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Friday, July 26, 2013

Goodwill Finds

     In high school the only reason I would go to the Goodwill was if I needed a costume. I seriously thought that they didn't have anything else to offer. I was so wrong. Moving into an apartment last year was an exciting thing, anyone's first apartment is, but the dilemma that now faced me was where do I get everything? I remember my high school economics teacher asking our class where we were going to buy furniture and other things for college when we graduated. Many students proudly said Ikea or Target. My teacher urged us to all go to Goodwill to find things. I remember thinking how gross it would be to have everyone's used stuff. Back then I really had no concept of money. I didn't spend a whole lot, but I still didn't understand it's value and how hard you have to work to earn it. Thankfully now I can say I outgrew that phase and am the proud owner of many things from the Goodwill, thrift shops, and yes, even the dumpster.
    In this post I want to show you a few of the truly great things that Goodwill has to offer, and tell you what is best to buy at Goodwill, and how to save your money by bargain shopping at Goodwill. This post is especially useful for people going to college for the first time, moving out, or moving into an apartment for the fist time, but anyone can benefit some saving some pocket change!

1) Pots and Pans:
Rachel Ray Cookware

 Pots and Pans are sometimes a hit or miss at Goodwill, like a lot of good things, but you if you don't mind mismatching cookware you may be able to piece together a really wonderful and useful set of cookware. I was extremely lucky and managed to find the entire collection of Rachel Ray cookware (one pan is not shown) in pretty good condition. The hardest part about buying used cookware is finding a matching lid. As you can see the large pan in the back has a mismatching lid, but it fits, so no harm done! My grandma went shopping with me that day and bought a lot of what I have now, but we got the set for probably $30 all together. I looked online to see how much this set would normally cost, it was $300! That's right, $300! Don't believe me? Here's your proof: Rachel Ray Cookware-New. I was shocked to find out I got all of the cookware in great condition for literally 1/10th of the original asking price. So don't be afraid to dig around to find some cookware that is in good condition and make sure you find a lid that fits! Also pots and pans would not be necessary for students that are going to move into a dorm, since you will have dining halls at your convince. I have never lived in the dorms for financial reasons (too spendy pour moi) so if you love to cook, or are moving into an apartment I would highly suggest checking Goodwill first before you buy cookware.

2) Kitchen Gadgets

Glass lemon juicer 

Blender a lot like "Magic Bullet"

    Certain kitchen gadgets can be found in good condition and will last you a long time. The glass and plastic lemon juicer was $2.99 and I love it because it is durable and versatile (who says just lemons?). Other lemon juicers go for about $15. The next one is my blender. I have a love-hate relationship with "bullet" like blenders. They are really only meant for one or two people, which is annoying if you have guests over, but great if you use it for your morning smoothie. They are also really small which is great for an apartment's counter space, but not so great if you love to puree or like big smoothies. I had purchased an almost identical version at Target before, but it broke. I was then pretty happy to find this baby tucked away in it's original packaging with all it's parts. The parts for the old blender work for this one too :) Normal magic bullets go anywhere from $49.99 to $99.99 (Target: Magic Bullet).

Tip: If you cannot find something in it's original packaging or are not sure if an appliance works there is a place where the electronics are that has a power chord for testing products. If you can't find it ask an employee for a demo, and if they know anything about it's condition when it was brought in.

So many kitchen tools!  

    I have managed to find yet again some more things that have come in their original packaging. Above (1st pic) is a drawer organizer that came with some spatulas, measuring cups and spoons, and clips.  I know that it is very rare to find things like this in a Goodwill, but you can get creative and find each of these things separately. I also found some ice cube trays for a dollar each!
    Silverware organizers are almost always at Goodwill, no one cares how ugly your organizers are because chances are they will never see them. I also found all of our silverware ( in a bag) for about $5. The up side is to super cheap silverware is the good price, the downside is you probably won't get a full set. As you can see we have way less butter knives, and a plethora of spoons.

3) Apartment furniture and decor:
Book Shelf

Picture Frame

The bookshelf (yeah it's full!) and the picture frame were also Goodwill finds. Furniture can be so expensive! Buying new is a big mistake, I got a cheap futon from a friend, and found a couch in the trash...yes the trash! Summer is the best time for finding furniture because that's when everybody is moving out.  If you live in a college town like me, check your Goodwill every week at the end of the term and sporadically in the summers because that is when you are most likely to find more quality and a larger selection furniture.

Lamp and Lampshade

Desk and cork borad (messy I know!)

The desk I have is also from Goodwill, as well as my newest favorite addition my Eiffel Tower lamp and pretty patterned lampshade. I got the lamp a week before I went back and found a good lamp shade, and that's how things are sometimes! You just have to wait, or have to mix and match. The lamp was $7.99 and the lampshade was $3.99. At Target the exact same lamp is $44.99 (Eiffel Tower Lamp). 

4) Clothes/ Accessories 

   I really need to work on my photography skills! Anyways, I'm sure most of these items wold look better on, but I did not want to do an impromptu fashion show today. If you really look through the clothes you can usually find something that catches your eye, not always, but sometimes there are some good quality finds. The shoes I found still had a price sticker on them for $149 and I got them for about $10.
The lace cardigan and belt were steals! Belt $3.99, Cardigan $6.99. 
TIP: When buying clothes make sure you check the color of the tag. If you look at the top of the clothes rack there are signs that have certain days which give you extra discounts. For example, one day everything that had a yellow tag was 50% off.
 When clothes shopping also check for stains, holes, and things that are unacceptable to you. Never buy something unless you will actually wear it. Some thrift shop finds are funky and cool, but do not translate into everyday wear unless you are a daring person. Try on clothes before you buy them. Goodwill's have dressing rooms, use them! 

Hope that this post has been helpful and educational! Tell me about your Goodwill of thrift store finds and other tips you use to bargain shop. Let me know if you have any questions about moving into an apartment in college, or moving to college. I'd love to hear your money saving tips, and Good thrifting to all!


  1. Great Job on finding that lamp I knew where it came from before I even read the rest,I had saw it in the store and thought about buying it myself!

  2. Thank you Betty Bird! Isn't that funny, often times stores like Target will donate their unsold products to Goodwill. Makes me think about checking thrift shops more often. As you can see I'm very new to the blogging world, any feedback is great! Thanks for leaving a comment. :)