Goodwill, Badwill, Questionable-will

by Katy on February 15, 2016 · 52 comments

My 17-year-old son had a hankering for some Goodwill over the weekend, and since I was still packing a leftover gift card from Christmas, I didn’t have to be asked twice.

Things looked pretty normal. Lots of coffee carafes.

Coffe carafes

Lots of Greg Oden bobble-heads.

Miles of Greg Oden

It still bothers my son that the Portland Trail Blazers had a first round draft pick, which they used on a guy with career-ending knee problems. “They could have picked Kevin Durant, mom!” Poor guy. I imagine being 75-feet tall is hard on the knees.

Greg Oden

I came across this Antioch University travel mug, which would have my first round pick had I spied it a few weeks ago when I was on the hunt for a replacement mug. My husband and I both attended Antioch College, so this is pretty random.

Antioch mug

I drooled over this vintage Fisher-Price Play Family House. Such a perfectly designed dollhouse, which everyone my age will recognize.

Fisher Price house

The interiors made me swoon with happy memories.

Dollhouse interiors

It even had the same kitchen floor as the one in our real house! Happy sigh . . .

photo 7

Of course, there was the obligatory WTF Goodwill item. A glass Coca-Cola bottle. You know, like you can buy at the store, but filled with actual cola! (Yes mom, I see the painted Mrs. Buttersworth in the background.)

Coca Cola bottle

How much? Yup. A dollar.

Coca cola

Such a bargain!

New coca cola

I did buy a grubby old cast iron skillet, as it was a nice old specimen with a lovely smooth surface. Yes, it was rusted and crusted, but I like a challenge.

Five bucks is a pretty good price for a pan that will outlive me and then all my descendants.

I already have two cast iron skillets, so I’m going to try my hand at resale after I remove the gunk and season it back to perfection.

Oh, Goodwill. You never cease to provide!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

Dyan February 15, 2016 at 11:44 am

You may have made a mistake…those vintage Fisher Price pieces go for quite a lot.


Katy February 15, 2016 at 11:57 am

The exterior paper was not in the best shape.


Lilypad February 15, 2016 at 3:47 pm

We had that Fisher-Price house too, and the same flooring in the kitchen of our 1969 house! I always thought that was so cool. I think ours is in my sister’s attic, I’ll have to check on it because I would love to see it again. We played with that one (and the Schoolhouse with bell that actually rings) for so many years. Thanks for the happy memory!


Tammy February 15, 2016 at 11:55 am

The thing that Goodwill consistently overprices is canning jars! They put them at $.99. A dozen new canning jars with lids and rings costs about $8.


Sharon February 15, 2016 at 4:19 pm

Tammy, canning jars are .25 ea @ my Seattle Goodwill!


Mariana February 15, 2016 at 8:07 pm

Yep. $1 each at any of the NYC Goodwill :/
Same as brand new at a Dollar Store


Karen@simplystashless February 15, 2016 at 9:43 pm

My local GW sells them for 49 cents usually, but I saw another thrift store marked theirs at $2! Crazy.


Dale Emanuel February 15, 2016 at 11:58 am

Oh, Katy — thanks for the fun read and we love that you and your son comb our aisles.


Michelle February 15, 2016 at 12:00 pm

We hit up Goodwill and 2 consignment stores this weekend. Daughter needed jeans since the dog chewed up 3 (yes 3) pairs of hers this weekend that she left on her bedroom floor. Ugghhh!!!! But we did really good and found some great things for her and her brother that they both needed. One of the consignment stores is getting ready to switch over inventory so everything that was left in the store was 50 cents an item. Needless to say, I bought a few items in there. Some for the kids, some for me, and some designer items for resell. Was a great day of fun with the kiddos!!!!


Jennifer February 15, 2016 at 12:08 pm

I would die if the dog chewed up 3 pairs of my jeans! I only have 2 pairs and he would have to chew one of them off my body so I quite literally could die, lol.


WilliamB February 15, 2016 at 12:10 pm

That’s funny!


Tara February 15, 2016 at 12:26 pm

That really made me laugh xx


Sue February 15, 2016 at 6:45 pm

Me too..need a laugh. I once said, you have not really lived with a dog until he runs out with your underwear in his mouth, to guests in the living room? OR a date.. whether at 16 or divorced and dating again at 56!

