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25% Off Back to School Savings

No matter if your kids are going back to school in person or online, after the spring and summer we've all had, they are definitely in need of a wardrobe refresh. Honestly, you probably are too! Thankfully, Goodwill is here to help our dollars stretch.

Goodwill is always a place I shop for clothes. Whether it's a special dress for me or back to school clothes for my boys, Goodwill has a little bit for everyone. Best of all, their clothing options change so regularly, that every time you shop, you are bound to find something fun!

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Want to save big on back to school clothes? This weekend (August 7 - 9), stores in the Goodwill Industries of Greater Cleveland and East Central Ohio region will be offering 25% off all apparel at their 22 area retail locations. On top of this, Ohio is offering tax-free shopping weekend. Stack these extra savings to Goodwill's already low prices and you'll be able to scoop up some big bargains. 

To receive this additional 25% savings, you must be a Good Points Rewards member. It's free to sign up and you can do so, right at the register. No coupon is needed. Keep in mind that the discount does not apply to purchases made at the Goodwill Outlet store.

Rachel Photo Couponing With Rachel

 

Rachel Krych is a thrifty blogger who loves to help readers save money. She also writes a weekly column in The Chronicle Telegram and Medina Gazette. You can follow her blog at couponingwithrachel.com or on Instagram at @couponingrachel

Retail vs. Thrift

Prices matter. There is no getting around this fact as a parent, especially when it comes to back to school shopping.

My mom mission this season was to prove to my little ones that both great prices and great styles can be found at Goodwill.

If you are reading this blog, you are probably already a Goodwill believer and have a few great Goodwill finds that you could also share in this post.

However, thrifters know that there are plenty people out there who need convinced of the thrift lifestyle. The savings we discovered during our back to school haul were so great, they might just be enough to convince those non-believers. Here’s my challenge to you: copy, forward or show this blog to those people!

As an avid thrift shopper, I’ve found it best to always hunt for good quality brands. That lesson was learned the hard way time after time when we purchased brand new clothes from discount, ‘fast fashion’ retailers only to find the clothes fall apart or didn’t last through a season

Ralph Lauren is a brand I seek out in men’s, women’s and children’s at Goodwill. The well-known American designer creates classic pieces that can stand up to the toughest children. Even if a piece is several years old, the classic style of Ralph Lauren means that you can probably still buy the same piece at a large retailer today. The difference between that retailer and Goodwill is THE SAVINGS!!

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My soon to be kindergartener is all girl.  She loves dresses and everything pink. At Goodwill, this Ralph Lauren classic polo dress was 85% less than its current selling price. I guarantee she will wear this piece again and again, and when we are ready to donate it back to Goodwill, it will be in just as good a shape as when we purchased it.

Gianni Binni or G, is sold at higher end department stores. I visit our local department store often to see the absolutely adorable outfits put out by this manufacturer each season. I leave the store empty handed most times because the price oftentimes scares me away.

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I had spotted this gray cold-shoulder sweater last year at the department store. The embroidered SATURDAY with fringe was just too cute, but just too expensive at $39. I scored this new with tags attached for less than $5 during our recent Goodwill haul. Admittedly, this is last year’s line from Gianni Binni, but it’s still in demand. I discovered the same shirt, new with tags, at an online thrift site selling for $15. Either way, I saved money with this Goodwill find!

Justice is hugely popular store for pre-teen girls. My middle daughter will wear anything as long as it’s from Justice. That’s no problem at all with me since we spotted dozens of Justice brand items during our recent visit to Goodwill. We purchased Justice leggings, tops, jeans and even this brand new velour hoodie

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The same hoodie is available online for $29.95. Goodwill price? $4.29. That’s 85% off!

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Abercrombie and Fitch children’s hoodies range from $19-46 at the popular mall store. This entire outfit, which included a pair of metallic polka dot leggings, totaled less than $10 at Goodwill.

