Goodwill Sisters

Guess what my sister and I did yesterday?

Stay tuned for a blog post tomorrow to learn what we scored!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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Five Frugal Things

by Katy on August 28, 2016 · 54 comments

Duran Duran concert

  1. Okay, this is likely the MOST FRUGAL THING I’VE EVER DONE, so wait for it . . . My sister and I found out that Duran Duran was playing an outdoor concert on the Portland waterfront last night. I drove us down to the area, where we circled the area over and over (and over) again with the windows down. We sang along, we danced in our seats and I worked very hard to not hit any drunk pedestrians. (Of which there were many!) They played Rio, The Reflex, Girls on Film, as well as many other songs, and I got to hear Simon LeBon say “My name is Bon, Simon LeBon.” Sigh . . .
  2. I took my son to a University of Oregon incoming student event, which included tons of free yummy food. Unlike the other parents, I enjoyed a full free meal that included delicious marinated veggies, gourmet cheeses, meats and tropical fruits. I then used my free work perk bus pass to take myself home while my son met up with his cousin to hunt for Pokémon.
  3. I brought home two desk lamps from last week’s garage sale leftovers excursion. Unfortunately, they both needed new specialty light bulbs. I went ahead and put them on my curb with signs about how they require new bulbs. It wasn’t worth it for me to buy the bulbs, but it might be for someone else.
  4. I listed some garbage picked baby shower invitations on eBay, I took notes for a Clark Howard piece, I worked one day, I confirmed that I’m track to work 800 hours this year, which will qualify me for a $1.25 per hour bonus for all of 2016, I updated my online budget and I relisted all my Craigslist listings,
  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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The following is a reprint of a previously published post. Enjoy!

A recent post on Apartment Therapy asked readers for their best method to refinish metal leg caps, which reminded me of a project I’d been meaning to tackle.

Remember this midcentury bookshelf that I picked up a few months back? (I think I paid something crazy like $2.99 for it!) It had loads of neeto-jets 45° angles, but the metal cap feet were unforgivably rusted out and were hardly worth highlighting.

However, I still had the gold paint pen from my frame project, so I taped off a leg and got to work. I was unsure how it would look, so I started with one of the back legs.

Rusty Feet

Of course, me being myself, I reused the blue painter’s tape with each leg as I am:

  1. Cheap.
  2. Loathe to be wasteful.
  3. Obsessive about how long I can go before replacing new stuff like stupidly expensive painter’s tape.

Blue Tape

The project was actually quite fun, as I set up up in front of an episode of Alias. (J.J. Abrams being my second favorite producer/director after Joss Whedon.)

Hello, Jennifer Garner Sydney Bristow, why no wacky wig today?

Shelf - before

And here’s how incredible the metal leg caps looked after the caresses of my magical golden pen.

Like the necklaces that adorn the chest of Mr. T, nothing but pure golden goodness is allowed.

“I pity the fool who lets their metal leg caps go rusty!”

Happy Feet

I also went ahead and gave the wood a nourishing rubdown with my trusty Aspercreme Restore-A-Finish, which coaxes finished wood  from dry to glossy, while also minimizing scratches and gouges.

Here’s a gratuitous detail shot of the bookshelf.

Hello, lover . . .

Detail Bookshelf

And here’s the shelf all lovely and refurbished.

Now, if all home improvement projects could be this cheap and easy . . .

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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Five Frugal Things

by Katy on August 25, 2016 · 54 comments

Catherine Holm listing

  1. I sold two items that I’d gleaned from garage sale leftover piles. (A cloth diapering kit for $15 and a glider rocking chair for $50.)
  2. I listed a garage sale leftover pair of figure skates on Craigslist, as well as a Goodwill saucepan on eBay.
  3. I helped my mother finish cleaning one of her guest cottages.
  4. I had nine people at my dinner table last night, which increased to twelve for dessert. My sister and I made a huge pot of chili using black beans cooked in the slow cooker. We then put bowls of fun toppings out for people to customize their meal. The day was pretty hot, so I put my crock pot on the front porch in order to avoid heating up the house. (Today I’m cooking garbanzo beans on the front porch, which is probably starting to confuse my mail carrier.)
  5. I picked up a prescription at Walgreen’s last night and remembered to use my HSA Visa card. Because I used the drive through, there was zero temptation to pick up any impulse items.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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Be The Pink Shoes

by Katy on August 24, 2016 · 20 comments

be the pink shoes

In a world where the pressure to conform is mighty, I present to you this message:

“Be the pink shoes.”

