10 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Goodwill Shopping

Looking for more variety, more unique and special items, than the shelves of your department store has to offer? Try spending some time shopping at your local Goodwill® store! With Goodwill taking in thousands of donations across the U.S. every day, they are continually stocking their shelves with some of the most unique and fun items that you can turn into your own treasures!

When someone comments on a piece of furniture, picture frame, or even a warm fuzzy sweater, and I tell them “I got that at Goodwill®,” it never fails that they respond, “I can never find good things there.”

They’re doing it wrong!

Goodwill Shopping Finds

Now – you certainly can just walk into the store and pick up those things that talk to you and really grab your attention. But, to find those excellent deals, there really is an art to it! While some may not have the patience for this kind of shopping – many of us find the thrill of the hunt both rewarding and challenging.

Goodwill Shopping Finds

Here are my top 10 tips for finding those perfectly unique items at the best prices:

  • Visit Often and at Multiple Locations – If you can go on a Sunday, Monday or Tuesday, you may score better finds. A lot of the donations come in over the weekend and it can take time to get through them all and get them onto the floor for your shopping frenzy. But, that doesn’t mean skip other days.
  • Go Early – The early bird gets the worm, right? As with anything you want to get first pick on, going early generally gives you the leg up on any items that were put out the day before.
  • Know Sale Days and Types – Goodwill® stores are known for their colored tag sales. Find out which colors represent which sales and what days they have each sale. So, you’re armed with the information to find the best items at the best prices.
  • Shop Off-Season – It may be the dead of winter, but you know eventually you are going to want to throw on that cute summer dress. Why not check out what is in stock, but not necessarily in season? If no one else is doing the same – you may just score big!
  • Shop When Seasons Change – Changing seasons usually means pulling out stored winter clothes, decluttering for incoming new items during the holidays, and during the spring and summer, you can always count on a ton of donations.
  • Check the Whole Store, Look at EVERYTHING – While the stores do an amazing job at organizing things (especially the clothes), that doesn’t mean that you won’t find that one thing you simply cannot live without in another part of the store. If you are there already, you may as well walk the entire store.
  • Touch Everything – If you’re just browsing, especially in the clothes isles, you are bound to miss the most awesome items. Flip through every single piece! Plus, by touching, you can analyze the material of whatever you’re looking at, whether it is clothes or furniture, to see if it fits your needs. This is how you find those hidden gems.
  • Get Creative – With so many DIY tutorials out there today, even those of us who have 0 creativity can refurbish and do some amazing things with lost treasures. Don’t shortchange yourself. See something you love? Whip out your cell phone and find a post or video to inspire you.
  • If You Don’t Love It, Wait – There is no reason to buy for the sake of buying. You will likely wind up donating it back anyway. Have a purpose for what you’re buying!
  • Step Outside Your Comfort Zone – Going on vacation? Look up a Goodwill® store! Every store has something different to offer and you never know what you might find 2, 3 or 10 states away!

When you #ShopGoodwill you’re not only getting an amazing bargain, you’ve become a job creator and you’re making a significant difference in the lives of individuals living in your community. How? Well, by shopping at Goodwill® and by donating your own gently used treasures when you shop, you’re providing them with the means to help people with employment training, job placement services, financial education, youth mentoring and more. Goodwill® is a great organization to support all year round, because every 23 seconds of every business day, someone gets a job through the help of a local Goodwill®.

Find your local Goodwill or a Goodwill while you’re traveling. Found some incredible items on your latest shopping trip? Share them with us on Social using the #ShopGoodwill hashtag!

#RealityMoms wasn’t compensated for this post, but it’s part of our mission of giving back and supporting worthy causes!

Debbie Bookstaber

Debbie lives in Philadelphia with her husband and two sons. She’s a #momprenuer who loves technology, toys, travel and anything that helps her squeeze more time with her children into her packed schedule. After graduating from Yale University with a BA and MA, Debbie worked in the travel industry at companies such as Site.59 (a start-up later acquired by Travelocity), Travelocity.com and Expedia.com. Debbie is currently a partner at Element Associates. In 2012, Debbie helped organize SheCon, and she is a frequent speaker at social media and tech conferences such as BlogHer, SXSW, Type-A Parent, Affiliate Summit, SheConExpo, and ASTRA Marketplace. Along with Candace, Debbie is the co-founder of Bloganthropy.org, which recognizes bloggers for using social media for social good, which is at the heart of what she does every day. Debbie serves on several charitable boards, focusing on education and at-risk students. Find Debbie at Mamanista.com

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