Alina Sewing and Design
Yes, pun intended. 😉

But seriously, I can’t begin to count the many amazing things I’ve found at Goodwill/Salvation Army (or any other second-hand/consignment store). Sure, these things are “pre-owned” (“it’s not used! It’s pre-owned!!”…10 points for whoever can name that movie!) and they may need a little elbow grease, but they’re completely worth the time. And the money you save…OH the money you SAVE! Isn’t that reason enough?

OK, a few good examples from my last couple 5-minute trips…


This adorable little glass cloche was just hanging out on a shelf next to a duck stool. (As in…a wooden stool with ducks painted on it.) I was almost so distracted by the ducks that I missed the cloche. So, tip #1 is to DIG. Take something off of the shelf to look it over. Try to imagine it in a different context with a different use. See how creative (or crazy) you can get! For example, this cloche just happened to fit perfectly on top of a cake stand I made earlier this month. BUT, I could also use this as a mini-terrarium (like this). Or the topper for a cheese plate (like this one or this one). All in how you look at it. Oh, and it was marked for $3.99 with a yellow tag and yellow tags were 25% off that week. Total cost: $3.

Remember Victoria? She needed some elbow grease and TLC. But because I was able to look past her immediate appearance and knew her “bones” were good, I knew I had a steal on my hands. Wouldn’t it be fun to collect a whole slew of chairs from different places, paint them all the same color and put them around a dining room table? Something about building the collection over time and from different places seems charming to me. So long as they were the same color/fabric, they’d look like they were meant to be together despite their differences.
Oh, and that pillow? Also from Goodwill…still had the tags on it. And it’s goose down. Those aren’t cheap! (Don’t worry, I disinfected it.) Tip #2: Have some mercy. If you’re in the mindset of finding things in tip-top shape, you’re going to the wrong place. Don’t be afraid to invest a little time into something to make it “new” again.
Total cost: $9.99 for Victoria, 99 cents for the pillow.

My mom asked for a rice cooker for Christmas. This is the exact one she got.

Not even a week later…I found it at Goodwill…never used…for YES…a total cost of $2.99.
Tip #3: Don’t automatically assume that things won’t be in tip-top shape either! You may be surprised by what some people give away.


The great thing about finding dishes at Goodwill/Salvation Army/consignment shops is that they are easy to clean and are cheap. For example, these corningware baking dishes are $9.99 apiece new from the store. Mine were a dollar apiece, making the total cost for all three 90% off of what I would’ve paid to buy them new. Tip #4: Look for quality under the dirt. It’s not uncommon to find high-end or popular name brands.
Finally, tip #5 is to be patient. You won’t always find something great, amazing or life-changing when you go. But people drop off donation multiple times within a day, week, month…so go back! I’ve found Saturday afternoons and Monday evenings to be the best times to go. People clean out cabinets/closets when they’re home on the weekends or wait until Saturday morning to load up the truck with their old furniture. I went on a Saturday morning last Spring to find TEN CARS in line to drop off donations. I came back that afternoon because I knew all of those brand new donations would be out on the floor…and sure enough, the afternoon supply was way.more.awesome. than it had been that morning. And because they’re closed on Sunday, if people don’t make it there on Saturday…well, they go on Monday.
So there you go. Five reasons not to discount Goodwill and tips to help.
Now go get some bargains!


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