Goodwill, Badwill, Questionable-will

by Katy on November 14, 2023 · 38 comments

My husband and I had a few errands to run yesterday, which we interspersed with trips to two different Goodwill thrift stores.

I always scope out the mugs, as they’re easy to sell and certain ones can bring in the Big Bucks.™ I didn’t find any worth buying for resale, but I do want to reiterate that there is an excess of already manufactured mugs in the world. Please consider making a “only used mugs” pledge, as there’s an obscene glut of them at every thrift store I’ve even been to. Cute ones, no sacrifice necessary.

Seriously, it’s beyond ridiculous!

November/December is the time to thrift for your holiday decor. There are always super cute vintage and modern era tchochkes to set the mood for your winter celebrations. Skip the Target “Dollar Spot” and instead head to your thrifts.

Y’all already know that I’m searching for silver “V” and “Y” stocking holders to complete “Oy Vey” for my mantle. I know they’re out there and I’m enjoying the hunt! Sorry, gold P.E.A.C.E., you ain’t it!

Here’s the baddest of “Badwill” for the day. Disney Magic Kingdom Crocs, all bright, branded and plastic-y. I know that certain Crocs can be worth good money; and I also know that “Disneyana” is a hot reselling category, but these were the ugliest damned shoes to ever infect land on planet Earth!

I checked my eBay app for “completed listings” and conformed my suspicions on their worth, but I just couldn’t pull the trigger. They didn’t pass the William Morris test of “Have nothing in your houses that you do know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

No use, no beauty. Might spread their ugliness.

Moving on . . . I was drawn by the sweetness of this carved stone rhinoceros chess piece. It was priced at $4.99, so I left it for someone else. I have enough pretty doo-dads and never enough five dollar bills.

I did buy this PlayForever car. Priced at just $3.99, it stood out from the shelves of cheaply manufactured toys and my suspicions were correct as it sells new for $45 and has a healthy resale value.

eBay confirmed this suspicion.

I did pick up one item to keep, which was a Fiestaware gravy boat. (I somehow didn’t photograph it in the store.) I already have one in their “Lilac” color plus a couple extra random ones, but Thanksgiving is around the corner and there are never enough of these for our extended tables.

$3.99 was the sweet spot on pricing and it’ll slot seamlessly into my Fiestaware heavy tablescape.

Something to sell, something to keep and something to mock. A satisfying day of thrifting.

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

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

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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Lynda November 14, 2023 at 12:53 pm

I teach a Merry Mugs class at local council on aging during holidays. The first year we picked up holiday mugs at thrift stores and participants filled them with live greenery and thrifted ornaments. Instead of buying mugs the next year, we asked how many had a mug. Turns out they all did. Holiday mugs abound! You are right, too many mugs already in the world.


Katy November 14, 2023 at 1:55 pm

I have a few Christmas mugs in the basement that I bring out in December. Our favorites are from a long ago “free box.”


Alexia November 14, 2023 at 1:50 pm

I am surprised that you left those Disney Crocs behind!

While I cannot quibble with your assessment of their aesthetics (my feeling about Crocs in general, btw), that resale value is high enough that I would usually have expected you’d jump on ’em.


Katy November 14, 2023 at 1:54 pm

Logically you are correct.


Selena November 14, 2023 at 8:04 pm

But OMG/Oy Vez, they are truly ugly, butt ugly. And it somewhat depresses me that someone actually paid original retail, much less that bloated price on eBay. The eBay buyer @ either price has no right to complain about inflation.


Val November 14, 2023 at 2:10 pm

The trees in front of the Goodwill are so pretty! Here in MN most of our trees have lost their leaves.
Most of my mugs are thrifted. I downsized my mug collection a while back. Of course they went to a thrift store.


Donna November 14, 2023 at 2:15 pm

Might I add….Teachers ( including myself!) have plenty of mugs and candles as gifts. Please spare a teacher!


Val November 14, 2023 at 5:59 pm

Every time I see a YouTube video of someone making a craft/gift for teachers that involves filling a mug, I think, OH NO! I have a lot of friends who are teachers. The intention of the gift is meant well, but every teacher is probably over-mugged/over-candled.


Selena November 14, 2023 at 8:06 pm

A mug filled with gift cards (or cash) would pass snuff with me.


