The Good, The Bad and The Overpriced — A Trip to Goodwill

by Katy on July 6, 2012 · 69 comments

I’ve been pretty good about not going to Goodwill too often these days. Sure, I possess mad skillz in sorting through the used wobbly Ikea furniture and fake Hummel figurines to find the good stuff, but I also have the self-discipline to walk out empty handed. (An important skill for those of us who do not wish to be featured on Hoarders.) But yesterday’s Young House Love blog post about going to Goodwill lit a flame that could only be extinguished with my own thrift shop foray. Plus I recently broke my tea kettle and was needing a replacement, so this trip was a necessity. Right?

The first item that caught my eye was a wool rug with a pretty blue and white floral pattern. I’ve been keeping an eye out for a bedroom rug, and since this rug had a few superficial stains, I was crossing my fingers that I had found a bargain. (I own a Bissell rug shampooer, so stains are a non-issue.) I unrolled the rug to find that it was from Pier One, and had an original price of $300. The Goodwill price? $149.99.


The second item that caught my eye was a large mirrored terra cotta flowerpot. It was pretty much the grooviest thing I’d seen all day. (You know, because my days are filled with nothing but groovy.) It was in excellent condition, but was marked at the non-bargain price of of $12.99. Not enough to force my family out of our house, but hardly a bargain. However, my backyard patio is shaded by the world’s largest maple tree and is dark, dark, darkety-dark. And I could totally envisage how this single flowerpot could bring some much needed light into our backyard.

Plus it looked like a disco ball, which was hard to resist. So into the cart it went.

Having fulfilled my quota of expensive heavy unnecessary purchases, I pointed my cart in the direction of the tea kettles, where I came across this sad selection:

One already broken tea kettle and a Classic Winnie The Pooh kettle. You know, for when you want to make boiling liquids super enticing to children. What’s next, Hello Kitty drain cleaner? Needless to say, I bought neither.

I’ve been keeping an eye out for new condition coasters for making into Mod-Podged gifts, so my eye was drawn to this set:

But $6.99 for seven used coasters? That’s cray-zay!

Luckily the tide of overconsumption flowed my way, in the form of these still packaged coasters:

You can’t tell from the photo, but that is two, count ’em two sets of six coasters for 99¢. So yes, I did buy these.

I didn’t buy anything else, but I did come across these treasures:

Based on the real fur cuffs and the mittens, I think this figure is a touristy item from Alaska. But was drew my eye was that the full length coat is made from an antique flour-sack quilt. It is so beautiful, yet I have zero use for it. The doll itself is grotesque, but everything else is rather wonderful.

I then spied this Russian nesting doll:

I was curious whether it included the inner dolls, so I opened it up only to find this:

Oh, gag. That is a small bundle of human hair.

At this point I decided that my afternoon at Goodwill was at a close, so I payed my $13.98 and schlepped my heavy purchases to the car. And lo and behold this beauty was parked right in front of me:

So perfectly kelly green, so perfectly restored, so perfectly bussy. I grew up with a VW bus as our family car. I sat in that thing from Oregon to New York, Oregon to Pittsburgh, Oregon to Nebraska and countless other trips. I even learned to drive on that thing, so VW busses hold a very special place in my heart.

VW busses + Katy = ♥

I am very excited to place my new mirrored flowerpot into my backyard, and will even be power washing the patio today, so the timing is perfect. And the perfect VW bus? It will have to stay living in my dreams.

Are you a lover of The Goodwill? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 69 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanna July 6, 2012 at 11:40 am

I hope the mirrored pot will make it into future posts so we can see it in its new home. As for the overpriced, I came across a Target bookshelf (read: particle board) for a bargain $29.99. Um…no thank you.


NMPatricia July 6, 2012 at 11:42 am

I agree with maybe a pic to see how it looks!


NMPatricia July 6, 2012 at 11:44 am

This was one of the very best blog posts about shopping thrift stores that I have seen. There were over priced items (I was beginning to think you had an unreal Goodwill). There were great priced things (coasters) and there were things that made no sense. I often wonder how Goodwill does their pricing. My example – my local Goodwill prices their canning jars higher than Albertsons which is high to begin with. The tea kettles – makes me feel better about what I see. It is all about the find – sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Thanks Katy.


