Goodwill, Badwill, Questionable-will — Nothing But Questionable Edition!

by Katy on February 6, 2021 · 34 comments

I love shining a light on all the amazing valuable treasures from Portland area Goodwill shops. But if it’s the weird stuff that gets your juices running, you know . . .  the “questionable” stuff? Today’s your lucky day, as I’m choosing to aim that light towards the weird, the wonderful, the bizarre. The questionable.

Can I interest you in some Clamdy Canes? Sure, this food item was sitting on a thrift store shelf, but they were technically in their original shrink wrap.

Maybe you’re drawn to caricature pottery pieces? The one on the left is giving me major “Cliff Clavin” vibes.

You see it too, right?

Perhaps you’re wanting to bring a little bit of that Playboy Mansion razzle dazzle to your dinner table?

Because you’re “Keepin’ It Saxy!”

Sometimes the “questionable” is completely literal. For example, this vintage wooden object. What is it? Seriously. I don’t know, and it’s driving me crazy.

Do you know what this is?










I question the choice of any shoe designer that decides that a black animal print against an cowhide orange background is a defensible decision.

Then again, they could have been part of a secret government psychological test, as there’s a certain “Rorschach” quality to the pattern.

This whiskey barrel cupboard caught my eye.

It was . . . a drinks bar!

I seriously regret not buying this for resale. It was priced at just $9.99, and turns out that these mid century whiskey barrel bars are worth a whole heck of a lot more than ten bucks!

C’mon, Katy. Recognize treasure when you see it. Even when it’s questionable.

Am I the only person who shops at Goodwill hoping for both treasures and weird stuff? Please tell me I’m not alone.

Learn more about Goodwill Industries of the Columbia Willamette and the important services that they provide for our community:


Katy Wolk-Stanley    

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

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This has been a sponsored blog post.

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Madeline February 6, 2021 at 8:04 pm

The item you are not sure about? It is a PIPE holder.My Dad used to smoke a pipe and had one of those round pipe holders in his den.The bowl of the pipe sticks up. I know,weird!!


Katy February 6, 2021 at 8:35 pm

But how does it stand up?!


Momma L February 7, 2021 at 6:10 am

I’m pretty sure it has to be near full and it balances. My brother had a pipe holder. I gave it to a pipe lover when he passed.


Momma L February 7, 2021 at 8:09 am

Maybe its upside down…?


Melissa February 7, 2021 at 8:00 am
Jenny February 6, 2021 at 8:52 pm

Thank you, Madeline! Now I can go to sleep!
Katy, I really enjoy seeing all of your finds and deals and sales.


Bethany M February 6, 2021 at 10:42 pm

I’d love to be a resaler. I usually just know what I want. I’m a really bad judge of what someone else would want. I’m trying to learn though because I’m really intrigued by this side hussle the of yours!


Nicola February 7, 2021 at 1:38 pm

If you like something, you can be pretty sure that you are not the only person in the world that does. That’s not a bad place to start.


Jen February 6, 2021 at 11:07 pm

Yes, Katy! Love the hunt for re-salable and weird finds at Goodwill. I am in Central CA and I must say that the Goodwills in Portland do seem far superior. Prices are high here (the CEO of Santa Cruz Goodwill makes something like $600K a year, ugh). I do love the bins but haven’t been since March, and it is 35 minutes drive away but a good outing in Normal Times. Thrift shopping is my meditation, the thrill of the hunt clears my head. I bring my phone and check SOLD eBay listings to see if there is any profit. It is time to leave when my battery gets low. I have learned a few things from you and recently parted out a Monopoly game with good profit. Thanks, love the blog for quite a few years now!


Jann in Maine February 7, 2021 at 2:26 am

I sell full time on ebay–and the odder the better is usually my mantra! Your pickings in OR TEND to be very different from ours here…and it’s interesting to wonder how things have actually made their way here. Sort of the human geography spin! And then again is seeing what people actually buy and collect. Endless fascination for me. Thanks for your posts…and you have access to GREAT stuff. Very jealous!


K D February 7, 2021 at 5:35 am

I dabbled in reselling stuff years ago. I did okay, I’m not sure why I stopped.

We love to visit thrift stores occasionally, it’s a cheap date. We have not been since we starting staying home because of Covid-19 but can’t wait to get back out there.


Momma L February 7, 2021 at 6:12 am

I love the weird stuff at GW! Sometimes I find pretty unique gifts.


Jill A February 7, 2021 at 9:25 am

I love the barrel bar. I’m going to keep my eyes open for that. I love finding weird things that sell. It’s a fun hobby that makes a little money.


Val Y February 7, 2021 at 9:41 am

I’ve recently “learned” to eat clam chowder (at the age of 61) and I like it just ok. But I can’t imagine clam flavor candy canes. I wonder if anyone bought them?


Bettypants February 7, 2021 at 10:57 am

A box of Clamdy Canes sold on ebay for $30 (with free shipping) on 1-2-21.

Love your weirdo post!


Christine February 7, 2021 at 11:06 am

When I read Cliff Clavin vibes I thought maybe you had picked up some USPS memorabilia. My husband and I are both retired carriers and love postal stuff. And yes, I can definitely see the Cliff Clavin resemblance. A little creepy but better than a Newman resemblance. What crazy characters in those old shows!


