Monthly Archives: June 2019

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!

 

Fourth of July Kids Activities

With so much to do before your Fourth of July get-togethers, it’s often easy to overlook activities or games to entertain the kids. With the help of Goodwill, these simple games will be fun for kids of all ages and super easy to put together! 

1. Ring the Flag

Place flags some distance away around the yard (adjust for different ages). Players throw a hula hoop or glow in the dark necklaces attempting to ring the flag. Give players 10 tries and count the number of successful rings. Once they ring it, they move to the next one. Lowest score wins! I found a set of three flags for $.99 at the Jackson Township store.

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2. Flag Relay

Fill two large plastic buckets or bins with sand and insert small American flags. Use the same number of flags as participants. Designate a starting point and placing the buckets across from the participants. Split the kids into two teams, and have them form two lines across from their buckets. On your "go," the first person in each line races to the bucket, grabs a flag, and march back slowly like an American soldier! (For safety reasons, don't allow children to run with the flags.) The next person in line cannot go until the previous person has returned with his or her flag. The first team to capture all of the flags wins. Set of three flags was $.99 and adorable red, tin bucket was only $3 during my Goodwill haul.

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3. Red, White, & Blue Tag

Depending on the size of your group, designate two to three kids to be "it." Let all other players select a red, white, or blue necklace to run around with. When "it" tags a “non-it” player, the “non-it” player hands over their necklace. The first "it" to collect the necklaces in every color wins! Three pack of patriotic necklaces were $1.99 at Jackson Township store. After the game, they will be great fun for the little ones to wear!

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I was able to create these fun activities for less than $10 thanks to Goodwill!

Happy playing, happy thrifting and happy Fourth of July!

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Road Trips Goodwill Style

As a mom of three little ones, a beach vacation isn’t always the relaxing sea and sand adventure that I  dream it will be.

Oh sure – we will have a great time, but so often it’s the very long drive to the beach that causes me anxiety even weeks before we set out on our trip.

A more than 13 hour drive lies ahead of our family of five. The minivan will be packed to the brim. DVDs and video games will be watched and played. There will be snacks aplenty. But alas, the little ones will still be bored.

Taking this trip for several years now, I’ve found some fun and inexpensive road trip hacks, many of which involve a quick trip to Goodwill.

1) Survival car caddy.

Check out Goodwill for a plastic art caddy for each child and begin building an individualized snack and play center. For only a $1 each, I was able to buy a caddy for each child.

Quick tips for filling the caddy:  

  • colored pencils (not crayons, they melt if you are traveling in hot climates)
  • pipe cleaners (endless creations can be made from this colorful and inexpensive craft supply)
  • smaller sheets of paper (full size sheets are more difficult to maneuver in the car) 

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2) Pack some pans.

One of my favorite ‘long drive to the beach’ activities, which also happens to be a Goodwill score, is baking pans. No, we are not baking. But, these metal sheets make a great workspace and play space for little ones.

Uses for baking pans:

  • I use magnetic letters, which I already own, to help the crew practice spelling.
  • We attach magnets to puzzle pieces to prevent the pieces from falling on the floor or lost forever in between seat cushions.
  • We also use a magnetic clip to keep coloring pages in place.

Need more ideas? Here is a link to FREE printables from The Measured Mom that can be used on these pans!

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3) Countdown bags.

This is really where you can be creative in your shopping trip to Goodwill.

THE GOAL: fill a bag with a surprise.

The bags can be labeled by the hour of the trip (i.e. Hour 1, Hour 2, etc) or by the destination (Do Not Open Until Wheeling WV or Lexington VA). The surprises inside the bag should not be big or flashy.

Ideas for countdown bags (most of which can be found at Goodwill): 

  • Candy or snack
  • Stickers
  • Family game
  • DVD
  • Pen/notebook
  • Flashcards

It’s Always Autumn offers some colorful, free printables for your countdown bags. Our countdown bags were filled at Goodwill for all three of my daughters for less than $10!

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4) Book, books and more books.

