Tag Archives: Goodwill store

The cost of Thrift

This last week I had an interesting conversation with a close friend.

Does shopping at a thrift store REALLY save you any money?

True, it is hard not to walk out of a thrift store with SOMETHING since everything is so cheap!

After this conversation (of which this friend ended up leaving the Goodwill with items they needed!)

I decided to bump the blog up a notch and start breaking down what an item cost @ the Goodwill in relation to the costs at a different retail establishment.  I’ve also started a tally on my Goodwill purchases this year so I can show overall value saved (or spent?) during this challenge.

I’ve just started messing around with the format of the spreadsheet… but it could (and probably will) change a bit over the course of this year.

I’m interested in YOUR OBSERVATIONS, COMMENTS on this subject thrift-public!

Do YOU think that shopping at the thrift store saves you money? $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Stay tuned for more observations as Living the Goodwill Life shines the spotlight on ALL aspects of the THRIFT world!


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Today is a M E L L O W – Yellow kind of day for us.  I walked into the Lacey store yesterday after my big tour of the Tacoma Goodwill Milgard Center (watch for my post on this amazing place later) and picked up these Yellow beauties!

A brand New Carter’s Rubber-Ducky jammies!  We have LOTS of new little ones this year to share the Goodwill-finds with!

A (what looks to be brand new) Frederick and Nelson Designer collection dress with belt -AND- it was RED TAG 50% off!

More brass bracelets (ah, the donation attendants luckily haven’t got smart to these yet!) and another birthday gift for later this month.

Sometimes you just have a GREAT DAY, and yesterday was one of those!  Today looks to be turning out pretty SUNNY-YELLOW itself and we will just have to take in some of these beautiful rays as we relax from our adventures!

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Make-Over Mama

This weekend I was so happy to have a girls-day-out with my sis and mom @ the Seattle Goodwill.  But after posting our family picture I started to realize that maybe mommy was letting herself go a bit to much (AND I have not had a hair-cut since November 2009!) so I decided to endulge a bit and get a mini make-over.

Now since I make a monthly $1K AmeriCorps stipend, a luxurious Gene Juarez day of beauty was out of the question.  So I found the next best thing… a cut, dry, style @ the Seattle Aveda Institute. (http://www.gmaveda.com)  If you have 2 hours to kill and you don’t mind instructors schooling your artist with your hair, it’s a great-cheap way to get a fabulous new do! (and who couldn’t use more money now days?!)

I had the pleasure of being styled by Akin, a very nice man who (hopefully) will be working @ a Rudy’s near you SOON!  But really, all the student-artists were really sweet to us and any little mistakes get caught by the instructors so the only draw-back is the time involved.

(Me BEFORE the cut… SCARY!)

Now since I couldn’t very well expect to just post about my little salon adventure on a Thrift blog, you KNOW I had to go get me a new accessory to show off with the new style!  Luckily I found a creamy-white Roxy knit-cap to embellish with buttons (the only accessories I have sometimes now days) and share with you.

Being a mom sometimes can get you in a “rut” for feeling sexy.  You always have wash-in-wear clothes on, you don’t wear jewelry that can injury your little one which often means little to no accessorizing and after a long-day playing on the ground, packing the tyke around, making the errands to the grocery… you only want to put sweats on and relax.  Not always the cutest look.  So it’s always a good idea to do a little something every once in a while for a Pick-Me-Up… like a cut, style and a new cap!  Especially if all three still allow you to go to Whole Foods and get a couple of items for the family menu afterwards!

(this is MUCH BETTER!)

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Family Haul

This Saturday was WAY to nice out to spend inside the Goodwill… but then again, maybe not.

My family (from the south Puget Sound) came up for the day to work on our Grandpa’s house but the girls had a different idea!  We were going on a THRIFT HAUL! My mother frequents all the Tacoma-based stores but had never been to the main Seattle Goodwill, so we all took an hour and went indoors…

I scored this Great, Green, GAP bag for $5.99 (a second baby bag)      

My sis scored a fabulous khaki Banana Republic skirt and mom found a NWT bunch of girl bibs for all the new little ones this year!  Unfortunately none of the items were BLUE TAG, which is the 50% off for the Seattle stores this weekend, but not every weekend you get a designer item for 1/2 off!

Afterwards they all took a ferry-ride topped off with the traditional Seattle IVARS run, so the sunlight wasn’t completely waisted.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend Thrift-public!


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Backstage Passes for a Goodwill Groupie!

That’s right thrift-public…this groupie is going BACKSTAGE!

All the action is taking place @ the main Tacoma Goodwill (www.tacomagoodwill.org) hang-out thanks to the magic of Mr. Matt and his all-star staff!

The spotlights will be showcasing all the FABULOUS work the Tacoma Goodwill is doing throughout Washington, in-part with the donations (and thrift shoppers!) to the stores.

Did you know they provide day-care services to their Milgard Center program participants?  Or that they have a cafeteria style breakfast and lunch restaurant called the Neighborhood Bistro that serves a menu made from the Goodwill Culinary Art’s Participants?  Or that they have a “Goodwill BUZZ” coffee shop serving Starbucks?!


Oh, yeah!  Culinary, Caffination, Thrift-spiration! THAT’S what I’m talking about!

I have mentioned before that I worked with Ecocycle in Boulder for my Children’s Environmental clothing line because we incorporated recycled materials into the product. Well one of my favorite things was my ability to go “behind the operations” to sort the materials, to witness all the ways our recycling industries work including were products are sold and for what reasons!  The industry still amazes me with all the emerging technologies finding new ways to reuse our products!  When I left Boulder in 2008 the newest machine in Japan was actually unstringing garments to then reuse the thread! Freaking AMAZING!
So to say that I’m totally excited to go “behind the scenes” of one of Western Washington’s greater nonprofits is an understatement!

