Is Good Picking at Goodwill Over??

The other day before I headed off to a little work assignment, I popped into Goodwill. I am fond of my little neighborhood Goodwill thrift store (just a mile away) and am on chatting basis with many of the staff. Now I don’t know if it’s my imagination or not, but it seems to be getting harder for me to find things to buy. I am lucky if I find one thing to buy on a visit.

Here were my “almost finds” the other day:


These 2  bells with boxes sold on eBay in 12/16 for $18.96.

  • I spotted two Lladro Christmas bell ornaments dated 1994 and 1995. They were priced at $9.99 each. I did some quick research in the store and despite the Lladro name they aren’t worth more than that. I put them back on the shelf.
  • I found a cool wooden box with vintage poker chips and cards…but alas it was a 2014 made-in-china repro. 😦
  • I spotted a 1968 original painting of yellow fruit but I didn’t think it was appealing or good enough…or bad enough to be good, if you know what I mean!
  • I found a nice crystal high-ball glass with an unknown acid-etched maker’s mark on the bottom and I was all set to buy but while waiting in the check out line I found a rough spot on the glass. I put it back.

And there it was. Thirty minutes looking and in the end I walked out without buying anything. That’s the part of this biz that most people never think about…the hours spent rooting around for stuff that yields little or no fruit!

Between the damaged goods, lack of vintage things and higher prices, my Goodwill has become a challenging picking spot, and it’s made me wonder if my “Goodwill find days” are over. But then I looked at some of my sales this month and realized a number of things that sold were fairly recent Goodwill finds (except for the quirky blue bird…I’ve had him for a while!).

I bought these four items for a total of $28.00 or so and sold them for $151. After subtracting the cost and fees, I will clear about $115. Not a huge amount, but not terrible either.

Perhaps I won’t write off Goodwill just yet…but thank goodness for estate sales, yard sales and rummage sales. 🙂

What’s your favorite spot to pick??


  1. karen, the internet is replete with the question about whether op shops are worth visiting. in australia church-based op shops have signs (‘priced at $x on ebay’)- on items gifted to them -because they are a business now, paying rent (but not volunteers) = strange ethical conundrum. and weirdly- the non-religious op shops (cat protection society, deaf society, etc) still sell anything they are gifted for a couple of bucks. i always give more – because of course i can- and a donation for cat food and care- because the lovely ladies are not only volunteering their time but have adopted a cat and her litter in the back of the shop.


    1. Yes, this topic is a sated one amongst pickers with plenty of youtube videos and reddit posts about overpriced thrift stores/charity shops. And it is a conundrum…wanting the charity to benefit from the donation, but to also to be make a reasonable profit as a picker!! Nice of you to give extra for the cats!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Simon

    In northern California at least, all donations go through central sitting locations where experts pick out the high value merchandise. I’m not sure what happens to all those high value items but many of them get auctioned online now. That practice of sifting plus a larger number of resellers competing for the leftovers makes finding treasures at Goodwill more challenging.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup, definitely more challenging! In the past at my neighborhood store (Silicon Valley) I have made some nice scores with $100+ profit (art, American Girl dresses, stag-handled knives, hallmarked sterling silver), but no big scores in the last nine months or so. And usually when I’m there about 70% of the other customers are resellers. But I’ll still keep going for now. 🙂 – Karen


    2. That’s too bad. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  3. At the moment…family accumulations over the years. I haven’t finished one attic storage closet yet. I wonder if other families go through this? It would be so much fun to go shopping for those unique pieces you always seem to find!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙂 I actually decided against going to an estate sale today and instead started going through my jewelry. So many things I’m not wearing or appreciating. Decided it’s time to start letting them go! P.S. Sometimes I wish I had your problem!! – Karen

      Liked by 1 person

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