That is sure way to encourage pick up your clothes off the floor or bed.. or in my case, not seen behind the bathroom door after a shower!


WilliamB February 15, 2016 at 12:12 pm

Have you tried Cooks Illustrated newish method for seasoning cast iron? It involves using linseed oil. I tried it and was reasonably impressed. The finish, when just complete, wasn’t as good as my uber-well-seasoned 30 year old skilled or a brand-new teflon pan. Nonetheless, the method provides a very good start on a lovely finish.


Sue February 15, 2016 at 6:41 pm

Wash it, heat it to dry.. Crisco it.. you can use Aldis brand.. and bake the heck out of it, 2 hours or so. Repeat the Crisco if needed and oven time. It will take care of rust.
I have quite a few cast iron, some from my family, some from W Sonoma like cute muffins in the shape of fall things, gingerbread men etc. Corn sticks, and animal crackers. This is over 40 years of buying, some thrift and house guests brought as gifts, I had nice house guests! .I bought on ebay a cast iron waffle set.. and that will take some wire brushing and cleaning. Silly, I am alone now but nothing like waffles in a cast iron. Be careful, cast iron can be pitted with wire brushing.. or caustic chemicals. The old time way, built an outdoor wood fire and bury in that . There are whole webpages devoted to cast iron, care and seasoning or collecting. My time is coming to sell some! But first I need to work on the waffle iron!


A. Marie February 15, 2016 at 12:13 pm

Nice score on the cast iron pan. Looks good and old and made in USA. Any brand name?

Am just about to go shove some of mine in the oven to preheat for good old Southern style no-sugar cornbread. (I’m an expatriate Southerner and have very strong feelings about sugar in cornbread.)

Treated myself to a Presidents’ Day crawl through a couple of my own usual haunts. Scored a brand-new pair of Carhartt carpenter pants and a fleece vest with a “Gorilla Glue” logo for DH. He was ecstatic.


MW February 15, 2016 at 12:28 pm

Great find on the Carhartts! My husband covets a Carhartts-type jacket, but no luck thus far in his size.


Jen@FrugalSteppingStones February 15, 2016 at 12:44 pm

I have never been able to like sugared corn bread myself.


Stacy February 15, 2016 at 2:26 pm

That’s funny, because I’m from the south and I prefer cornbread with sugar. To each their own, huh?


Lucy February 15, 2016 at 2:50 pm

As a Bama gal living in Minnesnowta, I hear you on the cornbread!


Jennifer February 15, 2016 at 6:26 pm

Originally a bama girl here then moved to Mississippi so still southern and enjoy a little sugar in the cornbread but not too much.


JD February 16, 2016 at 7:44 am

My late mother-in-law wouldn’t hardly bake cornbread, she called that Yankee cake, and where she got that idea that only “Yankees” baked cornbread, I’ll never know! She made corn pone in a skillet on the stovetop — corn meal, boiling water and a little salt, fried in a little lard, and that’s what my husband grew up on. They were Florida Panhandle natives. I grew up on corn bread, both sweetened and unsweetened, my dad preferring unsweetened. So now I alternate — sometimes I bake it,sweet or unsweet, sometimes I make pone on the stovetop.


MW February 15, 2016 at 12:26 pm

My 5 year old son grew out of all of his shirts at once. We went to Salvation Army and he snagged all super hero shirts in his size. I nixed the Incredible Hulk one because it was pretty well worn, was $2.99, and was ugly. I went back to Salvation Army a week later to troll through their $0.69 rack, and there it was! At $0.69, it was a lovely shirt and my son is pleased.


Diane C February 15, 2016 at 4:30 pm

This made me laugh! For 69 cents, you can overlook the ugly. Hee!


TrayceeBee February 15, 2016 at 12:29 pm

Thank you for bringing back some wonderful memories! I totally remember that Fisher Price dollhouse! Out of curiosity, how much were they asking for that?
I think it’s great that your son will go Goodwill hunting with you! =)


Ruby February 15, 2016 at 12:51 pm

Awesome score on the skillet!

I had a bag of stuff to drop off at the Salvation Army Saturday and discovered that now is the time to be shopping for clothes in Southern thrift stores. Our winter is almost over, so they’re trying to clearance out winter things and the summer/spring stuff hasn’t been marked up yet.