Katy July 6, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Thank you, Patricia!



AFS July 6, 2012 at 8:42 pm

MY goodwill is my favorite place to find canning jars, 20censt each, any size. I love that!


Linda in Indiana July 7, 2012 at 5:00 am

Lucky you! Our Goodwill charges $1 a piece and that is of course without the lid or ring. Extremely high.


Margo in Maine July 17, 2012 at 2:48 pm

None of the Goodwill’s in Maine have a price tag under .99


Tina July 6, 2012 at 11:50 am

I love me some goodwill. Lots of junk but the good stuff is worth it. My last find was a Levi jean jacket for my turning 13 year old daughter (her b-day is Monday) for like $6? I think she has already worn it $6 worth!


Laura's Last Ditch--Adventures in Thrift Land July 6, 2012 at 11:53 am

I, too, went to Goodwill today. I usually don’t bother because it’s overpriced. But we lost one steel water bottle and another sprung a leak within a week of each other, and my son has day camp next week. Since we were passing a Goodwill, we stopped. This time, the Goodwill had three must-have bargains that I can make a tidy profit on, a bunch of overpriced junk I passed up, and a choice of water bottles at a tolerable price. I was a good girl and put the vintage Niagara Falls Indian chief tie rack back, though, at $2.99, it tempted me so! Even though the merchandise is all different, it seems the Goodwill experience is the same, coast to coast.


AnnDenee July 6, 2012 at 12:05 pm

My recent cha-ching thrift store trip was not the local Goodwill store which is tiny, a bit dirty and usually unimpressive, but instead was a local thrift shop called Neighborhood Thrift Store. It doesn’t look like much from the outside. Heck, it doesn’t look like much from the inside, but the prices are always reasonable. I have yet to be disappointed.
And one of the highlights is the stuff they keep at the front of the store, the high-end stuff. This time there was a cast iron water boiler with 2 burners. $69.99!!!! If it’s there next time, it may follow me home. 😀

Great article, Katy. Your humor came through in spades! (I have no idea what that means.) And I agree that weird looking statue was very weird, but the quilted coat.. wow!!


Sarah W July 6, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Hi there! Long time reader, but first time poster, love the site! I have been feeling the exact same way about the Goodwill for years! Here in Austin, the popular name for one our goodwills, is Gucci Goodwill! I can not tell you the number of things I have seen in there that are close to are even over the original purchase price. Yet one time, I happened to snag a brand new, 12-cup bodum french press for $4.99 and when I brought it to the register the cashier thought it was a mistake, but they still sold it to me for 4.99, which just made my lil happy day. 🙂 It seems to be that the goodwills in larger cities are a tad overpriced because, in Louisiana, where my mother lives, the goodwill in her rather small town has rock bottom prices. They even have 50 cents days!!


Barb July 6, 2012 at 5:31 pm

I too live in Austin and I second Sarah’s observation about the prices but it really depends on which Goodwill you are at. One nice one near me (Brodie & Slaughter Lane) has a “designer” section and I find their prices are generally more expensive then the one on South Lamar or at Oakhill. I scored a brand new black Italian wool Michael Kors suit-type skirt at the Oakhill store recently for $5.00. I will wear that a skirt a lot. In Austin all of the Goodwill’s that I frequent have nice dressing rooms and most are reasonably clean.


genie July 17, 2012 at 6:44 am

The goodwill in Bastrop (outside of Austin a bit) is LOUSY. They had a lamp that is normally $60 at Target for $25 – but, it had a huge crack in it! I don’t get it!

And, all of the clothes are sorted by color – not by size. Who wants to spend hours digging through the kids section to find sizes while your toddler is with you? Especially with the high prices?

Then, the bait and switch issue at this GW. The prices for the toddler clothes are understandibly marked lower than adult clothes prices. BUT, when I take them to the register, they always always always try to ring them up at adult prices. The reason they give me? We are either volunteers or aren’t paid much and we have to do what we’re told. If there’s no “T” on the tag, how do we know it is a toddler size? Um, seriously? Cause one of your clueless co-workers managed to sort it into the toddler/little kid section to start with, so SOMEONE can tell the difference between an 18 inch inseam and a 34. After the last time of that, I haven’t and won’t be back. I’d rather support the other local thrift stores that price better and keep the money local.