 

Make your life choices without fear of The Joneses, and you’ll discover freedom.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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Five Frugal Things

by Katy on August 22, 2016 · 97 comments

  1. I made a quick stop into Safeway and noticed a coupon next to the cash register for 88¢ eggs. I asked the clerk if eggs were on sale, and she answered that neighborhood customers had received the coupon in the mail. I commented that I lived in the neighborhood, (which I do) and she told me to go grab some eggs. I was able to buy two dozen and am now set for the next couple of weeks.
  2. I drove across town to pick up my sister from her friend’s house, and we stopped in at our father’s house afterwards. He’d just baked bread and sent us home with a fresh loaf.
  3. My visiting niece was feeling poorly all day, but had perked up by the evening. I asked her if she wanted to leave the house for some fresh air and she readily agreed. I took her to a big local park (Mt. Tabor) where I let her use my phone to hunt for Pokémon. We had a lovely time without spending a penny.
  4. I turned in another Clark Howard article, I put together three Craigslist listings, I signed up for September hospital shifts, I watered plants using my family’s abandoned water bottles and I used a free car wash coupon for my bigger car, making sure to drive through with a full passenger load for full entertainment value. “Release the kraken!”
  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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Over The Rainbow at ShopGoodwill.com

by Katy on August 22, 2016 · 14 comments

I recently had the opportunity to poke through the ShopGoodwill.com facility for Goodwill Industries of The Columbia Willamette. My tour guide was the ever knowledgable Dale Emanuel, known simply as “Goodwill Dale” at my house, as she shares a name with my husband. She and I go way back, remember when she gave me a behind the scenes tour of the main Goodwill store?

For your visual reference, here we are taking a selfie in front of one of the pay-by-the-pound outlet bins. #friendshipgoals

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The facility itself is an enormous warehouse, located right next door to the Hillsboro Goodwill Outlet store. You could almost miss the entrance, as it’s unmarked. When you enter, you experience a surreal Wizard of Oz moment as the world turns from black and white to color, or more realistically from a suburban parking lot to a warehouse piled to the ceiling with priceless treasures. (Okay, okay . . . it’s actually “treasures neatly stacked on shelves.” But what kind of dull visual is that?) Either way, there are treasures galore!

I have to admit that my first response was dismay, as this building holds all the stuff I normally scout for when thrifting. But I quickly reminded myself that Goodwill’s mission is “To provide vocational opportunities to people with barriers to employment.” Not “To provide underpriced items for Katy Wolk-Stanley.” As Dale puts it, “To further maximize the value of donations.”

For those who are unfamiliar with ShopGoodwill.com, let me get you up to speed. ShopGoodwill is a multi-regional non-profit online auction site that sells both rare and popular goods. So although this particular facility is the largest in the nation, it’s one of many that coordinate their efforts.

Or more precisely:

“Participating Goodwill’s from across the country offer for auction on the site a wide array of art, antiques and collectibles as well as new and nearly new items pulled from their vast inventories of donated goods. From unique one-of-a-kind items to estate pieces, the depth of resources is enormous. Revenues from these auction sales fund Goodwill’s education, training and job placement programs for people with disabilities and other barriers.”

Once I got over myself, I began to enjoy in the wonder of it all. Everywhere I looked were hyper-organized treasures. (Sorry, am I using the word “treasure” too much?) Wagner and Griswold cast iron pans, Pendleton wool blankets, antiques and collectables, electronics, designer goods, American Girl dolls, Texas Instrument calculators, musical instruments, Dyson vacuum cleaners, Roombas, toys, books, Legos, jewelry and pretty much anything else you could dare to dream of!

I was quickly introduced to the dream team of Joshua Peterson, e-commerce operations manager and assistant-manager Heather. Of course, there’s Dale again.

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I learned that certain categories of donations are earmarked for special treatment. For example, American flags are sent to The American Legion and taxidermy animals are donated to a wildlife educational center.

Hello there, kitty. Are you ready to serve an educational purpose?

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A large portion of the warehouse is dedicated to GoodwillBooks.com, which runs the gamut from bestsellers to rare.

Goodwillbooks

Of course, I took a picture. What you can’t see in this photo is that I’m pulling a Buffy The Vampire Slayer book from the shelf. I guess I should have clarified how to frame the photo before handing my phone over.

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So pretty!

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I also learned that not a single donated book goes to the landfill, and that Goodwill foots the bill for recycling all unsaleable books. (In 2015 alone, Goodwill donated 28,000+ books through the “Book of My Own” program.)

Legos and jewelry are big sellers, which both have a 100% “sell-through rate.”

