This is a sponsored post written in partnership with Goodwill of the Olympics & Rainier Region.
I’ve been thrift shopping in one form or another as long as I can remember. Garage sales, antique stores, estate sales, thrift shops – I spent a large amount of my childhood in all of them.
My grandfather was a “junker”, long before Magnolia or “shabby chic” was a thing, and he ruled the garage sales of Thurston County, Washington. He would buy pieces and clean them or fix them and flip them for extra money, so when my brother and I visited our grandparents, we got to help polish silver or replace hands on a clock or check out what he was developing in his darkroom (he was an avid photographer and fixed a lot of cameras too).
Grandpa taught us a lot of things, like when to plant sweet peas (around Presidents’ Day, even if the ground is frozen), how to “properly” root for football (quietly, without cursing and always for Washington State) and what to look for at garage sales, thrift shops and antique stores.
The thrift shop training has come in handy often in my life, as I love to save money and I LOVE a good deal. So when I needed to outfit my kitchen after my big breakup a few years ago, I turn to my friends at Goodwill.
(Note: I shop a lot at Goodwill because the selection is great, the people are amazing, and I believe in the programs they have. More than 87 percent of the collective revenue from the sale of donated goods at Goodwill organizations supports and grows their critical community-based programs and services.)
The kitchen aisles at Goodwill are packed full of items and it can get overwhelming. (It’s all super neatly organized, but there’s just so much!) I’ve gone looking for plates and come home with 3 tablecloths, 8 unmatched napkins and a set of 12 forks.
There’s a lot going on in the Goodwill, but you can do this! You just need to be prepared.
I can absolutely help you with that!
Five Pro Tips to Get The Best Kitchen Gear at Goodwill
- Go with a plan…. Know what you want when you go in. Are you looking for saucepans? Go to that section first. Need dishes? Check out the neat stacks on those shelves. Stay focused and get what you need!
- ….but be prepared to abandon it if the circumstances call for it. They don’t have saucepans or dishes that fit your needs? Make sure to check out the linens, as everyone should have one nice tablecloth. Need coffee mugs but they’re all have Garfield on them? Check out the flatware! If you can’t find what you need, see what else is out there.
- Put the pieces you’re interested in into your cart, and weed out later. If you leave it on the shelves, someone else can snatch it while you’re contemplating. You can always put things back, but they frown upon taking things out of other people’s carts. Just make sure you pare down BEFORE you get in the checkout line – and be kind and put things back where they belong!
- Check every inch of the piece. Check for chips and cracks on pottery and ceramics. Check pie tins and springform pans for rust…and remember rust is OK on cast iron (you can clean it). For electronics, they often have a plug you can use to make sure that it is functional. Check the nonstick lining on pans to make sure it’s not flaking.
- Know their worth. Take your smartphone and check similar pieces on eBay or Amazon. Make sure you’re looking at comparable pieces – don’t try and compare the price of a 10″ skillet to a 6 quart stockpot,right?
You can get some amazing deals on great kitchen items at Goodwill! I’ve picked up some of the following during my treks to my favorite thrift store (not all in the same trip!):
- an antique silver serving tray
- a brand new steamer basket
- a set of Pottery Barn square plates
- a brand new FoodSaver
- all the canning jars one mom could handle for a whole canning season
- a whole set of drinking glasses
- a set of sterling silver flatware for 12
- 4 tablecloths and matching napkins
What I’m trying to get at is Goodwill is an amazing place to stock up on kitchenware, even if you’re not on a budget. You just have to keep an eye out and know what you’re doing!
Have you ever found your “come up” at Goodwill?
The Goodwill of the Olympics and Rainier Region has some incredible outreach opportunities, with 30+ programs to help people get prepared to enter the work force. From barista training to warehouse management, the Milgard Work Opportunity Center in Tacoma is packed with so much to help the community; check out the post where we got the chance to tour it last year!
Much love to my friends at Goodwill!