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Two super soft henley-style shirts (one from Justice, the other by Mudd) were only $3.49 each and will match perfectly with the jeans we bought for less than $5!

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Cooler weather is just around the corner and the adorable owl sweater from Justice was a steal at less than $6 at Goodwill. Even better, it was then 50% off because it was the Color of the Week! With the jeans, this entire outfit was less than $8.00.

Although we had 5-6 more pieces that I didn’t share in this post, I did want to leave with what I considered our best find of the season. Sperry Top Sider shoes have been a staple of boaters for decades, but only recently found new popularity with a younger audience. I admit that earlier this year, I shoveled out far too much money to purchase the latest and greatest Sperry’s for one of my daughters. Little did I think to look at Goodwill for these beauties!

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Brand new and in the right size, these beautiful, sparkly, navy-blue Sperrys were just over $8 at Goodwill. An absolute steal when I see the same pair selling for nearly $60 at department stores!

Goodwill oftentimes mentions that their prices are 50-90% less than large retail stores. Based on this amazing back to school haul, I would average my savings closer to 80% which equates to hundreds of dollars saved for our family!

4 Go-To Tips for Shopping the Goodwill Racks

1. Make a mood board or inspiration board reflecting your style.

The colors and aesthetic you choose will help narrow your search.

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2. If you’re not having much luck in your department, search in the others!

Smaller sizes can fit in larger boy’s clothes, or for over-sized clothing hunt in the men’s

section. For something satiny or drapier, check out the pjs for satin/silk tops, slips, etc.

3. Don’t be afraid of customizing if you can’t find just the right thing!

Being short, I cut my jeans or crop oversized shirts to keep from looking too big.

4. Search for pieces that you can wear multiple ways!

Flannels are a perfect example of this! You can make so many different outfits from just

one shirt. (And you can combine two tips and search in the men’s for some cozy

oversized flannels)

 

Here are some of the pieces I picked up using these tips!

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I grabbed this charcoal turtleneck and tan jacket from the Route 62 Goodwill in Canton and threw on a pair of jeans to go with it! It’s super cozy and definitely fits the aesthetic I set up in my mood board! This is the best part about making a board for inspiration- you know exactly what colors and prints to go for. This is especially helpful if you are limited on time but still want to squeeze in a thrifting trip!

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This outfit is the perfect fall color scheme and it’s even more perfect because it’s all thrifted! I picked up this speckled sweater from the Goodwill in Jackson and paired it with a quirky rust-colored corduroy pant. I like these pieces together so much, it might even be my Thanksgiving outfit!

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This last outfit is drawn from my last tip of shopping in other departments. I got this flannel from the men’s section at the West Tuscarawas Goodwill. It’s super easy to style and make oversized clothes work, especially in the colder weather. I paired it with a plain white tee and a black denim jacket. My pleather leggings are from the Jackson Goodwill, and they add a fun little edge to the outfit! 

Shopping the racks of Goodwill can be intimidating, but if you go in with a game plan it is easier to focus on what you actually want in your wardrobe! It’s definitely not necessary to use all of these tips, but they’re great to keep in mind next time you’re in a bind. It’s crazy how much time you can save when you’re not wandering aimlessly (though that’s fun, too!) Holidays are a crazy shopping time and just time in general for everyone, so minimize the time shopping! Who knows, you may even find some gifts when you pop in!

Goodwill+Fourth of July: Tips and tricks for finding the perfect look!

Hi! My name is Kristi Crane and I would first like to tell you a little about myself. I’m a school counselor, married with a toddler, who LOVES thrifting affordable fashion and style. I’m a consumer who tries to shop second-hand for environmental and personal reasons (i.e. cheaper goods!). There are many ways to shop Goodwill and make it a successful shopping trip:  Most of the time, I prefer to wander the aisles aimlessly for hours, which is usually when I have the most luck!  (This luxury does not come as often as I would hope, because I have a two-year-old) Another way is, to shop for an occasion.  Shopping for something specific can also be a great way to get started if you are new to thrifting. In this post I’m going to give my take on how to find the perfect, simple outfit for the 4th of July!  These tips and tricks are how I typically shop for any holiday, event or occasion. 

