Give it to Goodwill: Why it Matters and My Favorite Finds

Hi friends!

You may not have known it, but we are on the tail end of Goodwill Industries Week. If you have no idea what that means, don’t worry. I’m about to break it down for ya.

These beautiful old chairs and the vintage Ralph Lauren plaid I’m wearing are all from Goodwill!

You may only know Goodwill as the “thrift shop” where you found all your bedazzled sweaters for tacky Christmas parties in college. Or, you may be a Goodwill vet who has bought everything from said tacky sweaters, to housewares, to furniture and more. I happen to fall into the latter category.

If you know me, you know I love a good thrift shop. And I have found some pretty amazing things at Goodwill stores across the country (we’ll get to that in a minute). But it wasn’t until my second job at a PR firm in Greenville that I gained a newfound appreciation for the non-profit. One of my clients at the time was Goodwill Industries of Upstate/Midlands SC, and I was tasked with spearheading plans for the 2014 Champions Tribute. This event honors local people who have overcome some form of adversity in their lives and found employment through Goodwill Industries’ many job training and placement programs. To say that the honorees are an inspiration is a huge understatement.

Talk about a #TBT! Peep me and some of my Smoak PR fam posing with Sugar Ray Leonard, who was our keynote speaker at the 2014 Champions Tribute. Photo courtesy of Ernest Rawlins Photography

Also during that time, I was invited to tour their massive donation processing center in Greenville. I am someone who loves to purge the things I’m not using anymore – clothes, shoes, board games, old blankets, that random casserole dish I somehow came to own, etc. Let me tell you, this tour completely changed my outlook on how I get rid of these items. For example, if you’re going through old clothes and find a shirt with a hole or stain on it, you might be inclined to just throw it in the trash. Well, don’t! When you donate clothes or linens to Goodwill, they inspect them, save what can be sold in their stores, and put everything else into separate bins. Those “discarded” items can then be sold to a textile recycler and broken down into fibers that can then be used for a myriad of uses.

The list of things that Goodwill will not accept is actually very small (things like mattresses and TVs). I love this list of things you may not think to donate. You can bring in your old laptop (they’ll professionally wipe the hard drive for you), Christmas lights that don’t work anymore (copper wires can be removed and sold), even your car! Plus, all donations are tax-deductible so always make sure to get a receipt. My point is this – if you’re ever in doubt, at least call your local Goodwill store before dropping off items. You may be surprised!

And now the really fun part! Here are a few of my all-time favorite Goodwill finds over the years:


I have been fortunate enough to discover some AMAZING pieces of furniture at Goodwill. After a random stop in my Houston store last year, I walked out with these gorgeous wood and iron chairs for only $30/each.


Human-tested, Barbara-approved.

Our new apartment in Nashville has a little dining nook beside the kitchen, but we’ve never had enough space in our older places to invest in a table. The space is small so I was on the hunt for a basic round breakfast table since, 9 times out of 10, it will just be the two of us eating there. After a visit to the East Nashville Goodwill, I walked out with this beauty for only $25:

Now to find actual dining chairs!

Excuse the poor lighting and the fact that this is the only photo I have… but I LOVE this table. It is the perfect size and was in amazing shape. I just cleaned it up with a little bit of wood oil (this brand is my favorite – I also used this version on the chairs when I got them since they had a few dings here and there).

Other furniture purchases include a geometric gold frame coffee table with a glass top ($15) and a beautiful oak accent chair that I recently got reupholstered in Rifle Paper Co. fabric (I’ll post more about this guy later – he’s still living with my parents in SC).


I am admittedly a collector of things that I absolutely do not need – aka, tchotchkes. So thrift stores and antique shops are typically dangerous territories. That said, some of my favorite pieces of décor were found at Goodwill stores across the country.


When Dan and I got married, our colors were navy, taupe, and gold and we actually used my ginger jar collection as décor at our cocktail hour and reception. I have jars from all sorts of places (I don’t have a problem, you have a problem), but many of them came from Goodwill!
0733(OLAS)__MG_0502 (3)

View More:

View More: note: if you need a wedding florist, call my girl Andraya. She owns and operates a business called FLORA and she is AMAZING!


I could go on and on but I think you get the point. I would LOVE to hear what treasures you’ve found at your local Goodwill store! Would you be interested in reading a post/posts about the clothing pieces I’ve scored at Goodwill stores? Let me know in the comments below. And remember to #giveitgood – your donations really do make a huge difference.




This post is in no way sponsored by Goodwill – I just love to share an organization that is doing amazing work! All opinions are my own. 


Leave a Reply