Katy July 17, 2012 at 10:06 am

That does sound super annoying!



Jenny July 6, 2012 at 12:21 pm

I don’t shop at our value village anymore because the prices are so high. It seems that anything that might be vintage, antique, name brand, new, high quality, or otherwise nice has a terribly high price tag on it.

They also have a policy where if you find something without a price tag on it, they will not price it and sell it to you, but will take it and send it to the back to be re-priced later. They also won’t give a discount if something is stained, broken, torn, etc.

I now shop at the salvation army thrift store. They have much better prices there, especially on their frequent half-price days. The last time I spent around 30$ between two stores and got lots of good stuff including a halogen lamp, a marble lazy susan (gorgeous, terribly heavy, and just what I needed on my counter), a nightstand, 6 pieces of clothing, a paper shredder (1.50 with a yard sale tag for 12$ still on it), and some kitchen items.

I’m not a fan of the flowerpot (just not my taste), but I would have grabbed the pooh teapot so fast. I love winnie the pooh and my favorite tea mug (also a thrift store find) has pooh on it saying “bother free is the way to bee”.


Lily July 7, 2012 at 8:03 am

Me too! I was so disappointed to read Katy didn’t buy it 😛


Trish July 6, 2012 at 1:01 pm

my family also had a vw bus – in the summer of 1965 when I was a few months old they loaded all 8 of us kids into it for a trip from Indiana to Virginia. I was in a bassinett in the far back – the only was to reach me was to get out of the bus and go round to the back and lift the rear hatch. That’s the way you roll with your eighth child!


Nadine July 6, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Loved your post today Katy !


Jennifer G. July 6, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Goodwill is definitely the most expensive thrift store where I live. And they have a “color of the week,” where items with a certain color tag are 50 percent off. But I think they take all the books with that color off the shelf for the week…I find half-price clothing all the time, but never books.


Anon July 6, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Oh don’t gag at the lock of hair. That’s love you’re looking at. Some child’s first haircut or a lock from someone much missed. Sad or sentimental, but not disgusting.


AnnW July 6, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Tomorrow is the Second Annual National “I Love Thrifting” Day. Go out and shop. Tomorrow all Denver area Goodwills have a 50% off day. Many cities have coupons on their websites. Also, the good stuff moves out so fast that you need to check in more often. Ann


Jo H. July 6, 2012 at 2:52 pm

I have to agree with Anon on the lock of hair. It was frequently done in years past. Don’t moms do that for their first child’s haircut anymore? 🙂


Jenny July 6, 2012 at 3:37 pm

I disagree. If it’s your child’s hair it’s sentimental and nice, and kinda sad that it was lost.

When it’s strange hair found in a thrift shop, it’s kind of icky.

My mom took a lock of each of our baby hair and put it in our baby books.


Lilypad July 6, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Sorry, but any human hair not on a human head just makes me think of Auschwitz. That’s just sad and creepy.


Katy July 6, 2012 at 5:20 pm

But this is not baby hair, and it’s too long to be someone’s “first haircut.” It is nasty and I stand my ground.

Blegh and gag.



Linda in Indiana July 7, 2012 at 5:02 am

I say the hair is Nasty with a capital “N”! Gross, gross! You would think that Goodwill would check things over better than that….of course, then no one would find dollar bills or any other goodies in stuffe either:).


Lily July 7, 2012 at 8:04 am

Yep. UGH


Anna July 7, 2012 at 11:51 am

Yep. Gross.


Lindsey July 7, 2012 at 1:34 pm

A confession: I cut my husband’s hair and have for the 29 years we have been married. I have a baggie of his hair from every haircut I have given him (not all the hair, a sample), and I used to keep it in our bank safe deposit box. He did not know I did this and one day he went ot the bank alone and came home completely bewildered by the bags and bags of hair, each one carefully dated. I think I started doing this because the only thing I have from my mother, who died when I was 12, is a lock of her hair. Anyway, he did have a good laugh at seeing how brown and really curly his hair used to be, when it is now sort of grey and falls into ringlets instead of tighter curls. Weird, I know.


