Goodwill and Garage Sales

Going green — By on June 25, 2009 at 6:36 am
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Goodwill and garage sales - now that's some advertising!

I’m on a recycling kick this week.  If you aren’t quite ready to jump into dumpster diving, why not salvage the goods before they get thrown away?  Goodwill and garage sales offer many wonderful treasures at a tiny price, if you are willing to sift through the rest.  You don’t even have to don gloves and a facemask.

If you are going to hit the garage sales, you’ll have to get up early in the morning.  Usually the best items go first!  Here in Oregon, I’ve noticed that many sales start on Friday morning – instead of the weekend.  So, you may even want to call in sick – or go late to the office.  By Saturday afternoon, you could be contemplating a mis-matched pair of chipped salt and pepper shakers, after all the other “gems” are gone.

True, you can find bargains at these sales, but you’ll need to be the early worm to catch the proverbial worm!

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A genuine find from the Goodwill

Shopping at flea markets, garage sales, yard sales and the like, is a decidedly “green” thing to do.  If people think they will get some cash for an item, they are less likely to throw it out.  This saves space in the landfills and also cuts down on consumerism in general as shoppers flock to already-used items rather than buy brand-new at the store.

When you purchase from storefronts like the Goodwill and/or Salvation Army Thrift Stores, you are not only shopping green but taking it a step further.  As stated at the Goodwill Industries official website:

We are North America’s leading nonprofit provider of education, training, and career services for people with disadvantages, such as welfare dependency, homelessness, and lack of education or work experience, as well as those with physical, mental and emotional disabilities. In 2008, local Goodwills collectively provided employment and training services to more than 1.5 million individuals.

In short, you can lend a hand and save the planet – all at the same time.  Oh, and need I mention that it costs a mere fraction of what you’d pay at retail stores?

Admittedly, I have not done any dumpster diving, but I am proud to admit that I’ve discovered a wonderful world inside our local Goodwill store.  In the past three months, I’ve found 3 pairs of shoes (two of which had original tags on them and were never worn), a pair of jeans for myself, 2 pairs of pants for my kids, and 3 sets of childrens’ PJs (2 of which also still had the original tags on them).  Oh, and I also got a Pottery Barn ceramic serving bowl in perfect shape… for $2.99!  In addition, I found a used digital camera for my 11-year old son for less than $10.

If you’re like me, you get excited about bargains.  Just remember that department stores and retailers still include a markup on their “markdowns” to make a profit.  If you can be flexible and patient, you can really have fun at Goodwill and garage sales.

Have you been thrift shopping recently?  We’d love to hear about your amazing bargains!

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  1. Pat says:

    Thanks for a great post. Although garage sales have been a part of my family’s life for decades, Goodwill has not…until recently. For most people, including me, it was always acceptable to visit a garage sale and find a bargain. Goodwill, on the other hand, always put me off as as a store full of other people’s junk. Boy, was I wrong.

    Over the last few years Goodwill has become my family’s favorite book store and a veritable hunting ground for treasures. Most of the books we buy for our kids these days come from Goodwill, and they are often one-tenth the cost of buying new (usually $1 each or less). My wife and I highly recommend our new “almost free” library to many of our friends (we love the “real” library, too).

    I still love a good garage sale, as a shopper or a seller, and I love garages in general. My website is dedicated primarily to building, fixing and organizing garages, but I do have a helpful section on garage sales at if anyone is interested.

    For those who want to snub my blatant self promotion (I understand), another GREAT garage sale site you don’t want to miss is This is NOT my site, but it is one of my favorites to visit.

    Keep up the good work and enjoy the hunt!

  2. Stephanie says:

    Hi Pat, I was like you! I never would have dreamed of setting foot in a Goodwill. But a close friend of mine started showing me some of her finds, and it is a true treasure hunt there. The stores are clean and the people are helpful. Thanks for your links on garage sales too! Best,

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