Rainy Day Goodwill Haul + Thrift Tips

Happy spring! April showers might bring May flowers…but, in my world, rainy days also bring some fantastic Goodwill finds. When it’s pouring outside, one thing that always cheers me up is grabbing a cup of coffee, meeting a friend, then seeing what sunshine we can find inside my favorite thrift store.  Here’s a look at my latest spring-inspired haul along with some thrift shopping tips that will keep you from leaving the store disappointed.

Tip #1: Shop during or after a storm (as long as it’s safe to go out)! When the weather is rough, but stores are still open, staff is able to work swiftly to sort through donations and get them on the floor because they have fewer customers to assist. And because all the other shoppers are hunkering down at home, you get the pick of the litter as soon as new items hit the shelves! With so many rainy days in the spring, now’s the perfect time to take advantage of this tip. Go to Goodwill on a torrentially rainy day (not just light drizzles) for the best selection and least competition. Don’t worry if you forgot your umbrella! During my thrift haul today I found this classic umbrella that just had to come home with me. Its wooden handle makes it feel a little more special than a regular plastic one. Your local Goodwill might have some unique rain gear, too!

Tip #2: If you love something, buy it! Don’t talk yourself out of it just because you didn’t go shopping with that specific item in mind. Most seasoned thrift shoppers have a story or two about stumbling upon their favorite find at an unexpected time. That’s why I didn’t even hesitate when I saw this blazer. It’s not what I came in for, but blazers are so expensive brand-new that when I saw this one, I instantly tried it on. It’s perfect for my 9-5 job and it’s a fun layer to go over summer dresses so they can work for spring! I couldn’t even wait to get to the dressing room to make sure it fit.

Tip #3: When in doubt, put it in your cart. You can always put it back on the shelf if you change your mind before you leave the store. I was on the fence about these running pants at first, but I put them in my cart while I poked around the rest of the store anyway. Sometimes when I do this, I reassess at the end of the trip and feel comfortable leaving the item behind. But when I was done browsing this morning, I checked in with myself about these pants and felt confident that they were a great choice. At only $9 for brand-new, comfy jogging pants, they are just the motivation I needed to get moving with a new exercise routine this spring. Good thing I put them in my cart when I did—they were the only pair in my size!

Tip #4: Bring a sewing tape measure and know the sizes/colors of specific things you need. One item I had been searching for was a basket or bin that could fit into an empty nook in my bedroom for craft supply storage. When I have specific needs like this I make sure to keep measurements of the space I have to fill on my phone. I also bring along a sewing tape measure (it rolls up so tiny!) so I can check to see if items are the correct size right there in the store. You may also want to bring color swatches or pictures of a certain things you’re trying to match. If you shop prepared then you’ll never take something home that doesn’t fit or leave something behind that could have.

Tip #5: Shop in the middle of the week. Not only will the store be less crowded, but that also means that the good stuff hasn’t been snagged by someone else. This Goodwill haul adventure I’m sharing today took place on a Wednesday so I had plenty of time and space to browse around. Wandering along, I was shocked when I noticed this Soma water pitcher peeking out at me from the top shelf in the kitchen section. I have had this same exact pitcher on my Amazon wish list for months and here it was waiting for me at Goodwill for only $2 (it retails for $40). Would it still be there if I waited until Saturday to shop? Probably not!

Tip #6: Donate something every time you go. Not only does this keep your home from becoming too cluttered, it’s also good thrifting karma to give as you get. I’ve been looking for a colorful, light-weight bag to add to my wardrobe for a while and I feel like this one might have been waiting for me as a reward this time for clearing out some old bags on my last visit. I love the unique clasp and bright colors. It’s so perfect for spring!

Tip #7: Learn the discounts. What day of the week do things get marked down at your local Goodwill? What’s the color of the week? Do seniors or veterans receive a discount? These are quick questions to ask staff that can help you save money. Some Goodwill stores even offer you a discount coupon when you make a donation! Keeping the color of the week in mind, I was able to get this bright Old Navy sweater for half-off. I love the weight and fit of it. It’s so flattering and will take the edge off of cooler spring days while still feeling cheery thanks to its lively color.

Tip #8: Check the return racks outside of the dressing rooms. These racks are filled with items that have caught the eye of other shoppers so they’re always stuffed with great pieces. It’s almost like someone has pre-shopped for you, selecting the cutest of the cute to try on. When clothes don’t fit just right or the color doesn’t work for the other shopper the way they had hoped, where does it go? On the return rack! Fantastic finds like this flowy Lauren Conrad blouse will often be hiding there so don’t pass it by. I really think this might be my new favorite shirt. It’s a favorite color of mine and the gold buttons make it feel so fancy!