I highly recommend a trip to Goodwill to purchase a few new reads for vacation. There seems to be an endless supply of children’s books at our Goodwill. And, for only a few dollars, we can fill a bin in the car with these finds.

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Some of our books will make it into our Countdown bags, and others will be reserved for reading at the beach.

BOOK TIP: Although our family is a big supporter of the library, I find its too risky to take a library book on our trip for fear it meets a sticky juice box or gets left behind in another state.   

5) Get creative!

Did I mention our drive is more than 13 hours? That’s 780 minutes or 46,800 seconds filled with questions like ‘are we there yet?’ or comments like ‘I’m bored.’

Scanning the shelves during my trip to Goodwill, I wanted to find something new and creative for us to break the boredom in the car. My most favorite find during this haul were these Princess Story Cards. 

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For just $1.49 (50% off retail price), this new, never been used game will be a great new addition to our vacation drive repertoire. The illustrated cards are designed to serve as inspiration for a story that you and others create. My own little princesses will love this game!

EXTRA BONUS: Because this only requires your own creativity, we aren’t limited by age. My girls, who range in age from three to nine years old, will all be able to participate in this new game.

Happy travels to everyone this summer, and happy Goodwill shopping! Got ideas? Be sure to leave your own vacation travel ideas below in the comments.

Father's Day Gift Guide

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Father’s Day is right around the corner! If you haven’t picked up a gift for dad yet, we have just what you need. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started.

Mug

1. Mugs

This Father’s Day mug spotted at our Snow Road location is perfect for your little one that loves big trucks just like dad! Or look for a plain mug to write a message dad can enjoy every morning with his cup of joe. You can always find great mugs at Goodwill!

2. Dad-Approved T-shirts

Shirts like this "Definition of Awesome" one spotted at our Snow Road location are sure to make him laugh. He wouldn't be your dad without "dad jokes" right? Look for graphic tees with those classic jokes or sayings only approved by a dad. We also love this simple and sweet T-shirt tutorial from This Grandma is Fun. Thrift a shirt from your local Goodwill and try your hand at this DIY.

T Shirt 2 T Shirt Diy Fathers Day Gift

Ties

 

3. Fun & Functional Ties

Ties are more of a traditional gift for dad but they're a simple way to freshen up his wardrobe. We found these tie options at our North Canton store. This island/flamingo tie and the mini tiki mask pattern are a great way to prep for vacation or achieving summer vibes in the office. There are many fun and functional options and all at a great price, 

 

Frames

4. Picture Frames

Maybe it's time for new family pictures! Goodwill is a great place to look for frames at a reasonable price. Grab a couple and help him update his work area!  Think the kids would like to get crafty? Buying cheap frames allows a little more experimentation. Have the kids decorate the picture frame and add a photo of them with dad. Or use a frame for a new work of art. We thought this craft idea from Doodle and Stitch is super cute and great from small kids.

 5. Favorite Hobby Finds

Does dad have a favorite past time? We found the golf book ends at our Alliance store for golf and book lovers alike. If he collects vintage records or just has an appreciation for music, this classic was spotted at the West Tusc store. Maybe he’s into bird watching, we spotted this awesome bird clock at our North Canton store. Whatever his hobby may be we're sure you can find something unique for him at Goodwill. Pro Tip: Make sure you know what you're looking before going inside.

Book End Records Clock

 

6. Slippers

You can't go wrong with new slippers for dad! He works hard, make sure he has some comfy slippers to relax when he's home. You could also check out our summer shoe options to keep him fashionable this summer! 

Slippers Mens Shoes

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7. Canisters

Let’s be honest, most of his money goes to the kid's activities and miscellaneous expenses. Find a cute canister he can save up for something he wants to do! We loved these jars spotted at Snow Road store. If he doesn’t keep change, it’s also a great idea for keys or random items he’s carrying around from work.

So there you have it, several ideas to make Father's Day gifting a win! If you don't have time to shop, grab dad a gift card to find some treasures of his own.