Goodwill, Badwill, Questionablewill II

by Katy on September 28, 2012 · 29 comments

As is often the case, I found myself at the main Goodwill the other day. I had a load of stuff to donate, (my husband’s old work uniforms plus a pile of shoes) so I decided to treat myself to a little look-see through the store. (It may seem like thrifting is a daily habit for me, I actually only go every couple of weeks, and I walk out empty handed more often than not.)

I headed first to the furniture department, where these two vintage podiums stopped me in my tracks. They were labeled “Loyalty” and “Service,” and begged and pleaded to come home with me. At forty bucks a pop, their allure came at a price, so it would not have been a pain-free purchase. I started to imagine myself accepting public speaking gigs, where I’m “that crazy lady who brought her own podium,” which is kind of funny. I could totally see how cool the “Loyalty” podium would look in a corner of my living room, but in the end I held off.

But only because A) my husband would kill me, and B) I would want to place a big vase on flowers on it, but the sloped surface would be a one-way ticket to broken-vase land.

 Don’t you love the vintage lettering?  

I then meandered over to the mug section, which as always, was filled to capacity. (Seriously, does anyone ever have too few mugs? Those things mate like Tribbles!)

My eye was drawn this this Leanin’ Tree mug which featured the quote, “In a few more years I’m outta this place.” I have a soft spot in my heart for Leanin’ Tree items, as my husband gave me one of their cards which said “A friend like you is harder to find than a good horse” waaay back in 1987 when we were first dating.

Needless to say, I did not buy it.

I also didn’t buy this decorated Mrs. Butterworth bottle. Remember when I wrote that every thrift store has one of these? I was not kidding.

One shelf that I always visit is the mismatched baubles area. Why? Certainly not because I’m looking for Mardi-Gras necklaces and barrettes, but because this is where marbles get sold. And I once bought a large jar of antique marbles here for $2.99, which I then sold on eBay for hundreds and hundreds of dollars.

The only vaguely antique marbles this day were pretty, but not worth a huge amount, so I left them on the shelf.

I am starting to enjoy the category of ironic piggy banks. (Okay, they’re not actually pigs, but what else should I call them?) You know like “Vacation fund” and “Fishing money.” Alas, I only found two. But they’re still kind of funny.

This piggy bank has the potential to help my family amass a fortune, but mostly just from me. 😉

So what did I buy? This lovely little bag of wool skeins. The brand is mostly Appleton Bros., which is a British company, and they normally sell for $1.75 apiece. And since there are 18 skeins of wool here, the $2 price tag was a mighty fine deal. No two colors are alike, but that’s okay, as I’ll use the wool for sock darning, and it’s kind of cute when the patches are in contrasting colors.

My purchase may not be especially brag-worthy, but it’s almost sock season here in Portland, Oregon and my to-darn pile is somehow bigger than my socks-I-can-wear pile.

Now, I wonder if that Loyalty podium has sold yet . . .

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Jen September 28, 2012 at 9:23 am

I would love a sock-darning post. Remember my grandma doing it but I don’t know how. Have been saving my worn out Smart Wools do refashion them into fingerless mitts, but haven’t tackled that yet, either!


Katy September 28, 2012 at 9:25 am

Sounds good, I’ll put one together.



AnnDenee September 28, 2012 at 9:28 am

I would love to see you on video darning a sock!!

(because truth be told I’ve tried it and can’t, yet, do it.)


Erin September 28, 2012 at 9:58 am

Goodwill always seems to be MOSTLY mismatched mugs and dishes 🙂

I bought a set of three lovely yellow-green ceramic planters the other day in pristine condition. It was $18 for the set, but they’re pretty expensive new, and many planters at thrift stores are cracked, so I felt like it was a good deal.

Then one of them cracked on the car ride home 🙁 It’s not broken into multiple pieces, and I can fill in the crack, but I was still sooo bummed out! My great deal turned into an okay deal, just like that!