Tip #9: Shop out of season! Years ago, I never would have dreamt I’d be buying this wooden Christmas tree in March, but I’ve since learned the merit of shopping out of season. So even though it’s springtime now and I’ve got pastels and picnics on the brain, I couldn’t pass by this perfect little tree with its rustic charm. How cozy will this look in December nestled amongst evergreen boughs with stockings hung nearby?

So that’s my latest thrift haul! I’m so in love with all of my finds and even more impressed with Goodwill’s commitment to sustainability. Shopping secondhand, reusing items and do-it-yourself projects are all a great way to live a more sustainable lifestyle. It’s also more fun to find something unique at a Goodwill store and give it a second life.

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What’s your sweetest Goodwill find?

by Rachael Kaminski, Internet Marketing and Events Coordinator

With today being Valentine’s Day, I wanted to share a little love for Goodwill. I’ve been a Goodwill shopper for quite some time now. My mom would take me shopping at the Grand Haven Goodwill store to pick out formal dresses for all my high school dances. She would spend months hand sewing thousands of beads onto the dress to make it one of a kind, unique, and absolutely perfect. My mother was quite the seamstress. She would take a bland dress and make it into work of art. I loved knowing that no one would have “my dress.” I never had to worry about having a fashion faux pas of who wore it best.

My most recent “sweetest” Goodwill find would be a mirror that I have above my mantle. I hate to pay full price for anything and with my love for crafting this was the perfect DIY project … and yes, it was project I did 100% by myself. I had to include that because DIY projects to many men means your wife coming home and saying “I saw this great idea on Pinterest,” ripping apart the house or pulling out every crafting supply and after a few hours of unsuccessfully “DIYing” calling out for help because your great idea turned into a “Pinterest fail.”

When I found this mirror, I knew it was a solid quality piece. The mirror was heavy, but the frame needed a little TLC. It looked like it had been a part of a vanity. There were four holes I filled with wall putty or spackle. Once it dried I sanded the frame down and used a chisel to chip away some of the wood to give the distressed appearance. I then painted the frame turquoise and further distressed it after it was painted. I think it turned out great!

The sweetest Goodwill find I have ever heard about was what Joyce Kinstner found 15 years ago at the Whitehall Goodwill store. She met her husband! I don’t know if there is a sweeter Goodwill find story. It just goes to show that you never know what you may find at Goodwill!

Do you have a sweetest Goodwill find you would like to share? Please post a photo of your treasure on our Facebook timeline and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a $35 Goodwill gift card! Share the love, but don’t hesitate! Today is the last day to participate in our contest. Happy Valentine’s Day!

DIY Hanging Planters

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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!

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

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Supplies

  • 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.

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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.

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Decorating for fall

By Rachael Crevier, Internet Marketing, and Events Coordinator

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With Thanksgiving just a few weeks away now is the time to update your home decor. If you’ve been reading any of my blogs you’ve probably noticed that I always say I’m on a budget and unfortunately in the last year and half that hasn’t changed. On the bright side, Goodwill has the most affordable home and holiday décor pieces to accentuate anyone’s style from shabby chic to modern, vintage to country, eclectic to nautical, and everything in between.

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Redecorate your kitchen by adding accents of warm fall tones like oranges, reds, burgandy, and greens.

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Goodwill is a great place to find unique décor for any room in your house.

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Texture adds a lot of character to interior design. Change up your look by adding some new candles, decorative jars or baskets. Don’t love the color but love the design? Spray paint works wonders.

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Check out this amazing piece of pottery! This one-of-a-kind piece of would be perfect on a mantle or coffee table.

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Faux flowers and plants may be intimidating but with a little inspiration, they can be transformed into a beautiful fall wreath your friends and family will envy!

Check out this tutorial by Good House Keeping. Deck your door with a maple wreath. You can quickly DIY this cute piece with branches from your yard or faux leaves from Goodwill. http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/craft-ideas/how-to/a25869/maple-wreath-diy/

Decorating your home for fall is a fun, creative, and cost-effective project for you and your family to enjoy. Check out your local Goodwill – you never know what you may find!

For more DIY home and holiday décor inspiration visit our Pinterest page: https://www.pinterest.com/goodwillwm/

Goodwill = Your Halloween Headquarters

By Marlene Prowant, Retail District Managergoodwill-3

I‘m really excited about our new selection of Halloween merchandise we recently stocked in all of our retail locations! New this year is 70s-era merchandise. We’ve got everything to transform you back in time … from peace-loving hippies to disco queens.

We also have makeup and face art, hats, wigs, capes, tutus, tiaras, fangs, masks, glasses, colored hair spray,  and more … to help create or complete any costume you desire!