Christine November 15, 2023 at 3:30 pm

Ditto that for Christmas tree ornaments, especially teacher-themed ones. Told to me by my MIL, a kindergarten teacher.


Bee November 14, 2023 at 2:23 pm

If our society quit producing mugs today, I think that we have enough to last a decade or more. I never buy them new. There are also tons of cups and saucers out there. Heck, there is a lot of everything. It always amazes me when I can enter a large thrift store with thousands of items and not find a single things that I think is worth buying. How can that be!!!


Heidi Louise November 14, 2023 at 3:18 pm

Relatedly, I think each child should be issued one stuffed animal at birth, and can receive a second one at some point in life. That’s all they can have, and all anyone needs.


Bee November 15, 2023 at 7:42 am

I find it amazing that both mugs and stuffed toys can sell for so much money on eBay. I guess rare examples of these things still bring the big bucks!


Ashley Bananas November 15, 2023 at 11:02 am

I’ve often had the same thoughts about things like blankets, or artificial Christmas trees. If generally they are reusable items and people rebuy them every year, where do the previous generations go? And why the high replacement?


Ruby November 14, 2023 at 2:37 pm

I took a box — 50% of the mugs in our cabinet –to Goodwill as part of our decluttering. They sold lickety split as they were large mugs.

Today I took a bag of shirts I had shrunk out of to Goodwill, having gone from a 2X to a medium, and picked up two turtleneck jerseys and a vintage small pie dish and 3-cup Pyrex baking dish. Goodwill has wised up on the value of old small Pyrex.


Iforonwy November 14, 2023 at 2:59 pm

Well I managed to drop my favourite mug onto the kitchen floor this evening and so I will shop my cupboards tomorrow for a replacement.


Iforonwy November 15, 2023 at 9:12 am

Update. Went “shopping” in one of the kitchen cupboards and came up with a bone china, V&A museum mug with a vintage floral fabric design. Destined to be my new favourite.


Anne November 14, 2023 at 3:09 pm

Yes, on everything you said about mugs. But didn’t you leave the word “not” out of the William Morris quote?


Heidi Louise November 14, 2023 at 3:21 pm

“Something to sell, something to keep and something to mock.” I don’t do reselling but appreciate your motto. I will try to come up with something comparable for my yard sale adventures.


A. Marie November 14, 2023 at 3:58 pm

I like “I have enough pretty doo-dads and never enough five-d0llar bills.” Too true.

And I’m convinced that mugs actually mate and multiply in our kitchen cabinets when we’re not looking. I can’t account for the plethora of them I still own otherwise.


Lindsey November 14, 2023 at 4:56 pm

I agree about the mating going on in the cupboard holding mugs.


Cindy in the South November 14, 2023 at 4:25 pm

Love Fiesta!


Mary Ann November 14, 2023 at 5:22 pm

Good beginning to a week.

Hubby and I commenced our renovation of the inherited Century home. It was a beautiful fall day on the river. We compiled a second set of all gardening stuff including a borrowed Ben Davis shirt from hubs. (Pruning a rose garden can be deadly business.) We still have a home to maintain so a second set compiled from the barn seemed smart. I chose the corner by the driveway to begin. I bought a book called 30 min gardener. Although I will have to spend more than 30 mins because I travel the 25 miles to the renov, the ideas are still solid. Keep track of progress. Go slow. Enjoy the process. Revel that everything I do in a day, this is the place for second chances, experiments, silliness and lightness. Pretty good playground for a high school teacher.

In my small corner I set out to learn.. Googled how to prune roses in November in Sacramento – lightly, just to clear the walking paths. Googles how to prune iris – to the ground. Took a photo of what I thought was lavender. I put it into Google photo lens. Turns out it is sage !!! Purple. Who knew. I left it alone since it was obviously in its prime. I pulled up white flagstones that were in a big square and made a new narrow two stone path. I moved largish rocks from circles around roses (What? It is a terraced garden. It does not need random rock circles.” Dug a small well next to the paved terrace retaining wall and lined it with the rocks. Much nicer.