Pollyanna September 28, 2012 at 10:30 am

A suggestion on something that is cracked and perhaps you still want to use it for planter or maybe even vase — melt wax and pour it/tip it around to cover the crack (on the inside) — provides you a decent seal for some ideas to give life to the poor cracked object.

My Goodwill has gobs of mugs as well — I feel sorry for the teachers who undoubtedly receive dozens as gifts and then supply GW with their excess.


Mitzi Smith September 28, 2012 at 10:37 am

Oh my gosh I can’t begin to tell you how much I look forward to reading your blog. I have always loved thrifting – since the 80’s when I had to wear vintage and killed the ozone with my Aqua Net.

About 2 years ago we made a major shift in our lives. I hated my job. The people were mean, nasty and devoid of any happiness. I made alot of $. I quit and began working for a nonprofit. I also started to try to lose weight. I decided that I would NOT buy any new clothes until I was the size I wanted to be. So, I hit to the thrift stores again.

Now I am obsessed. I have bought 4 different full wardrobes for my husband and myself on our weight loss journey. He is 6’4″ so those 34″ inseam pants are hard to score – but I do. I outfit my entire family from a variety of thrift shops. I am a label snob and we wear only the finest of things. My annual cost to outfit 4 of us is under $400 – and that is figuring in all the different sizes we have had to buy.

Thank you for your sense of humor and willingness to share insight into your life. It helps me feel like I haven’t gone off the deep end.

OK, gotta go to Goodwill. It is Facebook Friday where I can get 20% off a purchase.


KrisND September 28, 2012 at 11:52 am

I love leanin’ tree. All of my Christmas cards are leanin’ tree. It is a splurge that I happily make. I love to send cards to people. Nothing like getting a real card in the mail.

I have to tell you, as someone who lives in very rural North Dakota(which means REALLY rural since we have less than a million people in the entire state 😉 ) amongst frugal Norwegians, Germans and Russians who never get rid of anything, your Goodwill is AWESOME!!! I turn green with envy every-time I see a post on the Goodwill….sigh.


Lucy September 29, 2012 at 5:21 am

Ditto on the thrifting from outstate Minnesota!


Rosa September 29, 2012 at 5:29 pm

You & Lucy should roadtrip down to the Twin Cities, we have the best thrift stores. The Goodwill isn’t that great but the for-profits are good and the ARC & smaller nonprofit stores are great.


Lynda April 28, 2024 at 5:11 pm

@KrisND, I am happily planning a trip to ND in July. It is the last state on my quest to visit all 50 states. What is one place I really need to visit while there?


missy September 28, 2012 at 11:57 am

I remember my mom darning socks when I was little. I recently asked her to help me with a pair, and then I realized that my mom was TERRIBLE at darning socks. I need to see a tutorial too!!

Also, antique marbles? I had no idea there was a market for such a thing. Who knew my hand-me-down marble collection could have netted me a profit?


Katy September 28, 2012 at 3:00 pm

I’m sure there are lots of tutorials on the internet for sock darning.



Susan Marsh September 28, 2012 at 12:27 pm

What a fantastic find!!! I’m very jealous!


AnnW September 28, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Oohhh! I would have bought those podiums in a heartbeat! I would have figured out how to make them level. Can’t you see a console table in your hall or somewhere with those things as the two bases? Cut them shorter for nightstands? The yarn you bought is crewel yarn. Very fine, expensive crewel yarn, and not the kind you get in kits. Check it out on ebay. It may be too good to darn with. We never seem to get holes in our socks anymore. Maybe we have too many pairs. I Do have over 10 sock eggs. They are very collectable, so look for them at Goodwill also. I love to see what other people’s thrift stores look like. Ann


Katy September 28, 2012 at 2:52 pm

The yarn will just have to be content with slumming it for sock darning. Our hardwood floors have nails that pop up, so we get a lot of holes in our socks.



Ellie October 1, 2012 at 11:04 am

Really? Those old darning eggs are collectable?! Who knew?!

