Goodwill 101…How to Tips and Tricks

Our family timeline went something like this…

we started having our children at the same time we were starting our family business.  Not sure how many of you have ever had babies at the same time you were starting a business but if you haven't let me assure you of one is tight.

Like real tight…

So, if I wanted something, like clothes, thrifting was the way I got it. Now, thrifting wasn't something with which I was unfamiliar. Personally, I have ALWAYS LOVED thrifting from way back in high school. It's like a treasure hunt, and let me assure you I have found many treasures while thrifting.

but for those years of our marriage, thrifting was a necessity.

I have been planning on starting a series on Goodwill shopping for a while and I’m so excited about it. For this post, my super awesome assistant\photographer (Elle-Catherine) and I hit up two Goodwills. My plan is once a month bringing you something from Goodwill or another thrift store to help show you how much fun there is to be had thrifting.

Everything pictured below was purchased for this post at two separate Goodwills…the Collerville Goodwill and the Corinth Goodwill. Scroll to a bottom for a price breakdown of everything I purchased.

Since that was the case I developed what I now refer to as my…

Goodwill 101…How to Tips and Tricks

1.} Don’t Expect Anything

NEVER go into any Goodwill with a specific thing in mind because you will be disappointed. This doesn’t mean not to have a plan [more on that later].

This means don’t go in there thinking you are going to find a specific item like a grey sweater with a yellow stripe or a specific brand of a black jean jacket.

Girls, apart from a miracle that won’t happen.

2.} Expect the Unexpected

Prepare to be surprised.

Thrifting, {for the purpose of this post I’m concentrating on Goodwill but it holds true wherever you thrift} holds some treasures just waiting to be found.

Ever heard the phrase

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure?”

Well, that was made for Goodwill [or thrift] shopping.

A couple of my more exciting treasures have been…

a vintage Gucci purse || a pair of Tory Burch wedges || TWO pairs of Tom wedges

Those are NOT what you normally find and I don’t go into every Goodwill expecting to find things like that but I always look for them, cause you never know. I also didn’t find these on the same trip or the same store but multiple.

2.} Have a Plan

A plan isn’t the same thing as expecting something specific.

If you aren’t a girl who normally thrifts {and after this post I hope you become one} then thrift stores can be a little overwhelming…like where do you start.

Goodwill is extremely well organized BUT it can be a little confusing so it’s good to have some idea of what you are looking for.

For example…

When I went shopping for this post, I made a mental list of what type of items I was hoping to find

  • cool graphic tees
  • jackets
  • dresses
  • some athleisure type clothing for baseball games

this kept me on track and focused because I was on a time limit at one of the stores I visited.

Interesting side note, I LOVE jackets of all kinds from blazers to denim to wind breakers, and almost every single one I own came from thrifting. I almost NEVER buy them in a store because I find such cool ones at places like Goodwill.

3.} Don’t Avoid the Men’s Department

And I don’t just mean shop for the guys in your life although that’s a good idea as well, NOPE girls I mean shop in the men’s department for YOU.

The men’s department has the BEST tee shirts, every single one of the tees pictured below came from men’s.

This is the best place to buy soft sweatshirts and hoodies. All those flannels that are so trendy now can also be found there.

Don’t just assume that because you probably don’t shop in the men’s on the regular that you shouldn’t check it out at Goodwill.

Honestly, it is sometimes the first place I will hit up.

4.} Look at Accessories


all these these things will be better priced than at department stores…hands down you can find some of these MUCH cheaper thrifting.

I always look at these before I head out. Truthfully, these aren’t what I buy most while thrifting BUT when they are good…they are good.

If you are a girl, of a certain age, then you might remember carrying something like this purse in the 90's or early 2000's. If you do and you miss it never fear it's coming back. This is becoming a new trend and this one was $7.99

5.} Bottoms are Hard

Not gonna lie to you girls, sometimes finding pants can be difficult.

This, in my opinion, is because jean trends fluctuate and sometimes (not all the time) what you will find in the jean aisle of Goodwill will not be what’s on trend at the moment.

Also, you HAVE to try jeans on.

This is a must.

Of course, you can just buy and hope for the best but honestly I have been disappointed many times while doing this. Jean sizing between stores and manufactures are NOT equal. What one brand calls a size 10 will be another brands size 8.

Refer back to number {2.}…I ALWAYS do a walk through of the jean department because you never know if a treasure is just waiting for you there.

6.} Don’t Trust the Size Listed

This one kinda goes along with number {5.}

I always look at sizes that are larger than I normally would wear because again, you just never know how they are cut or made.

For example, I purchased this skirt this weekend for this post. The tag says size 16. I’m assuming this is from maybe the 1980’s or so because this is NOT a current size 16. I would say it is more like a current size 10.

So, always try stuff like this on.

7.} If at First You don’t Succeed Try and Try Again

For as many times as I have walked out with treasures, I have walked out just as many times with nothing.

That’s a disappointing shopping trip my friends, not gonna lie.

I’m also not going to promise that this might not happen to you, maybe even on your first try.


Don’t give up. There are treasures to be had thrifting.

Let’s Talk Price

Tee Shirts 7 @ $1.99 = $13.93
Jeans $6.99
Shorts $5.99
Skirt $6.99 
Jackets 2 @ $5.99 = $11.98
Dress $6.99
TOTAL: $52.87 for 13 items 

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