Deb February 15, 2016 at 1:23 pm

Is it sad that I can still hear the door bell sound in my head from when you flick the plastic switch on the house? 😉 Ahhhh…good times.


Lesley February 15, 2016 at 2:45 pm



Bee February 15, 2016 at 2:10 pm

Nothing is better to cook in than a cast iron skillet. I have my mother’s and one I purchased at auction many years ago also for $5.00. And yes, it is perfect for cornbread without sugar. Unfortunately, the Goodwill stores in my area have gone downhill. I still stop on occasion, but I haven’t bought anything in a longtime. However, there are three wonderful church thrift stores who do much for our community.


Elizabeth February 15, 2016 at 4:22 pm

Same thing with our Goodwill and the items are also overpriced. A couple towns over, the Goodwill prices are much better. I don’t understand the marked difference in pricing.

I agree about the cast iron, as well. I have three small ones given to me by my mother-in-law when my husband and I were engaged (for my hope chest). I have two of my mother’s cast iron pans and wouldn’t trade any one of them for anything. They do make great (sugar-free) cornbread and delicious pot pies, too!


Jaci L February 15, 2016 at 2:26 pm

I went to GoodWill in October with my son (the nearest one is over 200 miles away, we were visiting family) we scored a bunch of clothes for him and his sister and for Mama? An EVENING GOWN AND SHOES for $14 total…. I am competing in a pageant with my daughter because she dared me to, and I said I would only if I could find a dress for super cheap…. well my fashion inclined son found me a gorgeous dress and matching shoes and I tried them on and they fit perfect. Best part was coming out of the fitting rooms and my 11yr old son walking up to me and saying “mom you are so beautiful, I know you will win, because no one else is as pretty as my mom!” Awwwwwwwww


K D February 15, 2016 at 3:51 pm

Thanks you for the vicarious thrift store trip. It is much more entertaining when you share your experience than when I actually go in a thrift store. We are focused on not accumulating more stuff.


Auntie Karen February 15, 2016 at 3:58 pm

Not for the first time am I envious of your Portland area Goodwill Stores. It has been 3 or 4 years since my 10 inch cast iron skillet simply vanished from my kitchen. Gone without a clue! Have watched the resale shop shelves diligently since then, but it would seem folks in the midwest would get rid of about anything else (including Le Creuset cookware in a rainbow of colors) before letting go of their cast iron skillets. Theirs probably came from a pioneering great grandma like mine did. I will not abandon my search, however. Diligence. Will. Prevail!


Elizabeth February 15, 2016 at 4:29 pm

Karen. My heart goes out to you about your cast iron pan! That’s a tough loss! I don’t know if you may have had your pan stored in the stove drawer beneath the oven, but I had a pizza pan disappear once and turns out that it went behind and beneath that drawer somehow. It drove me crazy until we figured out where it got to. Thought you might have the same situation, possibly?


Auntie Karen February 15, 2016 at 4:42 pm

Are you kidding–I clean under my stove and refrigerator every week. Well, if truth be told, I cleaned when we had to replace the old appliances several years ago. I vowed then never to look under those places again! Seriously, what a wise suggestion. I don’t hold much hope, but my husband and I will check there tonight. Thanks!


Elizabeth February 15, 2016 at 5:09 pm

ROFL I am with ya on the cleaning routine! haha I hope to hear you find it there. 🙂


Auntie Karen February 16, 2016 at 12:09 pm

Unfortunately, Elizabeth, I found a great deal under my stove drawer, but not my beloved iron skillet. I did recover a hot pad that was a gift from a student many years ago and I am glad to have it back. Guess I will still need to haunt GWs and yard sales to satisfy my desire for a replacement cast iron skillet.

Jennifer February 15, 2016 at 6:33 pm

Same thing happened to me with my muffin pan! I thought I was losing my mind. The only reason I found it was because something spilled under my stove and I had to pull the drawer completely out. I’m so ashamed how dirty it was under there.


Elizabeth February 15, 2016 at 6:41 pm

Lol Jennifer 🙂 I can totally empathize 🙂


LisaC February 16, 2016 at 3:44 pm

I regularly sweep under my fridge with a stick, but it usually comes up with cat toys.


