Goodwill Treasure Hunting


My husband recently purchased some new suits, so purged his closet of his old ones. I offered to take them to Goodwill, as I had heard of a new store opening in Falls Church and wanted to check it out. I had received a promotional postcard a couple of months ago announcing the store’s grand opening, touting it as a “green” way to shop. This was definitely a new marketing angle, and had peaked my curiosity as to how this new store would look.

So, earlier this week, I took the suits and a couple of bags of miscellaneous household items to the new store. The facade was rather attractive, evoking a cross between the free-standing Anthropologie in Westport, CT and a casual-chic American-style restaurant. A sign on the door indicated that this Goodwill store is a Live Green Spot (Live Green is a DC-based membership organization that partners with companies, like Herban Lifestyle, that score high on true eco-friendly practices, quality and price). So I dropped off my donation at the side door, then headed inside for a peak.

The interior was well lit, and there were fun, bold splashes of accent color throughout. The merchandise was well-organized, making it easy to browse. It felt like a well-organized discount department store, complete with dressing rooms. There was a huge selection of glassware and dishware.

Goodwill is a great, green concept. All of the merchandise could have ended up in landfills, but instead it is getting a second life. Besides offering many items that are in perfectly good condition for reuse, I know many crafters use Goodwill finds to fashion entirely new creations. I enjoy browsing Goodwill from time to time for unusual containers and sweaters, which I felt and refashion into ornaments or other decorative objects. Last year, while visiting Connecticut, I amassed a dozen wool sweaters in a rainbow of colors from the Goodwill stores in Wilton and New Milford.

I had a short amount of time, so wasn’t able to peruse the sweaters. But I did come across a big collection of Christmas baskets adorned with jingly bells. I snagged several of them, which I will use to put together gift packets for friends and neighbors.

Do you shop at Goodwill? If so, what are some of your favorite finds?

Here are a few of the sweater cupcakes I made.

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Miss ShoeBooty

The following post is by guest blogger, Kia Guarino.

After coming across a fun website with detailed instructions yesterday, we decided to use old wool sweaters to make boots! The slouchy sweater material boot is in style – UGG® makes a few cute designs. However, my budget currently doesn’t allow for purchases in that price range, so we decided to make our own following the directions provided by Urban Threads. The Urban Threads site is mostly focused on embroidery and the boots she made had an adorable embroidered emblem. However, given our inexperience and impatience with sewing machines, we decided to skip that part and just add buttons for embellishment.

We started out by going to Target and picking out cheap flats (mine were a large kids’ shoe) and then to Michaels craft store to pick up a little glue gun. All in all, it cost a total of about $14: $6 for the wool sweater (found at Goodwill),$3 for the pair of flats, $2 for buttons (which we had on hand from a past visit to The Button Emporium in Portland, OR), and $3 for the glue gun. I picked out a cranberry red wool sweater and my mom chose a dark gray ribbed sweater.

Following the directions, we made it pretty seamlessly through the first part. There was a little glue showing on the rubber soles and my sewing was a little lumpy, but overall nothing too horrible. We did have trouble figuring out the last step when the cuff has to be attached, but after a few snafus, we were able to figure that out as well!

In the end, after about 3 hours of manual labor and some trial and error, we produced our very own wool boots!! The cost was much lower than the department store versions, plus they are custom fit!! Since we are both petite, this was a huge bonus. I definitely recommend trying this out, even if you aren’t skilled at sewing, especially if you have an old sweater and pair of flats that you’d like to repurpose!