5 Things to Look for When Thrifting for Your Dorm 

With the school year quickly approaching, it may be time to start your back-to-school shopping. For some, it may be the first time shopping for a dorm room, which can quickly become a burden, especially with all the high price tags. Secondhand shopping can make it a fun and exciting experience. Goodwill is a great resource with amazing finds at low prices.

While shopping for your dorm, you may find it might be more difficult than you anticipated, especially if it’s your first dorm. One way to make it easier is by creating a list of items you are going to need. A quick Google search will show dorm essentials to add to that list. Some colleges may provide a layout of their dorms online, allowing you to assess the room and amount of space it offers. Space is an important factor to keep in mind when shopping for dorm essentials.

Here are five items to look for when thrifting for your dorm. 

1. Glassware 

Glassware such as cups, mugs and mason jars are great things to shop for secondhand. They have more than one use, which is always great when purchasing items for your dorm. Mugs and mason jars make great planters. With dorm rooms typically being so small, it can be nice to add some greenery — even if it’s fake. You can find hidden gems in the glassware section, offering unique designs and styles.

Glassware also can be used to store stationary items such as pens, pencils, paper clips, scissors, etc. Mason jars make great vases for fresh or fake flowers. A fun, easy and budget-friendly project is to fill a mug with stones and a fake succulent plant. It’s perfect for a desk or shelf in your dorm.

2. Baskets 

Because the small size of dorm rooms usually means limited space, baskets can be helpful for storage. They are a great way to increase your storage while also adding character to your room. Using baskets is a great way to keep your room looking organized and neat by hiding things you may not want to display. Goodwill offers a variety, so you can find different styles, textures and sizes for everything you need to store.

3. Picture Frames 

Something that is great about picture frames is that they can be used for multiple purposes. Beyond holding pictures, they can be upcycled and used as bulletin boards, jewelry organizers, mood boards or decorative trays. 

Find a frame or frames you like at Goodwill, and gather photos and notes you’d like to frame together. Using fabric — from Goodwill or a dollar store — glue it to the cardboard backing. Choose the display you’d like for your photos and mementos. Glue them to the fabric and display in the frame. Viola! You have a personalized piece of decor for your dorm.

4. Mirrors 

Mirrors are a great way to help express your personality through your decor. You can easily upcycle any old mirror into the mirror of your dreams with a few steps. When upcycling a mirror, pick the size and shape you like. Then decide how you want to transform the mirror into something you love. One fun idea is to upcycle a mirror into a chalkboard to write down all of your assignments or inspirational notes.

5. Small bowls and plates 

Small bowls and plates are perfect for accessory trays. Find a tiny plate or bowl that you like and add all your jewelry to it. From rings to bracelets to earrings and whatever other pieces you have, these hold everything. If you don’t wear jewelry, you can use it for hair accessories, such as ponytails and bobby pins. Other ways to use them are as candle holders and soap dishes.  

Next time you’re looking for an amazing find for your dorm, turn to your local Goodwill. Shopping at Goodwill helps your wallet, your community and our Earth. What’s better than finding great deals to make your dorm room unique while also shopping for many great causes!

Now that you have some ideas, find your nearest location