As promised, I will add a couple of first photos. It is built in 1900 and is American foursquare so named because it is a cube. Friends have called us crazy and offered to watch a double feature with us of “Money Pit” and “Amityville Horror.” Haha. They however have missed the point that it is a working farm. Note the before and after in the picture. When I was gardening my little corner. Hubby pulled around the corner with a largish John Deere with a front fork. He whipped out a chain saw, cut down the two-story bushes covering both corners, dragged the branches to the tractor, and dumped them to the far away burn pile. Ta- da. You can see the difference in the two photos. Tree squirrels, backhoes, and a team of subcontractors that he works with on the farm are circling already. I am hoping it will be similar to holding a wedding. Everything is guess and stress because it is once in a lifetime. This is just one of many structural remodels we have had to do for the farm. The people we work with are trusted and faithful.

I need to check out the Chateau remodels, definitely.

One benefit I can already see is that since I am spending more time down on the farm, I am running into farmers. Funny. The one I met has 60 acres of butternut squash and promised to drop ten on my front porch. Yes.


Anne November 15, 2023 at 8:55 am

Loving this project.


Mary Ann November 14, 2023 at 5:24 pm

Oops. Doubled up. Same set twice. The first link is after. The second is before.


Mary Ann November 14, 2023 at 5:29 pm

Drat!! I lost a post. Sheesh.

Oh well, sum up. First pictures of inherited Century home.

Despite friend offering to show us a double feature of Money Pit and Amityville Horror, I am feeling pretty confident.

This is a working farm. Hubby tackled the two-story bushes covering the corners by turning the corner with his John Deere, loading the cut branchs onto the fork, and dropping them at the burn pile. I went much slower, reconfiguring a stone path from a patio right next to super bee bushes. The path gracefully winds up toward a rose arbor now. Saves the bee bushes and saves me buying more flagstone. There is a much better place for a decorative patio.

Hanging out at the farm means I run into farmers. One has sixty acres of butternut squash and promised to drop ten on the patio. Yeah!


Lesley November 15, 2023 at 5:49 am

Love the pix!


Ecoteri November 15, 2023 at 8:47 pm

Oh thank you so much for the pictures. the entry is gorgeous! now we need photos of your current landscaping adventures, too. (yes, yes, I am greedy for images!)


Aimee November 14, 2023 at 7:18 pm

I’ll never get all the hatred for Crocs. I have foot problems and they have been awesome for my feet. I wish I could have had them years ago. Changed my life! And yes, I wear them with socks!


Marie November 14, 2023 at 8:35 pm

Yes, crocs are my house shoes! With socks


Katy November 14, 2023 at 11:14 pm

I do have a blue pair, which I use for taking the garbage out, working in the yard, etc. thrifted.


Judi November 15, 2023 at 4:13 am

Funny, we don’t seem to have that glut of mugs here. Maybe they all get used and eventually broken. My sister did buy me some coffee mugs from a thrift store in a blue and white pattern and it’s one of the things I look for when I’m thrift store shopping which is not often.


Katy November 15, 2023 at 11:02 am

Hmm . . . maybe all the mugs are drawn to Portland, where they’re all donated to my Goodwills.


Ashley Yelhsa895 November 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

I have several (I think 10 to be exact) smaller coffee mugs that go with our daily use, older dish set that I bought through marketplace a few years ago. We don’t drink coffee, tea, etc, so I rarely bring them out and they never have the opportunity to break or disappear. I recently started to work on eating canned chili we have to diminish our stock pile of canned goods. When I did this I would divide the can into the smaller coffee mugs, saran wrap, and put in the fridge between portions. I got two large mugs perfect for cookie dipping from work. My son uses those frequently. I’ve stopped buying things like dishes because it’s just not worth any money to me. I replaced the full set and because it’s stonewear, it’s very durable and *knock on wood* we haven’t had any break.


Marilyn November 15, 2023 at 11:30 am

I bought some coffee mugs at Goodwill more than 30 years ago. I still have them, still use them for my morning coffee and still love them.


Katy November 15, 2023 at 12:40 pm

As archeologists can confirm, fired ceramics can conceivably last forever!


Christine November 15, 2023 at 3:41 pm

We have too many mugs here too. Recently, two found their way out of here. The first one DH used to catch a mouse the cat had dragged in. The mouse survived and was set free outside. The mug did not. I couldn’t bear the thought of drinking coffee from a mug that once contained a mouse so into the trash it went. I’m also too squeamish about rodents to donate it in good conscience for someone else to use. The second mug was used to pot a Spider Plant baby which I gave to a coworker. A happier outcome.


Katy November 15, 2023 at 3:42 pm

I totally understand. 100%!


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