how often they “exceed expectations.”
  • There appears to be excellent rapport and mutual respect among the management team, staff members and persons served.  The high level of professionalism among staff members and the organization’s collaborative and respectful working conditions are evident. Local funders describe Goodwill Industries of West Michigan as a strong collaborator with the flexibility to successfully navigate the changing landscape of employment for persons with significant disabilities.
  • Goodwill Industries of West Michigan invested resources in a significant event and professionally created video that highlight and celebrate successful employment outcomes of persons served. The event includes multiple persons served and broadens the organization’s reputation as a premier provider of employment support services in the community.

Attaining and maintaining our CARF-accredited status requires a significant effort, strong teamwork, and a commitment at all levels of the organization to providing quality services and enhancing the lives of the people we serve. My appreciation is extended to our Goodwill board of directors, leadership teams, and all staff members for their dedication and commitment to the never-ending story of Goodwill’s mission to enhance people’s lives through the power of work.

Your change changes lives

By Drew Robinson, Resource Development Coordinator


hey say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. As with much of life, this could also apply to the challenges many of Goodwill’s program participants face every day. This is especially true in our MoneyWorks program, which helps people with financial problems find a way to succeed – one dollar at a time. Some have faced crippling debts for years, struggling to get on top of it but never quite paying it all off. Others are nearing a retirement age, and are worried about how they will afford the next stage of their life. There are others who are trying to manage their finances in order to purchase a home or car. Regardless of the situation, the MoneyWorks team is dedicated to helping people make their goals a reality – no matter how long it takes.

And starting this month, you can be a part of their success. From March 23 to July 2, when you shop at your local Goodwill, you will have the opportunity to “round up” your purchase to the next even dollar. These donations will be used to provide MoneyWorks clients with the financial counseling they need to succeed. Financial discipline is hard. By working one-on-one with a MoneyWorks financial specialist, clients receive the support they need to stay focused and achieve their goals.

Please consider rounding up your purchase the next time you shop with us. The few cents you give will be combined with those of other shoppers who want to help, and can make a huge difference in the life of someone in your community. The journey to financial freedom can be long and lonely. Let’s help people who are struggling to take the next step to success together.

We also welcome your financial gifts at anytime. Donate online, by mail, or through your financial advisor. For more information:

You love your stuff … Does it love you back?

By Lorie Marrero, author of The Clutter Diet


ebruary is a time for focusing on LOVE! Beyond whom you love, let’s talk for a moment about WHAT you love.

When I work with clients, so often we are going through items and they happily exclaim, “Oh, I LOVE this!” They get to say this a few times (and I do say this myself), but if I hear this sentence used too much as a rationalization for keeping things that are not needed, we have to discuss that. The stuff does not love you back! What is at the root of this love for inanimate objects?

Loved items from the PAST
We form attachments to objects because we love the memories that those objects represent. A model car might represent that car you drove in high school, with the attached memories of the fun you had with your friends driving around. Baby clothes represent the sweet memories of your children’s cuteness (before they became teenagers). It’s great to keep some mementos, but only if they are not overpowering your ability to function in your current time and space and blocking what you can do in the present and future.

Loved items for the FUTURE
We also might love objects because of what we hope they represent for ourselves later. You may prize an exquisite tablecloth you never use, because you envision using it at a fancy dinner party for your friends in the future. You may hold on to an antique easel because someday you envision yourself taking up painting. Keeping a few items like these is a great idea for reminding you of your goals. But if those goals have become unrealistic and are now just nagging you and reminding you about stale aspirations, they need to go and make room for other more relevant items.

Loved items that are BEAUTIFUL
We may love objects because they bring beauty and enjoyment into our lives. Art and other creative items like books are very important to inspire us and make us feel good in our spaces. The famous quote by William Morris says, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” So, if it’s beautiful to you, are you displaying it? If not, why? Again, if you have so much that it’s affecting your ability to function, you need to pare it down. Remember, form follows function!

What objects do you love? Are they getting in your way? If you’ve been inspired to pare it down, remember that donating to Goodwill® is the best way to provide a good home to your loved items while helping others in your own community to find a good job.

How to be more confident in job interviews

By guest blogger Ginny Neumer of Goodwill Keystone Area

“I’m so nervous when I go on interviews. I never know what questions they’ll ask.”

“I hate going on interviews.”

“I know what I want to say during an interview but what comes out is mush.”

Do any of these statements sound familiar?  No matter what your age, you can be confident in interviews by following three easy steps.

Prepare. Before the interview, get to know the company—what it does, who it serves, its competitors, its suppliers, its senior officers, and the reasons you should be the one they hire. The company’s website will have answers to these items. Know your résumé and have a story to tell about every bullet point on it—interviewers remember people who can talk about their strengths and how they relate to the job. It also helps to know how to answer common interview questions.

Practice. Practice interviewing in support groups, job clubs, workshops, or with a friend. You will only get better, and you’ll be able to eliminate mistakes. Proper attire depends on the job, so  make sure several interview outfits are ready to go at a moment’s notice. Learn more about proper attire here. Don’t overlook personal hygiene—hair, teeth, hands/nails.

Execute. When you know the name of the interviewer, research him or her on the Internet to see if you have anything in common to talk about. Take at least five copies of your résumé with you, and arrive 10-15 minutes before your appointment. Turn off all electronic devices and do not check your phone for messages or e-mails. Stand and wait to be escorted into the interviewer’s office; once inside, wait to be seated until the interviewer directs you where to sit. When it’s your turn, ask relevant job-related questions of the interviewer. At the end of the interview, get the interviewer’s business card and promptly send them a thank-you message, making sure to spell their and the company’s name correctly.

Every interview is an opportunity to improve. After each, ask yourself, ‘What can I do better? What did I do well? What should I stop doing?’ By combining those learning experiences with these best practices, you’ll find that you can master interviews. Learn more about interviewing and get more career advice on Goodwill’s GoodProspects site.

Ginny Neumer works for Goodwill Keystone Area’s Community Service Employment Program, and uses her experience as a former human resource generalist to teach people job-search skills for today’s job market.