1. I tend to need a little inspiration when I’m looking for something specific to wear, whether it be an outfit for a birthday party, wedding, or in this case, Independence Day!  I created a hashtag on Instagram #thisinspiredthat because it helps me use what I have in my closet, and it inspires me during my Goodwill shopping ventures. Below are a few images that I found while searching on Google and Pinterest.  I tend to go for more subtle looks (rather than combining red, white and blue, I prefer to just pick two of the colors).  Sometimes I find an almost identical outfit, and other times I use the images to help get my creative juices flowing (what are creative juices anyways?!?!).

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2. Go to a Goodwill near you.  We are lucky enough to have 3 locations near us that I typically have pretty good luck with. My “go-to” stores are: Southland in Middleburg Heights, Snow Rd. in Brookpark and Strongsville.  I think all Cuyahoga County stores are well stocked and have a good variety for everyone.

3. Shop all sizes….yes ALL of them!  I always start in my size but then I look in all the other sizes too!  If you’re a size large, do not skip the smaller sizes.  If you’re an extra small, don’t skip the larger sizes!  I’ve found great pieces that were mismarked, ran big/small, and items placed in the wrong size section.  If I didn’t look in all of the sizes, I wouldn’t have found some of the items I own now! Other hacks...if you’re smaller, check the larger kids section, and also check mens….you never know what goodies you will find.

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4. Pull everything that might work and have a little try-on session!!  I try on all pieces before I take anything home.  I don’t have time to make returns, so I make sure I love it first.  Here are all my looks:

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5. Pictured was everything I found solely at the Strongsville location. I ended up purchasing the ladybug striped top, chambray dress, an alternative blue tee that is not pictured (it was half off!), a white ruffle blouse, a window pain chambray, AND ...bonus, I also found white jeans!!!!  WHAT?!?!  I will also pair some of these pieces with skirts, shorts, red sandals etc. Please use these or other inspiration photos to create your own look!  Use the #thisinspiredthat on IG and show us what you come up with!  Happy 4th of July!

 

Upcycled Dress from Goodwill

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Hello, again friends! So for this months blog post I wanted to share a somewhat tutorial/sewing inspiration I did to modernize a dress I had thifted a few months back at my local Goodwill. The dress was originally five dollars but because it had a purple tag, I was able to take it home for only 1$. There are many times that I go to Goodwill and simply hunt for a tag color because the fabric from outdated clothing can either be upcycled or used for other projects.

If you want to create a similar look, you won’t need much in the way of supplies. Just basic sewing knowledge, a sewing machine, iron, sewing pins or clips, matching thread color, eye and hook closures, a small piece of interfacing (optional), a sewing needle, and elastic (I used 1.25 inch).

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A few tips in choosing a dress that will be the easiest to work with:

  • The silkier the fabric the harder it is to sew
  • Choose a dress that already fits you
  • Make sure there isn’t a bustle in the back

The first thing I knew I wanted to do was hem the dress to a point above the knee. To do this, I put the dress on inside out, went and looked in a full-length mirror and with a marker made a slash on the fabric letting me know where to cut. I then took it off, laid it on a flat surface and used a ruler and marker to give myself a straight across guideline to cut from.

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Remember to mark the dress a little longer than you want because you’ll lose about a half an inch when hemming the dress. Once you cut off the bottom of the dress, try it on again just to be sure everything looks even and that you have your desired length. Remember that you can always cut more off but you can’t put the fabric back on if it’s cut too short. Set the excess fabric to the side.

Once you are happy with your cut, it’s time to hem. There are tons of tutorials online to create the perfect hem, I’m sure my method is frowned upon by seamstresses but my technique is easy, looks clean, and doesn’t require a million measurements.