Lorena Toro April 12, 2021 at 3:20 pm

I don’t think is gross but perplexes me that they never checked the inside.


Jessica July 6, 2012 at 3:10 pm

That was hysterical. And how could someone take a lovely antique quilt and a lovely fur and end up with THAT? As far as creepiness goes…it has a fitting resting place next to the silver clown. Yikes.

Goodwill and Salvation Army where I live in FL are quite pricey. Our Hospice and Sheriff’s Youth Ranch thrift stores are the best place for bargains. And there’s a little church thrift store that is approximately 10′ by 10′ but I found an Ann Taylor dress for $1.50. Score!


Linda H. July 6, 2012 at 3:59 pm

I love that flower pot! You would have kicked yourself if you didn’t get it. Capital G -Groovy!

I’m not a fan of Goodwill because ours has crazy high prices. We have Rescue Mission Thrifty Shoppers and Salvation Armies which are much more reasonable.


Lilypad July 6, 2012 at 4:36 pm

We had a VW bus in the 80’s, I know that’s not the glory days but I also have fond memories of ours. And a bad memory: trying to back it out of a tight parking space at the library one dark, rainy Seattle night when I had just barely learned to drive and was a nervous wreck with stick shifts. I think it took me half an hour.


Chris July 6, 2012 at 7:14 pm

I agree most thrifts have gone pricey. Have my best luck at benefit rummage sales (plus the $$ goes to a good cause)! Also like block or neighborhood sales – good excuse to take a walk and hunt some bargains!


Kate July 7, 2012 at 8:17 am

I agree. Our twice-a-year church rummage sale has landed us some major scores. I just can’t figure how the congregation of such a small church keeps coming up with so much STUFF every six months!


Linda H. July 7, 2012 at 9:58 am

Yup, agree. Church sales=rock bottom prices.


Beaner July 6, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Not a fan of Goodwill. Too pricey. We have several resale shops tied to churches that are better bargains. I think it’s more luck if you find something you need, at a good price. I have taken to buying good child’s clothes a size too big. Since its so hit and miss. I can put it in the tote and it get worn later or even next year.


AFS July 6, 2012 at 8:58 pm

As for the overpriced coasters, I would have taken both to the cashier and asked if i could have the high priced one at the lower price too.

I think all thrift stores are hit or miss. I agree Goodwill & Value Village can be pricy but there are bargins to be found. Last week I got $50+worth of stuff at Goodwill for $12


Silverlotus July 7, 2012 at 4:34 am

I don’t really find my local Goodwill overpriced, I just find the pickin’s to be very, very slim. My best buy: a like new copy of Fairy Tale Knits (a book I’ve been coveting) for $1.50.


Linda H. July 7, 2012 at 9:59 am

Used paperbacks at our goodwill are $4.99. INSANE.


Bellen July 7, 2012 at 6:29 am

Our local Goodwill is very high priced. On days, about once every other month, when they discount most items 50% it is crowded but otherwise not so much. But lots of stuff isn’t discounted – items with tags still on, boutique items, most books, and current holiday items.

I’ve found shopping at church sponsored thrift shops and a thrift shop that funds a Women’s Center to be much, much better. Most clothes are under $2, purses and shoes $1.50, most furniture under $20.


emmer July 7, 2012 at 6:34 am

good will is big business. the portland (oregon) regional manager makes a cool half million per year as this is the best performing region for good will stores. they do have some bargains but that makes me ill.

we have a sort of last-stop good will warehouse in this area where all the left overs and some direct donations goods are put out in rolling bins. when a new bin is rolled into a line of bins, all the bins move along one space. the oldest bin leaves the sales floor. people must stand back until the bins are in place. there is a rush for the new bin and its mystery contents. most everything is priced by the pound, with heavy goods at a lower price per pound. and discounts for quantity poundage. 10 lbs of clothing, for example may be 79 cents a pound. so, check out is a weigh station.
not for the faint-hearted, but major bargains.

like many others, i have favorite small thrifts that support small charities. one supports a local no-kill cat shelter. another supports a community library. i love its name, “second edition”. its a great place to find good quality reuse goods at real bargain prices and support a community landmark, too.