I’m glad I was too sentimental to get rid of Grandma’s sock eggs! I stashed them with the thought that someday I would find a use for them…other than darning with them, I mean, since I can only use one at a time for darning, and she had about six of them!


Alison September 28, 2012 at 4:07 pm

I’m ashamed to say that I always throw away socks with holes. Darning them just seemed ridiculous……until now. I feel inspired, and will look up darning on the Internet. My spouse will think I’m nuts, but that’s normal three days!


Jennifer September 28, 2012 at 4:31 pm

I love the podiums!!!!!!!

I have never had much luck at Goodwills. However, I stopped in today to see if I could find some odds and ends to help with a play kitchen set I am building my son from an old TV stand.

I lucked out! I didn’t find anything specifically for the stove/oven/sink, however, I found a tiny three-legged table that will make a PERFECT kitchen table to go along with his play kitchen! It was $3.99, and can easily be painted the same color (dragonfly blue) as the kitchen. I’m so thrilled!! You just never know what you might find.


Nancy September 28, 2012 at 5:55 pm

I’m looking forward to a sock darning post too. I just took it up last year in an effort to save some smart wool socks and my “to darn” socks number way more than the not worn out ones. I just takes so DARN long to darn them, that I keep putting it off.


sofy September 29, 2012 at 12:01 am

that looks like a huge store! Awesomeness
you just made me wanna go down to my local thrifts store. yeah, I’ll be off!


Lucy September 29, 2012 at 5:25 am

I had a go at sock darning and after much effort discovered my husband, who is addicted to expensive wool socks, refuses to wear a darned sock. Maybe if I was better at it?


Paige September 29, 2012 at 7:26 am

I’d REALLY LOVE to learn how to darn socks!!! PLEASE do a YouTube tutorial!!!


Coral Clarke April 28, 2024 at 3:58 pm

Always hated sewing, but I was Daddy’s Girl! He worked standing all day, only comfortable in expensive wool socks, ( and we often had a lot of week left at the end of the money!) so I learnt to darn! At 15 I had a one hour , twice a day, train commute, so that became darning time!He also had a beard that refused to be discouraged, very hard on shirt collars, so I learned how to turn a collar as well!


patti September 29, 2012 at 1:48 pm

I loved seeing your Goodwill and what’s available. I have never seen a Mrs. Butterworth jar painted. It must be a west coast thing. My son is home from college and was just bragging to me about his recent Goodwill visit. He scored some great name-brand sweaters for winter (he goes to school in a much cooler climate than here). He also is collecting “vinyl” which is what we used to call “records”. LOL


terilyn September 29, 2012 at 3:44 pm

I must be really cheap, or I’m not close to a nice goodwill. I rarely find anything at a goodwill anymore. I use to go to the quarter Monday sales, but they stopped doing those. I stopped at Goodwill today, and walked out with nothing. I was shocked at the prices. They just seem so high for used stuff.Maybe I am just really a tightwad or something.


greenstrivings September 30, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Our Goodwill can be expensive, so I definitely hear you there, but we’re lucky enough to live near a couple of other, very cheap thrift stores. American Way Thrift is wonderful and has, at least in my area, half-0ff days on holidays like July 4, Labor Day, etc.


SixBalloons September 29, 2012 at 4:08 pm

The lettering is amazing… Do you think it came from a school in your area?


Michelle October 11, 2012 at 3:15 pm

I’ve never seen a decorated Mrs. Butterworth in all my years of thrift store shopping — what else am I missing out on?

Should check out the mugs next time, since with three rambunctious little boys and a very clutzy mom (that would be me!), we don’t have enough of them.


Coral Clarke April 28, 2024 at 3:48 pm

Here in Australia, these are more commonly referred to ( or maybe just in church circles?) as lecterns. My father was a skilled wood worker, and made a beautiful new one for his church when the old one needed to be replaced. I heard one elderly lady insist that another MUST see Mr Clarke’s lovely rectum! My father never lived it down!


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