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All I do is preheat my iron, fold a small portion of the dress bottom up at a time and press the iron to it. The ironing part is important because this will stop your hem from being curled up and super wavy. I then use my wonder clips to hold the fold in place while I sew. (Wonder Clips are just a different way of pinning fabric that I personally find a lot easier to use. You can find them on Amazon very inexpensively and they hold fabric like a dream.)


Once your hem is ironed and pinned in place, take it over to your sewing machine. I used a zig zag stitch on this hem and I try to get as close to the crease of the fabric as possible. When you’ve made it all the way around your dress, take it over to your ironing board and iron the hem with steam. This will flatten out the hem and even hide any imperfections that could occur if you’re new to sewing.

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At this point, you officially have a new short dress for your wardrobe, but of course, I wanted to take this project a step forward to create a unique matching belt with all of the extra fabric. 

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You need to take two measurements at this point. The first being a loose measurement of your waist (mine was 29in), write this number down because this will be the length of your fabric. Then also take a tight measurement of your waist (mine was 26.5in), this will be the length you will cut the elastic at. If you are using 1.25 inch elastic for your belt, you will need to cut a piece of fabric that is your loose waist measurement x 3 inches. You can either draw this onto your fabric or make a pattern piece of paper.

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Fold your (in my case) 29in x 3in piece of fabric in half (BE SURE RIGHT SIDES ARE TOGETHER AND WRONG SIDES ARE SHOWING) and sew the long edge closed, leaving two open ends. Then turn your fabric tube inside out so that the raw edge is hidden. Next, I fed the elastic through the fabric and wonder clipped it so that the elastic inside the fabric was flush with the raw edge of the belt. To give the belt a cleaner look, I also slightly tucked the frayed edges of the fabric inward, as pictured. Lastly sew the end closed, being sure to sew the elastic AND fabric together. I used a large zig zag stitch.

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Next up is the bow portion of the dress! You can make this as big or as small as you want, and the interfacing is completely optional, but I just knew I wanted a huge girly bow that wouldn’t slouch.


I first cut my interfacing and actually used it as a pattern piece as well. It measured out to be 8 x 10 inches. I only needed to use one piece of interfacing to achieve the bow that I made but if you want it to be super rigid, use two pieces. From there I placed the interfacing on top of the extra fabric and cut two 8 x 10 pieces from it.

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Then create a fabric sandwich that will look as followed: 1st piece of fabric with wrong side facing up, 2nd piece of fabric with wrong side facing up, 3rd piece is the interfacing. pin/clip the pieces together, sew along the edges making sure to leave about a 1.5-2inch hole to flip the fabric right sides out. Then sew closed the hole by tucking the raw edges inward, as pictured.

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To finish the bow you need to make a center ring of fabric to keep the bow puckered together. I did this by cutting a 3x2 piece of fabric, and just like the initial belt portion of the project, fold that in half with right sides together, pin, sew, and flip the fabric inside out so that the right sides are facing out. Gather the large square you just made (the bow part) in the center and wrap the little piece of fabric around it. Clip it in place and sew it closed to create a loop that finishes off the bow.

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To attach the bow to the elastic belt, I lined up where I wanted the bow to sit and took it to the sewing machine. I added a little bit of stitching between the folds of the bow to hold it in place. You can also do this by hand sewing if your fabric doesn’t fit under the presser foot.

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Now the last step is to attach the eye hooks! I added two sets of eye hooks because of the thickness of my belt. To do this I just placed the metal hooks on/in the fabric and with a hand sewing needle I put a few stitches in and around the hooks until they felt secure when I tugged on them. You do not need to use eye and hooks, you could also use snaps or any other type of clasp.

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AND THERE YOU HAVE A FINISHED BELT! This was my first time making a fabric covered belt out of recycled fabric, and while I am sure there are many different ways to make them, I got creative and used items I had in my sewing box to not only keep cost down but also got to experiment with materials I don’t get to use very often.

