Drop off a load of stuff your family doesn’t need anymore …

… Then come home with a load of treasures.

That’s how it goes with a trip to Goodwill. And for us, that’s all part of the fun!

I only spent $30 on our recent trip to the Fairfax, VA store – and everyone in my family got something good.

I try not to go to Goodwill empty-handed. I believe in good thrifting karma. When I donate good items, I find good items in return.

I’ve had a big trash bag in the middle of my closet for weeks now, filling up with clothes that don’t quite fit me or I just don’t feel as good wearing them as I used to. Sometimes it is easier for me to clean out my closet slowly, one item at a time, instead of making a major project out of it. I try on a shirt in the morning and if I’m not feeling it, I put it straight in the bag and wear something else. When the bag fills up, I take it to Goodwill.

The start of a new season is a great time to evaluate what you are looking forward to wearing again … and what you can pass on to someone new. It’s also a great time to go through your kids’ clothes and see what doesn’t fit from last year. In addition to the bag of clothing, I donated a box of toys that haven’t been played with in our house for a while. It’s time for a new kiddo to enjoy them!

My son is 10 and has been donating toys he has outgrown to Goodwill for as long as he can remember. I think it is important to include him in the process. He knows what he doesn’t play with anymore. He decides what he is ready to pass along — and he knows another kid will be happy to play with them. He also knows that the money we spend at Goodwill (on toys, games and other great stuff he finds!) goes directly to helping people in our community.

On our recent trip Goodwill, we dropped off our items first, then drove around to shop. He made a beeline to the Toys section, looking for Nerf guns or anything else that looked fun to him. Unfortunately, we didn’t find any Nerf guns for him this time. But we did find this cool resin baseball decoration for his room.

When you are shopping with a guy decked out in a Curly W shirt, a Washington Nationals face mask and a Nats fedora (that he got on a previous trip to Goodwill and wears everywhere!), you can’t pass up cool baseball décor. At $9.99, it was the most expensive item we brought home that day. My plan is to paint his name on it and hang it on his bedroom door.

A quick Internet search did not reveal any baseball wall hangings exactly like this one, but wooden baseball door décor starts around $30. Personalized items can cost more than $50 on Etsy.  The $10 I spent at Goodwill plus the five minutes it will take to paint his name were a steal!

My favorite part of Goodwill is the Furniture section. I scored this super-cool triangle shaped side table for $8.99.  I was not in the market for a triangle shaped side table. I’ve never even seen a table exactly like this before (and I’ve painted a lot of Goodwill tables like this one and this one.) So of course, I had to buy it! I have a few ideas for upcycling this into something amazing. Stay tuned …

Before we headed out on our Goodwill adventure, my husband reminded me to look for a bulletin board for his office. I recently upcycled a Goodwill bulletin board into a customized memory board. The bright colors and fabric I used weren’t his style. He prefers a classic look with a wooden frame. I found it … and it only cost $6.99. A brand new bulletin board the same size costs $24.99 at the big box store. (I looked it up!)

Finally, I found my favorite treasure of the day all the way in the back of the store in the Seasonal Décor section. It’s a glittery peace sign Christmas tree topper from Pottery Barn and it only cost $3.99. Pottery Barn does not appear to make this particular tree topper anymore so I don’t know what it cost brand new. But I found one on Ebay for $36.95.

The price isn’t even what sold me on this item. I have a little artificial tree I put in our entryway every Christmas. The ornaments are glittery gold and silver hearts and peace signs just like this one. I’ve never had a proper tree topper for my Peace and Love tree. This. Is. Perfect. I didn’t even know a glittery peace sign Christmas tree topper existed and now I have one – and it only cost $3.99 – and it is perfect.

That’s good thrifting karma!


Carolyn Becker

Courtney Mickalonis is an artist, teacher, and blogger at u003ca href=u0022http://www.allthingsnewagain.net/u0022u003eAll Things New Againu003c/au003e, a furniture and paint boutique in Leesburg, VA. She finds old furniture that nobody loves anymore and makes it beautiful—and useful—again. Courtney teaches furniture painting classes at their Leesburg studio and hosts The Furniture Painting Friday Show live every Friday at 8 p.m. on the u003ca href=u0022http://www.facebook.com/AllThingsNewAgainu0022u003eAll Things New Again Facebook pageu003c/au003e.