OnceOwnedTwiceLoved July 8, 2012 at 3:18 pm

We have one of those Goodwill (they call it Goodwill Outlet – we call it the Diggin’ Store) in NW Mississippi (I live about 15 minutes from Memphis, TN). The clothing is $1.45 a pound (best find a vintage cocktail dress I paid $3 for sold it on Etsy for $120), shoes/purses are $1.25 (best find pair of vintage Gucci Boots I sold on Ebay for $150), books range from .25-$1, toys .25-$1.50, etc. It is really hit or miss on what you find, but for me it is the thrill of the hunt.

There is also a Goodwill in Memphis near the University of Memphis (about a 20 minute drive from my house) that is a 1/2 price store (jeans are $2.25, shirts $1-2, kid’s clothing .50-$1, etc).

The regular Goodwill in my area are generally way over priced. I hate when I go in one and see a print out of an E-bay listing for an item. I can list anything I want on E-bay for any price I want it does not mean it is worth that price. :/

I like a thrift store ran by a local Catholic church. They used to run .50 days, but now they will do $1 days. It varies week to week what day they do it. I also like a local Salvation Army on Wednesday all clothing is 50% off. I usually buy jeans and children’s clothing. Their dresses and skirts are overpriced even at 50% off.

Great blog! I will be following from now on! 🙂


Lili@creativesavv July 7, 2012 at 7:20 am

Our nearest thrift is Value Village. Most days their pricing is too high. I wait for holidays (like Labor Day, Memorial Day, etc )when they have 50% off on clothing, which they do have a large selection of. But their everyday regular prices are higher than my neighborhood consignment shop. I find I just have to hunt for a good deal.


Krystal July 7, 2012 at 8:13 am

I love that mirrored pot! Great find.

I love the Goodwill. I try not to buy used whenever possible, to save money and reduce waste, and I have mastered the virtues of patience and underbuying, so even when I am empty-handed, it’s a success in that I didn’t do what my mother and mother-in-law would do, buy something because it’s a great deal/cheap. I have a list of a few items I am willing to be patient for and buy used, so it’s good to have a focus going in!

I did just find a brand-new with tags on sweater from Target at the St. Vincent de Paul (half-off blue tag day). Also, 2 new small canning jars for my first batch of strawberry jam this summer. Total cost was $6.11. Score!


Sharon July 7, 2012 at 8:14 am

I love it when you take us to Goodwill 🙂 Especially when I can go in my pajamas and slurp coffee while you point out both the bizarre and the devine! Excellent way to start the weekend:)


Anna July 7, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Just made my first ever trip to Goodwill. I am now the proud owner of a mini Bundt pan for $1.65. I have been on the hunt for one of these since my family NEVER finishes a regular cake! Yay!

Also, in the late 70’s and very early 80’s, our family car was a baby blue VW Bug! We drove all the way to Disney World in that thing! My brother and I slept in the tiny back seat. Sweet memories.


lisa July 7, 2012 at 1:33 pm

You can freeze cake slices and then thaw briefly in the microwave and it’s just like eating a piece of cake right from the oven.


Angela July 7, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Don’t you hate how expensive thrifting has gotten? My Goodwill here usually has a terrible selection of stuff. I do still love to shop at Goodwill, but I’m pretty selective. I can’t stand people’s DIY castoffs, either.


Leigh July 7, 2012 at 5:52 pm

We went to Goodwill for the first time today. My girlfriend got a pair of Lucky jeans (retail $80 a $120) for $7. I got two button- down, work shirts for $6 each. For Southern California, I thought the prices were good.

We ended up visiting 6 Goodwill stores on a grand roundabout tour. The quality overall was weak, which makes me wonder if times are hard or if the good stuff is taken out before it reaches the sale floor.


