10 Things I have learned about thrifting at the Goodwill.
Shopping at the Goodwill is not for everybody. It wasn’t for me until this past year. I can blame it on blogging. The truth is Goodwill helps keep me entertained. :) Where else can you go and find so much junk in one place for next to nothing? I am not much of a garage sale shopper. I don’t really like to do all that driving around and getting up at the crack of dawn on the weekend to hit a garage sale. That is not how I want to start or spend my weekend. I like the convenience of Goodwill. I can pop in whenever the mood strikes or whenever I happen to be driving by.
I also have to say that I shop the Goodwill mostly for their home goods. I love seeing what I can find and what I can make pretty. I have never shopped for clothing there except for pieces to help assemble a Halloween costume or two. I remember a few years ago my daughter had a school assignment to dress as a character from one of the books on her reading assignment sheet and we laughed ourselves silly looking for the pieces she needed so she could dress up as Muriel Pritchett from the book The Accidental Tourist. Muriel was a very eclectic dresser to say the least. Every colorful piece of clothing that we needed for her ensemble, we were able to find a the GW. With that being said, I am sure there are great clothing finds to be had there as well. I am just not experienced in that department. I simply stick to what I know and what I know is the House Wares Department.
Okay, so here we go with my list of the 10 Things I Have Learned About Thrifting at the Goodwill.
1. Beware of upholstered furniture. I hate to say it but if you fall in love with the price of an upholstered piece and you want to take it home with you….you have no choice but to stick your nose in it, on it, and around it. Did this piece come from the home of a SMOKER? It is IMPOSSIBLE to get the smoke smell out of a piece of upholstered furniture. Now I know there are lots of other disgusting and gross smells out there but I really don’t want to get that gagging feeling in my throat by discussing them. So, just remember this: Upholstered furniture from the Goodwill is risky!
2. If you see it, and think you might want it, I say buy it. Because when you go back tomorrow to get it after getting a good night’s sleep and thinking it over…It will be gone. Someone else posted on their blog that “the best time to buy an antique is when you see it.” Good advice for the Goodwill too.
3. Goodwill doesn’t seem to ever reduce it’s prices. They don’t really do “sales”. So if you think you will wait to see if they will lower their price they almost never do. I think if something doesn’t sell…they simply transfer it to another store to see if if moves there.
4. Don’t put anything back on the shelf unless you are sure you do not want it. I can’t tell you how many times I have set something down and someone immediately snatched it up. There are people who are always checking out what items you are carrying or have in your cart and they watch to see what you are looking at. Kind of creepy I know!
5. Beware of lamps with old plugs and wiring. Buy the lamp if you like it and if you think it has potential but if you have any qualms about the safety of a piece…take it to a lamp shop and have it re-wired. Not very expensive to do and hey….you get brownie points for recycling! (also keep your receipt because if you get an electronic item home and it doesn’t work you need the receipt to return it and they only give you a store credit.)
6. Shop after the weekend rush. I like popping into GW on a Tuesday and Wednesday morning when it is quiet and the trucks from the weekend have been unloaded. Bigger selection. Sometimes on Monday mornings the shelves are still picked over from the weekend.
7. Most areas have several Goodwill stores and some are very tiny and some are big. Check each one out to see which one you have the most success at.
8. Be careful and aware of your surroundings. Some of the stores are not in the nicest parts of town. I am lucky in that there is a Distribution Center not too far from me and it is big and gets a lot of great things donated from all the suburbanites cleaning out their attics. Try to find “That” store in your area.
9. Goodwill stores smell. I think the smell is cross between the dry cleaners and somebody’s attic or basement. A wee bit musty. But if you can get past the odor and I know you can, there are great treasures to be found.
10. Frequent shoppers cards are available and I think you can get a 10% discount each time you shop. I think they might even give Senior Citizen discounts. I don’t take advantage either because Number 1: I am not old (yet), and Number 2: I think that what Goodwill does as an organization is wonderful. They take people’s unwanted clothing and household discards and they turn around and sell it to fund programs that really help, educate, and train all kinds of people who really need the help. Their prices are so ridiculously low already that I don’t mind paying what they consider full price.
So there you have it. My list of 10 things I have learned about the Goodwill. I hope you find this information helpful and may the Goodwill Fairy bless you with unbelievable luck and great deals the next time you cross their threshold. :)