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If you need help in selecting your costume, we have staff that can help you create a one-of-a-kind costume or you can select from our new costumes starting at $9.95 or we have a large selection of donated costumes for $3.99 and up. From the scary to the cute, we can help with all of your costume needs.

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We also have your decorating needs covered. We have tableware to home décor to prepare for those Halloween parties. Something new this year is window decorating kits from Wow Windows. These easy to install window posters are back-lit using the lighting from your inside lights.  An easy, fun way to transform your home and “wow” your neighbors and trick or treaters.

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If you are looking to add creativity to your baking this Halloween season we have Wilton baking supplies and treat bags. While shopping, do not forget about pumpkin carving; we having carving kits starting at $1.95.

Come shop Goodwill Halloween Headquarters this year, we are ready to assist you at all of our 16 locations!  Shop early for the best selections.

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Don’t forget to add your costume creation to our Facebook page for your chance to win great prizes! For complete details see our event page.

Brass to class

By Rachael Crevier, Internet Marketing and Event Coordinator

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I’ll admit it. I’m extremely impatient and it often bites me in the butt. I will explain in a moment.

Sometimes I just get a “feeling” that I have to go Goodwill shopping. If you’re an avid thrift shopper you know what I’m talking about.

That’s how I SCORED this perfect set of lamps for a DIY makeover! I popped into the Roosevelt Park store in Muskegon and lo and behold, I was in the right place at the right time. I found these heavy-duty brass lamps for $6 each! I wasn’t in love with the color, even though brass is trendy again, but I loved the price and the quality.

So I took them home, wiped them down a little bit, removed the price tag and covered the light socket with a plastic bag and masking tape.

I laid out some plastic in the yard and went to town with my Black Satin Rust-Oleum spray paint. The color was great but it wasn’t covering very well as I hope. The rounded section in the middle of the lamp was a little spotty. So I let that layer dry and searched through Pinterest for some clarity. Like I said in the beginning, I’m extremely impatient and I was just so excited I didn’t even think to use a primer first. This is where I went wrong. SO to all you thrift shoppers out there, MAKE SURE YOU USE A PRIMER FIRST. If you want step-by-step instructions and pictures on how to spray paint a brass lamp, check out Jennifer Stagg’s blog withHeart she’s got it all laid out for you! I was too impatient which resulted in me doing multiple coats to achieve the desired look.

Even without using a primer the lamps turned out wonderful! I found two matching shades to complete the look at the Whitehall Goodwill. I can’t even believe how lucky I got, matching lamps and shades!

They really helped tie together all our décor. I love finding high-quality, low prices items for my home. Half the fun is finding the item and the other half is transforming it into something that really complements your style.

Making a mercury glass tree

By Rachael Crevier, Internet Marketing & Events Coordinator

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As a new homeowner, I’ve been searching for unique and low cost items to decorate my home with.

1When I found this adorable glass tree at our Roosevelt Park store in Muskegon, for only $1.50, I knew I had to get it! I had been swooning over items similar to this that were decorated to mimic antique “mercury” glass (or silvered glass.) I decided to give it a try!

I hadn’t had any experience with this before so I took to Pinterest and YouTube for a little inspiration.

My awesome $1.50 find, just got a little bath with soap and water, to remove the dust.2

To create your own DIY (Do It Yourself) mercury glass tree/ vase you will need:

  • Krylon Looking Glass Spray Paint
  • White Vinegar
  • Water
  • A clean spray bottle
  • Cardboard
  • A clear glass pieces you want to transform from Goodwill of course!

I made the mistake of looking at a hardware/ appliance store for the spray paint. So skip that, and check your local craft store like Hobby Lobby, JoAnn Fabric’s, or Michael’s.

3Let’s get started!

  1. Lay out cardboard in ventilated area.
  2. Mix half, water and white vinegar in spray bottle.
  3. Shake spray paint really well (2 minutes and continue to shake throughout).
  4. Mist the vinegar mixture into the tree.
  5. Then mist the spray paint inside and swirl paint around to cover, let sit for 60 seconds.
  6. You will begin to see bubbles creating a texture on the glass.
  7. Repeat the vinegar and spray paint until desired look

And you’re done!5

Here’s how my mercury glass tree turned out…

This technique can be applied many different ways, yet achieve similar results, depending on personal style. I wanted a heavier antiqued look, so I used multiple layers of spray paint and vinegar. For a more transparent look use less spray paint.

4I love how elegant yet rustic it can look. I put mine on our mantle with the rest of our tree collection. It was so easy and cost effective! Home decor shouldn’t break the bank!

Try your hand at transforming glassware into mercury glass looking creations.

Candlesticks, hurricane, votive, vases and other glassware found at Goodwill would also make lovely antiqued mercury glass pieces. You won’t be disappointed!

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