Auntie Karen February 16, 2016 at 5:37 pm

Let me know if your cat likes to play with cast iron skillets 🙂

Rebecca February 15, 2016 at 4:45 pm

Wow the Fisher Price doll house takes me back to the exact one I used to play with in my grandmothers attic. Wow great memories. Thanks for showing the interior . Really missed playing with it once things got divided with my grandmothers kids. Have no idea where it went or what happened to it. Thanks for the fond memories.


Melissa Lin February 15, 2016 at 5:46 pm

I love how your son had a hankering for Goodwill. When you demonstrate your values in front of your children, it becomes second nature to them. I have never met your son, but I would expect him to be a responsible, upstanding kid who is careful with his money. Just like mom.


A. Marie February 16, 2016 at 2:30 am

In rereading Katy’s post, I too was struck by the fact that her son not only tolerates going thrifting, but actually asks to go. The thoughtfully raised apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, it seems.


Kathleen February 15, 2016 at 7:15 pm

My parents kept our Fisher Price dollhouse. All 4 of the grandkids played with it. There were even a couple of pieces of furniture that survived.


Karen@simplystashless February 15, 2016 at 9:50 pm

I picked up a fleece too to make into a dog coat and a glass bottle with attached stopper today at a thrift store for $0.81 (including tax) today! Then stopped at another near my house and got a nice frame (I’ll swap out the print) for $0.49! Killer thrift day!
Beyond the fact that GW priced that bottle, who the heck donated it?!


JD February 16, 2016 at 7:35 am

I was hunting my Goodwill for Corelle cereal sized bowls to replace my breakable bowls that my husband broke. He breaks a lot of things, all by accident (He is truly clumsy, poor guy, which he was told was because he is dyslexic and has cross dominance in hands and feet. Who knows if that is true…) so all my breakable dishes are being replaced with unbreakable. I hunted and hunted for months before I finally spotted a stack of four. I turned them over and the sticker said $6.99, which wasn’t bad for four, until I realized that was EACH. They are $3 + change, brand new at Walmart. A few weeks later, they had the slightly larger soup type bowls so I checked them out — $14.99 each! My local Goodwill has gone crazy. I still check it out, though, because once in a great while, I find something good.
Good job on the skillet Katy! I got a 12″ chicken frying cast iron skillet at a yard sale for a dollar. It was rusty, so I cleaned it up and seasoned the heck out of it. It’s great. I can fry an entire cut up chicken in it. (Another southerner here). I use my 10″ skillet for cornbread as well as other things, and my cast iron ribbed grill pan for cooking burgers and steaks indoors. Alton Brown said to throw a handful of coarse salt in between the ribs before cooking, and he’s right, it does make cleanup easier.
I wonder if someone was drinking the Coke and just left the bottle in Goodwill so they priced it? That’s a weird thing to donate. Not as weird as the chunk of log Katy found once, though.


Vickie February 16, 2016 at 7:36 am

I love my cast iron skillets!!
I have two large ones and a small one. I love them and you are right, they will outlast everyone.

It’s weird the things that get overpriced at Goodwill sometimes. I could see paying a $1 for a vintage Coke bottle, but not a new one.
I have a problem staying away from the books. Yes, I’m a book hoarder! Although, I plan to go through them and let my daughter sell a few boxes during her Spring yard sale.

We needed a larger size of rain boots for my oldest granddaughter and I found a pair of really cute ones a few weeks back at our GW for $2.99. I have a discount card though and I think it cuts 10 % off. I love our GW!


Katie February 16, 2016 at 5:45 pm

I had that doll house and my parents kept it still with all the furniture! It is a favorite with my kids!!! Love it.


Dorf February 18, 2016 at 10:44 am

How lovely to see the FP dollhouse again, and thanks for the inner photos, too. My parents kept all our FP toys– but up in the attic, and all the paper peeled off. It was heartbreaking! We had EVERY thinf, too, school, garage, bus, castle, even Sesame Street characters. Oh, I think I will google FP right now just to look at it all again. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.


Katy February 18, 2016 at 12:30 pm

I always wanted the Sesame Street one!


Elizabeth February 16, 2016 at 2:14 pm

Well for goodness sake! I thought for sure you would find it there. Strange how inanimate objects sometimes grow legs and walk away. Nice finding the put holder though! 🙂


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