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All the while, the 90 employees are busy photographing, researching and listing the donations. (400 – 500 per day, approximately 3,500 at any one time!) You can see a lighted photo station in the background of this picture. Those large white plastic bags? They each hold a wedding dress!

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Because my area’s Goodwill receives anything and everything through their 100+ donation stations, ShopGoodwill.com sells everything you could possibly ever think of. Recent items have included:

  • A 4-foot square soapstone Taj Mahal, lit from within and weighing “at least 600 pounds.”
  • A human skull marked “for scientific purposes.”
  • A full size weaving loom.
  • A life size Yoda.
  • A rare color change sapphire brooch.
  • An autographed Amelia Earhart book.
  • This fancy-to-the-schmancy chair, which I think evokes a fabulous Donatella Versace vibe.

Fancy schmancy chair

As the manager Joshua Peterson put it, “Not a week goes by that I don’t see something that I’ve never seen before.” (Not surprising considering that Portland area Goodwills receive over 218 million pounds of annual donations!)

Listings start at $5, with an average sale around $40, so there are opportunities for some great bargains. You can even narrow your search to your local region in order to arrange a pickup.

This site is perfect for all the people who complains that my Goodwills must be better than their Goodwills. Because ShopGoodwill.com is for everyone. Well . . . except for those in the taxidermy market. Don’t believe me? Then click here to scope out featured items.

May the thrifting odds be ever in your favor.

This blog post may read like a sponsored post, but it isn’t. I promise. I just *really* like Goodwill.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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Free stuff

Yesterday my sister and I drove around a wealthy area that had just completed a neighborhood garage sale day. The “free piles” were abundant and we were not shy about doing a little “shopping.”

We brought home:

  • A new looking Lululemon hoodie for my niece.
  • A $300 dress for my niece.
  • A gliding rocker that needed a quick scrub down.
  • A Gap winter coat that included two quarters and a Burt’s Bees lip balm. (Kept the money, tossed the lip balm.)
  • A child’s life vest.
  • Two desk lamps.
  • A brand new pair of Danskos.
  • A spatula.
  • A blue vintage Ball jar.
  • A new looking pair of girl’s ice skates.
  • A lot of miscellaneous clothing.
  • A wooden toy.
  • A Cynthia Rowley comforter and matching sham.

I’ve already put together three Craigslist listings, added the 50¢ to my Found Change Challenge jar and washed the coat. You know my #collegefund will be a little happier by the end of the week!

Thank you, anonymous garage sale sellers!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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Goodwill, Badwill, Questionable-will

by Katy on August 20, 2016 · 18 comments

My sister and her kids are in town, which for the Wolk-Stanley sisters means Goodwill adventure day!

Of course, there were the usual suspects such as the wooden shoes sold to gullible Dutch tourists. Apparently they’re not so cherished once they hit American soil, as they inhabit every single thrift store. Always.

Exhibit A:

Wooden shoe

Exhibit B:

wooden shoe 2

Exhibit C:

wooden shoe 3

Not to take a backseat are the inevitable targeted savings banks.

For College Cash:

college cash

For a Harley Fund:

Harley fund

Or simply for your next Get Rich Quick Scheme:

Get rich quick

But then I spied this “Master Piece” liquor dispenser. Notice anything odd?

liquor dispenser

How about now?

liquor dispenser close up

Perhaps you need a close up?

liquor dispenser closer up

How about an extreme close up? Mountain Dew anyone? 😉

liquor dispenser closest up

Perfect for a fun selfie!

liquor dispenser selfie

Of course, I was able to snag a treasure, which was this adorable vintage Catherine Holm Lotus Flower saucepan. Soon to be available at an eBay near you!

Catherine Holm saucepan

Oh, Goodwill, you never fail to provide!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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Five Frugal Things

by Katy on August 19, 2016 · 46 comments

My Twinn

  1. My sister is visiting and wants to learn how to sell on eBay. I took that as an opportunity to list my thrifted Goodwill doll and show her how easy it is to put together an eBay listing.
  2. I mopped my kitchen last night using a garbage picked Swiffer and a pair of those overly puffy socks which stretch perfectly over the mop head. The socks were a gift from my charge nurses and work perfectly with a Swiffer. (The true savings is that I rarely mop my kitchen, but that’s a blog post for another day. 😉 )
  3. I was able to hang three loads of laundry on the clothesline yesterday.
  4. My sister brought food both as gifts, (a loaf of homemade bread) and leftovers from packed plane food. (Trader Joe’s snack-age.) She wants me to add that she also brought tomatoes from her neighbor’s garden plus hard boiled eggs and string cheese!
  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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