Shona February 7, 2021 at 11:29 am

The other day I saw a similar type barrel wine holder at Tuesday Morning for $80 and pointed it out to my husband while laughing.


Beth Ann February 7, 2021 at 1:47 pm

Dear Katy,
These are my favorite posts! The stuff you find is so, well, different! I just enjoy the photos and then the witty commentary that you add.
About four years ago, moved from a large urban area to a smallish town in a tourist mecca. I realized a few things: I had so much stuff I had thrifted over the years that I really had a lot of downsizing to do. There was one SA that was so prolific and full of quality clothing I had essentially stopped shopping at regular stores. Moving meant downsizing and getting rid of tons of furniture, household goods, and clothing. Now that I am in a place that does not have high quality thrift choices, I miss my old stomping grounds. But, I’m not acquiring as much stuff, either. Haven’t thrifted since COVID hit, but will be hitting the shops when it’s “over.”


Carol Doane February 7, 2021 at 5:01 pm

I bought this chair on Saturday at Goodwill for 19.99 (+ tax). I was thinking, no way would someone pay a hundred for it, but someone did AND donated it!


Jan February 8, 2021 at 4:05 am

I have to say, the “clamdy canes” made me a little queasy, as did the “Keepin’ it Saxy” game – but these are my favorite posts, too! Looking in the background of your whiskey-barrel shots, it seems you have a LOT nicer Goodwill stores than we do in Pittsburgh. I’m jealous! 🙂


Katy February 8, 2021 at 11:14 am

We are lucky here! However, I consider myself partly from Pittsburgh, as my father grew up in Squirrel Hill. I visited countless times as a kid. Many generations back, and still have tons of family there. That city has a special space in my heart. ❤️❤️


MB in MN February 8, 2021 at 7:59 am

Those are some funky finds. These remind me of when I hosted garage sales with neighbors and family. With few exceptions, the weird stuff would sell first. Stuff that we almost put in the free pile at the outset, almost embarrassed to put a price on. Behavior at a garage sale could be its own psychology course!


Sarah February 8, 2021 at 9:23 am

See, I love those stoneware funny face pieces, but my taste is questionable. One man’s trash and all that. Looks like they can go for $20-30 on e-bay.


Bee February 9, 2021 at 4:01 am

You aren’t strange at all. Face Jugs aka Grotesque Jugs are highly collectible. Some bring thousands of dollars especially those made by Southern potters. Although these appear to be in the affordable range, take a look at these jugs that were sold by an auction house in recent years.


Katy February 9, 2021 at 10:10 am

Yes, I’ve seen ones like this on Antiques Roadshow.


Kristen February 8, 2021 at 6:37 pm

Is there any chance the whiskey barrel might still be there??


Katy February 8, 2021 at 10:08 pm

Sadly, no. The merchandise at our Goodwill stores turns over lightning fast.


t February 8, 2021 at 9:04 pm

As a little kid my mom drug her 3 kids to friendly Jim’s bargain barns where she would scour the huge dark dusty buildings for furniture stacked ceiling high. She loved oak. And she would refinish, upholstery, paint, or varnish anything into a treasure that became part of our daily lives. I always liked thrift stores to find small curios or vintage clothing. Over the years I’ve found some amazing things, a velvet opera jacket from the 20s, a rare antique bone china teacup and saucer, flawless. At some point I realized I don’t want to own this stuff or resell. It was fun finding the prize but I always felt obligated to reconnect it with someone who really wanted to own it.
I don’t enjoy that part. I never liked looking at the weird, scary, or ugly stuff. Ew. I like a small spartan life and surroundings almost monastic. It’s comforting. If I want chaos I just step out the front door.


Jacqueline O'Brien February 9, 2021 at 8:41 am

Another thought on the mystery wooden holder. Maybe it is a holder for rubber stamps? My mother had something similar for her business in the 1970s for stamps that said things like PAID or had a date on them. They keep the inky surfaces off the desk.


Florencia February 11, 2021 at 11:06 pm

That’s what I thought! I know I’ve seen similar stands to hold stamps.


anna chan February 10, 2021 at 6:44 am

The Playboy carafe would be a great man-cave item


Ruby February 10, 2021 at 7:16 am

Is there any chance the pipe holder is missing its base? It just looks like it would have to defy gravity to stand upright no matter how well balanced it was.

I am frequently deeply envious of how well-stocked Katy’s Goodwills are. The one for our town is tiny and largely serves to funnel goods to one in the next county. There was a really awesome Goodwill in the big city next door, conveniently located near my optometrist and dentist, but the building was heavily damaged in a tornado last spring and no one knows if it’s coming back. With the closing of the Salvation Army store in the fall, I now live in a town without any thrift shops and it’s very weird.


priskill February 10, 2021 at 3:00 pm

Hah! love this — hilarious! Is the mysterious wooden thing to hold whine glasses upside down in each little notch?


priskill February 10, 2021 at 3:03 pm

Oops — WINE glasses. Freudian slip there


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