Monday, September 7, 2009

Bargain Shopping -- the fun part about going green!

On Friday I mentioned Goodwill in reference to dropping things off there. Tonight I want to refer to them again…this time by going to the front door rather than the back.

I am a Goodwill addict. There, I said it. If anyone knows of a support group for GAA (Goodwill Addicts Anonymous), let me know. Or not. I actually am thoroughly enjoying this addiction and since it doesn’t seem to have any harmful effects, I think I’ll embrace it rather than try to rid myself of it. Although my kids may be relieved to not have to cringe the next time someone compliments my leather boots and they hear me say, “Thanks. I got them at Goodwill for $3.99!”

I can’t tell you the last time I went to the mall, even though one of Pittsburgh’s finest is just a stone’s throw away – literally. But I rarely miss my weekly visit or two to Goodwill. There’s one conveniently close (about a mile away) and another, smaller but nicer one, ten miles down the road which I visit when I go see my chiropractor. Then there’s the one another six or seven miles north of that one and countless others south, east and west of the city. Pittsburgh is an ideal place to live for Goodwill junkies like me!

When I travel, I seek out local Goodwill stores. If there aren’t any, I’m sure to find a Salvation Army or other thrift store to deliver my fix.

I’ve purchased truly beautiful furniture, collectibles, fine china, designer shoes and handbags and countless gifts, brand new in boxes! It’s amazing to me what people will give away, but I’m oh so glad they do. Target provides the Goodwill stores with their salvage goods – most of which are in perfectly good shape. They may just be last year’s design.

A month or two ago, my husband and I were surveying our living room and we realized that only one piece of furniture in the entire room was purchased new. Even our 27” TV was bought at an estate sale for $30. It’s true we have an eclectic mix of furnishings, but they must work together because several people have commented that our home looks like it’s right out of a decorating magazine. Yet we furnished it at a fraction of the cost most others spend on their d├ęcor.

The best part is that we’re living with furniture that might have been destined for the landfill, except somebody cared enough to donate it instead. Now I’m back on Friday’s subject…which wasn’t my intention.

The purpose of this posting is to encourage you to consider thrift store and consignment store shopping. Why not recycle in this way? Of course, there are some things you want to buy brand new (underwear for instance – although Goodwill sells all of Target’s bras that were salvaged. I haven’t spent more than $1.99 for a bra in years!)

Most baby clothes look like they’ve never been worn. As a matter of fact, I often pick up beautiful clothing for my grandbaby that is still sporting the tags! A $30 Easter dress might run a mere $1.99. I will say, however, that I steer clear of the stuffed animals at thrift stores. Even though Goodwill sanitizes them, I still feel better giving Laura new bears, bunnies and puppies to cuddle.

Another option for picking up some fantastic buys of second-hand stuff is hitting the Saturday morning garage sale circuit. After closing time rolls around, many people hosting garage sales end up depositing their unsold items on the curb for the garbage men to haul away. Each purchase you make may keep something else from that fate.

So, the next time you go to replace something in your house, consider shopping around for a second-hand replacement before hitting the mall or other retail outlet. I know we need to stimulate the economy by flashing our credit cards and shopping for new merchandise. But, if you’re anything like me, you also need to think about your budget. Generally speaking, thrift store shopping fits right in. Oh, and don't forget to carry your cloth bags in with you when you go.

Keeping it green with an eye for a bargain,



  1. Gals from my knitting group purchase old wool sweaters from Goodwill and take them apart saving the yarn for making mittens, hats, slippers and toys!

  2. Norma's knitting group gets a green thumbs up!


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