Megyn @MinimalistMommi July 7, 2012 at 7:12 pm

I like Goodwill for the most part. To me, that vase was WAY overpriced as I’ve seen them cheaper new elsewhere like CVS (of all places lol). I’ve found some fantastic designer stuff at Goodwill for a bargain, like a pair of practically new Aldo wedges for $8 and a new Le Sportsac bag for $3. Yet some of their clothes are overpriced, like things for Target. In those cases, I sometimes opt to buy new just because I can get it cheaper.

The resale shop I dislike the most? Buffalo Exchange. They have some adorable stuff, but the prices are pretty outrageous. The shirt prices are quite comparable to what you’d pay at Ross or TJ Maxx for practically the same thing. Why would I pay the same price for a shirt with a few snags in it v. a brand new one?! They are just crazy. Sucker hipsters lol!


Katy July 8, 2012 at 8:06 am

Really? It’s huge!



Ann July 8, 2012 at 8:04 am

This entire post made me smile. Your life is truly filled with grooviness!


Katy July 8, 2012 at 8:06 am

Thank you! 🙂



Alison Wiley July 8, 2012 at 11:33 am

Well, being a Portlander like you, of course I love Goodwill. (Like, is the Pope a Catholic?)
That said, I only say ‘yes’ to a very few items, too. I just posted today about my own push/pull with three things I bought, and how things in general can earn their keep, or not.


Nelda July 8, 2012 at 1:58 pm

I am in Mississippi and we have the traditional hanging goodwill (where all clothing is on hangers) and then we have the Thrift Goodwill where all clothes are tossed into a bin. You have to dig through all mixed sizes. It is $1.45 per pound and I LOVE IT….it’s a true adventure. I always find great clothes (it just takes time)….they do have plastic wear bins which all plastic is .15 cents…I have found nice tupperware this way. Other bins are just full of mindless junk and there are a few full of books and toys and a few dedicated to purses and bags..Oh and lets not forget the shoe bins where you can almost be knocked down on any given day…we have a nice variety of folks after those shoes and they will get down right nasty! But for the most part all is good! Shelves are lined with dishes, glasses, cups etc.. for mostly .25-.50 each. Lots of trinkets and bric brac…and of course plenty of chipped up junk…but there is always a treasure to be found by someone. Thanks for posting about your thrifting.. It is my favorite thing to do!


Katie July 15, 2012 at 12:28 pm

I loved this post! I always enjoy reading about the stuff you didn’t buy. It keeps me motivated to keep hunting through the weird/ugly/useless/expensive to find the good stuff. Can “the good, the bad, and the overpriced” be a regular feature?

Today at the Albany Goodwill: a rubber lobster, a statue of a collie covered in seashells, an 18 inch wide ceramic spaceship with two ceramic aliens, and some nice storage jars marked at a whopping 12.99 apiece! Must’ve been the Ikea stickers on the bottoms. I did find a big, pristine bed sheet that I can turn into curtains, though.


Joyce August 23, 2012 at 5:21 am

Must have been Albany, NY! They are so overpriced, put out damaged merchandise, and have squeaky carts to boot. However – I ocassionally find the real treasures. A pair of matching Stiffel lamps w/ expensive custom-made shades for $7.99 each and a jar of junk jewelry that contained an authentic, numbered Gucci watch that just needed a battery, and on occasion, a nice piece of Waterford crystal under $10.
The store in Troy is much better, but my fav is Salvation Army on Clinton Ave.


Katie August 25, 2012 at 8:02 am

Albany, NY, you betcha! I live in Troy, and you’re right – that store is much better. I think it might be a “Super Store”. I will have to try the Salvation Army on Clinton.


Julie L August 23, 2012 at 4:59 am

Sitting here grinning, love your site, just found it through We are in the process of moving out of the north Dallas area – where everything has to be NEW and SHINY and SPARKLY. Must be the rhinestone capital of the world and my neighbors think I’m nuts for fixing up furniture from Craigslist for my house. Heck, I’m a novelty because we own a ladder and power tools.

But seriously, the hair, ick, ugh, yuck, gross….all I could think was it looked too long to be a child’s. Unfortunately I was watching a marathon of Criminal Minds and kept thinking – you’ve found some serial murderer’s souvenir! Love the blog, already subscribed! I haven’t read too far yet so I’m curious about kid’s shoes and whether you get those new.