So WHAT do YOU want to know about the Tacoma Goodwill’s operations?  What questions do you have about thrifting, UPcycled products, recycling, etc. that I can ask for you?

Let’s find out together how our good intentions manifest in the world!

*I feel so ROCKSTAR baby!*  🙂


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Which noose around your neck sir?

Okay, they are NOT nooses, scarves are an absolutely necessary accessory (boy that’s a mouthful!) for those that live above the equator during winter.  But I like punchy headlines in the morning…

So, one of the items on my list was my partner’s noose (I mean scarf) and Tuesday’s Goodwill action (yep, the one where I SCORED a DVF!) also somehow had a plethera of scarves to choose from as well.

I could have just picked them all up and brought back the ones we didn’t want, but I attempted to email a picture to my partner and ask his opinion first to save a trip back to the Goodwill for the returns. (yeah, what WAS I thinking?  I could have had an excuse to go back to the Goodwill?!  I’ll have to play that card soon since I missed this opportunity)  After a couple of suggestions from the partner’s co-workers the winner is….

The dark plaid Pendleton scarf!  (I rooted for the ultra-soft part cashmere antique Nordy’s beauty on the top right, but it was for my partner not me)

If you need some super-fab accessories for your winter wardrobe stop by the main Seattle Goodwill soon!

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Neiman & Nordstrom meet your match!

After work yesterday, I stopped into the Seattle Goodwill to see what I could see.

And tonight I hit the jackpot in more than one way.  Not only did I cross two items off my growing Goodwill list (partner’s scarf and another jumper for the little guy) but I scored what could possibly be the first of many SUPER SCORES!

Last year I ran across a woman toting a Hartmann piece of luggage down the Seattle Goodwill aisles and since I used to sell luggage I knew this was a deal for pennies of the original $400 retail price tag.  Ever since then I try to scan the luggage section and tonight it paid off, BIG!

If you know designer items then you know that they usually are distinguishable with their higher quality materials, which is what I spotted immediately.  A soft, electric blue suede and white leather trim just POPPED of the shelves to my eyes and then I looked at the logo… it said DVF.  Well, if you also know designers there is only ONE DVF… Diane von Furstenburg!  I google imaged the logo and it was one and the same, so I swipped it up immediately.  Immediately because what could have cost hundreds of dollars was just sitting on the shelf all by its lonesome with a Goodwill price tag of $5.99!

Just look at this beauty!

There is only one problem… I don’t know the combination?!  I thought this was going to be a problem but I’m not one to back down from a challenge, especially when it comes to a piece of designer luggage!  So either I somehow pick the lock, send it back to DVF or rotate the combinations until it works… this will open!

Maybe not only is it DVF but maybe it’s a treasure chest too and something fabulous is inside it?  It does make a noise when you go “shaky, shaky, shaky”!

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SPECTACLE festival!

No, I’m not going to drive a white van into Westlake center with the words “DaBomb” on the side of it (ah, the good old days of 1990’s Seattle!) BUT I am going to put some emphasis on this subject of my next pair of eyeglasses!

I guess all those years of obsessive computer using have now, officially, left me *somewhat* blind.  Needless to say, this subject has already sparked some debate @ home so I present my dilemma to you the thrift-public.

I know that the lens in a pair of glasses are “prescription” without a doubt… but what about the frames?  Is that a gray area in my challenge?  Does the Goodwill even SELL quality frames?

Can I get a “I-wanna-look-groovy-in-my-new-spectacles” witness?! I mean come on… we have ultra-RAD spectacle shops here like Eyes on Fremont, Market Optical, Ottica and Spex!  HOW could I not just DROOL over those new ECO wood frames? 

Or justify this item as “gray” over designer-GODS like Anne et Valentin or maybe even the quirky “One Day Frame”?

Yes, I will admit it… I am an accessories-WHORE!  I make UPcycled jewelry (launching soon), I wear 4 bracelets -or- two necklaces and a scarf @ a time AND my bucket list pretty much consists of #1) saving the world and #2) taking a 100k shopping trip to Paris to buy myself a pair of Louboutins and a Kelly from Hermes’ (with matching silk scarf!)

So what do YOU SAY?  Can I justify a NEW pair of glasses, frames and all?  Or do I have to rummage bins of used 80’s Gloria Vanderbuilt designs @ the Goodwill and cross my fingers that I won’t turn out like this?????

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My Thrift-list GROWS!

Okay, I’m a pretty efficient person.  I have had to learn to schedule, plan and multi-task by owning companies at 24, launching clothing lines and media websites that I had NO IDEA how to do and of course by being a mommy.

But little did I expect that my 2011 adventure of buying everything from the Goodwill would produce a “to-buy” list that would seed, germinate, grow a trunk and sprout leaves and fruit like it has in less than two weeks!

I’m now up to a list including (but not limited too…)

Authentic Pendleton scarves for a man, a “good” kitchen strainer, items for my cubicle re-haul @ work (frames, lamp, rug, chair, coat rack, plant pots, etc.), baby jammies/one-piece outfits, glittery bracelets my sister could take for her own or give as gifts, some specific holiday items for friends, some groovy boot-socks, another couple of longer button-up dress shirts oh and birthday gifts for the 4 adults and my oldest son that are happening in the next month and a half… let’s see what else does my list have on it?!!!

I think I might need to find some HELP to find ALL of these things!!!

Any suggestions?  Any takers?


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