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All in all, I am extremely happy with how this project turned out. I am not a master at sewing, and yet I created a dress that I am excited to wear all summer long. It's light enough to wear on hot summer days, but still has my quirky flair with the large matching belt. What’s great about this project is that even if you don’t have enough left over fabric from your dress alterations, you can always use scrap fabric from other projects to contrast colors and make the belt OR the bow stand out!

Dress for Success

Being a college student studying Fashion Merchandising, looking good every day is nearly critical. But with what income? I started thrifting in high school and it has carried with me to my junior year of college to keep my looks fresh on a budget. Now that I am in my junior year, the hunt for internships is in full swing. I wanted to bring you all some of the tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way from my classes to look (and feel) your best in an interview!

Here’s what I will be covering:

  • Do's and Don’ts 
  • Styling Tips 
  • Doing It on a Budget 
  • Examples

Do's & Don'ts:

This is the first thing to read about when searching for that perfect outfit. The last thing you want is to wear the wrong color or give off the wrong impression on an important day!

Do:

- Make sure your clothing fits you! Since you can save so much shopping secondhand (especially on brands like Ann Taylor, etc.), you have the money to get some alterations done on the things that need to be fitted.

- Make sure you know what colors look good with your skin! Use this guide as a start!

Don’t:

- Wear colors that could be off-putting to interviewers. Red, for example, is too bold of a color for an interview and could send across the message that you are maybe too confident.

- No open-toe shoes! This is a workplace, not a beach. Save that for your next trip away.

Styling Tips:

While you want to add your own personal style so you feel confident, you still want to look professional! Avoid wearing garish colors or loud prints. They are interviewing YOU, you don’t want your outfit to be the center of attention! If prints are more your thing, opt for a soft and subtle print.

When it comes to jewelry, the less the better. Add a simple necklace or a plain watch. This can be a way to add your personal style while keeping it minimal.

Want to paint your nails? Avoid crazy colors like red or black!  Choose a light pink or nude to look polished (no pun intended) and intentional.

Touching on makeup, you will want to keep that simple and clean as well. Again, they are interviewing YOU and do not want to be distracted by a KISS inspired look.

Be caught up on the company. Not okay with tattoos? If you have visible ones, make sure you can cover them in style! Small wrist tattoos can be covered with a watch, while a blazer can cover most others.

Doing It on a Budget:

Who says you need to buy a whole wardrobe of just professional attire? And who says it has to cost an arm and a leg? Neither of these are true! In my experience, I have been able to find nearly all of my interview pieces at Goodwill. I still feel great even though I didn’t spend Ann Taylor or The Limited prices! Though you are able to find these brands at Goodwill if you are willing to hunt, you can find brands you may not have heard of before!

It is also important to get a few simple basics of professional attire that can be mixed and matched, not just with other professional clothes, but with jeans or other pieces as well so you don’t feel like you are buying a whole new wardrobe. If you keep your choices small, you will avoid over spending.

Examples:

Here are some examples I have put to the test in my interviews!

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While this is more casual compared to some looks, I felt confident and comfortable! The pants on clearance at Target, the necklaces from family, and the blazer and tee from Goodwill! This was such a cheap way to look professional anwere 

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If you can’t tell, I love using printed pants to spice up my outfit. These houndstooth pants from Goodwill are the perfect interview pants. They are comfortable so I won’t be worried about not being comfy when I’m already nervous. Add a basic black tee and black blazer with slides and your outfit is complete! This outfit is more professional than the previous one, but still extremely comfortable! (Don’t keep your hair ties on like me!)d put together. Even though I am wearing a printed pant, it is simple and doesn’t take away from the rest of the outfit.

  

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Bio: 

My name is Sophia DeComo and I am a junior Fashion Merchandising major at Kent State University. I am double minoring in Marketing and Sustainability. I have been thrifting for more years than I can count, and this has helped in my decision to make Sustainability one of my minors. I am so excited to start partnering with Goodwill!