Dora August 23, 2012 at 6:10 am

I saw you on the TODAY SHOW and the timing couldn’t be better for me. I love thrifting! I was raised in a “bi-shopping” family; my mother liked new, and my father sometimes looked for used clothing, furniture, cars etc. This made me conflicted about spending on new items; I end up feeling guilty and return much of what I buy. Fortunately, I recently re-discovered GOODWILL, and I’m hooked! It started with books, and then I found myself on a made search for a denim vest which led to everything else. My most recent purchase was a Black and Decker vegetable steamer. I already had one, but needed a spare, of course. I have already shopped for much of my fall wardrobe. I’m so into saving money. I love your blog!


Cathy Wanat August 23, 2012 at 9:47 am

I too am an avid Goodwill shopper. We also have a Community Thrift store and Salvation Army as well as privately owned Thrifts. My mom was a “second hand Rose shopper” though her name was Agnes. She did not drive so she took the bus to go downtown and many days came home loaded down with goodies she treasured. I never like it but it was her outlet from being at home and taking care of older parents. It was her break time. Many years after when I was moving to Florida, I discovered that a lot of theitems that she bought for 10 cents or 25 or 50 cents were worth hundreds of dollars. So it inspired me and I have been shopping, and collecting and saving ever since. When one of my granddaughters goes up a size, my daughter calls me and usually for abour $20 I can get tons of clothes. Making use of the 50% off color of the week or going to the Clearance Outlet where they have the bins. Here in Orlando, it is .99 a pound. I also sell Vintage on and so far have not been able to “destash” my collections. I really have enough to fill my Etsy shop with all the things from my Mom and I still cannot resist the bargains. My daughter says I am a borderline Horder, so I am trying real hard to prove her wrong. I saw you on the Today show and thought I would check out your blog. What I would love to know is how to set up a blog. As you can see, I have a lot to say and would like to send it into cyberspaace, but do not know how to begin. I am also a wedding cake designer. Could blog on that subject. Cathy


Janet August 24, 2012 at 8:06 am

My local Goodwill system is super-duper! They have a revolving color tag system that changes every week. Based on the color of the tag, you can get 30%, 50% or 75% off each item. I have found some wonderful bargains – a complete set of Fiestaware (4 bowls, plates, saucers, etc.) for $5.99….couldn’t pass that one up. I can get paperbacks for my dad for 13 cents (50 cents per book at 75% off), bought an expensive mountain bike for my husband for $12.50 (regular Goodwill price is usually $24.99 – got it for half price based on the color tag) and happily paid full tag price ($15.99) for a beautiful Nautica brand bedspread (retailed at Bed Bath and Beyond for over $100.00). Thanks Goodwill – I love you!


Katie August 25, 2012 at 8:01 am

Albany, NY, you betcha! I live in Troy, and you’re right – that store is much better. I think it might be a “Super Store”. I will have to try the Salvation Army on Clinton.


Christine August 26, 2012 at 11:39 pm

Since I’m in the mid-west, the thrift stores are still reasonably priced. The Salvation Army does have the best deals with discount days. We also have a chain of first-run reject clothing stores called Name Brand Clothing or NBC for short. It’s regional to the southern mid-west and south. This place has some phenomenal sale price days such as $4 an item day for absolutely new stuff, flirty stuff and current looks…one has to look it over good as some stuff was messed up in the store so you’ll find stains, ink, marker, dirty shoe prints, ruined zippers, missing buttons and rips but if you’re handy, this place can really save. This place has an excellent selection of evening gowns and formal wear for the one-bridesmaid discount weddings, cheap prom or x-mas party. It can be worth it to switch out zippers on the dresses as the savings are so good. I also find lovely suits in up-to-date looks for under $10 for jacket and skirt/pants with nothing wrong. Store also had nice selection of plus-sized stuff.

As always, the only time shopping thrift pays is if you have a list of needs.


tna September 4, 2012 at 2:07 pm

I love Goodwill. I have a favorite walking path that takes me near Goodwill so I go often. If I find something I like better than something I already have that isn’t worn out then I have to promise myself to take the already owned item to a thrift store that buys things outright…then I can get the new item. I almost always recoup my original investment in the items.
Recent purchases: An unscuffed, unworn pair of blue/green Chacos sandals in my size for 4 bucks! A pima cotton gap print t-shirt for $3. Two new looking Polo men’s button down shirts in great blue plaids for my son $3 each. A joie embroidery summer top $3. Avatar dvd $2. (When I find a great movie at a thrift store I will buy it, watch it a few times and then donate it to the local library so others can watch it. I’ve watched so many movies from the library that it makes me feel good to give back a little on my limited budget.)

A large portion of my clothing is from Goodwill. I have 4 cashmere sweaters that cost $4 each…one is a designer cashmere tunic that cost $395 new when I checked online. Oolala. Work out and walking pants like Nike, spk, Under Armour $4. My Revere Ware pans with lids were $2 each.
I’ve learned to be very picky and buy things that are new or very gently worn so if they for any reason don’t work out I can re-sell them and not waste any money. I walk out empty handed more often than with a purchase, but I’m just out for a walk so it’s not a waste of time, just a nice diversion. Oh, and I put everything in my backpack so I don’t have to use one of their plastic bags.

Every Sunday they put a certain color tag on half price which is a great bargin if it’s someting you really want and will use. I found myself buying things that I didn’t need and so I’m very careful about it now. And once each month they have a day when the Sunday sale color items are 85% off. GRRRREAT buy….if it’s something you need.


Kathy Schroeder April 12, 2013 at 7:30 am

I just wanted to say, I find true bargins at our Goodwill stores in my area. I think yours needs a new manager. The prices seemed high (The rug was outrageous for the store.) I have found vintage depression glass (Not reproductions) at mine, just the other day, I pick up a crystal Miss America coffee cup for 50 cents. The mopst I have ever seen a rug at our store, was 30.00 for a nice one. We see an occasional Hummel, at times over priced, at times, no. But I have picked up a beautiful pair of Andre Bird figurines for 5.00 for the pair. No repairs, no cracks or nicks. They retailed for 80.00 a piece when they were new. Don’t be afraid to question pricing. sometimes, if you do so nicely, come back in a few days, and pricing may be better, after the manager has a chance to do a little research, especially if the item has not sold at the asking price.


Athena July 31, 2013 at 9:14 pm

I think you’re all looking at Goodwill in the wrong way. Goodwill is a non-profit. It’s not a “thrift” store. It’s not a dollar tree. Every Goodwill “area” has a mission. Where I live the Goodwill helps thousands of families every year – getting jobs, clothing for work, cars, training, housing for the elderly or people with barriers. If you do your research you’ll realize that $150 rug is going to get a single mom transportation so she can become independent and support her child. Or that the expensive coasters may have bought a homeless man a pair of pants so he can go to a job interview. Or that disco ball pot you loved so much is going to teach someone who’s unemployed how to write a resume.

It’s amazing how greedy people have become and this ideology that the stuff was donated, so it should be cheap, is not only wrong but insane.

That recent news piece about Goodwills that pay their disabled employees less than minimum wage? Probably Goodwills that charge a lot less for their product.

The Goodwills in our area pay all of their employees more than minimum wage – they’re paid a LIVING wage. And the costs are competitive to what you would pay elsewhere. I spent $30 at one of my local Goodwills today and got a Lululemon workout top, a Disney Princesses comforter for my daughter, a Tommy Bahama swimsuit, two pairs of Nike workout pants, and a zip-up hoodie. For $30.

If you think the pricing is outrageous you can always talk to the home office of your local Goodwill, but I would feel like a jerk if I knew I was taking away from someone much less fortunate than myself just because I didn’t want to pay half price for a previously loved rug.


emersunrose January 3, 2014 at 9:47 pm

Like you, I’m allergic to retail. I’m a second generation second-hand shopper, but am turned more in the direction of Sally Army but that’s not absolute. Our home is 70% 2nd hand (including consignment), 10% gifts, 10% web shopping, and 10% retail. And, when I accompany my husband on business trips I always go 2nd hand shopping, and whatever I find forever reminds me of that place.


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