How to repurpose Goodwill items for gifts

Published on November 21, 2015 By Lauren

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  • Today we are going to take about how to repurpose Goodwill items and turn them into gifts, also some ideas for Reselling items from thrift stores for cash.

    how to repurpose Goodwill items

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    how to repurpose Goodwill items

    Goodwill thrift stores can be a gold mine any time of year, but are an economical resource especially at holiday time when budgets can be extra tight. If you play your cards right, Goodwill stores can also serve as a holiday shopping alternative where you can find great gift-worthy items at a fraction of the retail price.

    Here are a few ideas for how to shop for holiday gift items at your local Goodwill store.

    1.) Look for new in the package items

    When time is of the essence, the easiest strategy for finding low-priced gift-worthy items is to look for items new in the package or new with tags. Do a quick scan of the non-clothing items.  It might work to check out these sections:

    • kitchen products
    • toys
    • linens
    • craft supplies
    • DVDs
    • picture frames
    • sporting goods

    Look on the sales floor, not in the glass cases up front, because the items in the cases are usually marked up and aren’t a good deal. By focusing on non-clothing items, you don’t have to spend time finding the correct size.

    2.) Search the books

    Books are another great gift and you can find plenty in new condition at Goodwill. A large percentage of donated books are brand new – the spine has never even been cracked and the pages are in pristine condition. Books make great stocking stuffers, gifts for co-workers, children’s gifts, and as an addition to a gift basket.

    Sometimes new books are donated because someone received them as a gift, didn’t ever read them, and there could be cash inside from Grandma or some other relative. When you buy books from thrift stores, always flip through the pages to look for hidden cash.

    If you are short on time, walk down the book aisle and look for anything on the bestseller list or has the Oprah’s Book Club logo, as those are always popular titles.

    3.) Search for Shabby Chic Items

    Gifts don’t have to be brand new. If you are familiar with Pinterest and Instagram, you already know that interior design is all about shabby chic, urban farmhouse, and distressed style.

    These types of pre-loved items are trendy and quite sought-after:

    • rusty old tools
    • metal buckets
    • outdoor lanterns
    • wooden elements
    • chalkboards
    • clunky clocks
    • items with chipped paint
    • weathervanes
    • anything made out of burlap

    how to repurpose Goodwill items

    4.) Search for Vintage Items

    Ironically, vintage and timeworn items are considered modern and stylish and these types of items even sell well online on eBay and Etsy, if you have time to flip them for cash.

    Goodwill stores can even be a source for sentimental items. I’m showing my age here, but one year I gave my brother some fun vintage toys for Christmas and he loved them! I found an old Evil Knievel action figure with motorcycle, a Six Million Dollar Man lunchbox, and a Fisher Price school bus – all things he had as a little boy.

    Sentimental gifts don’t have to be in perfect condition or collectible to be appreciated and enjoyed. Vintage items make unique gifts and chances are, the recipient won’t ever get a duplicate.

    5.) Look for items to include in a gift basket

    If all else fails, assemble a creative gift basket will an assortment of different items.

    chef’s gift basket could include:

    • cooking utensils
    • gadgets
    • a couple of cookbooks in a large stockpot

    Or a relaxation gift basket could include:

    • candles
    • fluffy towels
    • magazines
    • bubble bath
    • all delivered in an interesting bucket or tote bag

    The possibilities are endless. Just use your imagination and keep your eye out for items that could work in a gift basket.

    This year when the holiday frenzy starts, don’t forget to include your local Goodwill store as an economical resource for gifts. Goodwill receives millions of donated items annually and the revenue generated from the sale of those items helps more than six million people receive job training each year.

    Goodwill stores are also a great source for buying items to resell online on eBay. If you haven’t learned how to sell on eBay and cash in on flipping items online, check out my tutorial here. Goodwill has helped may people make thousands of dollars over the last 13 years, and you can cash in on this opportunity, too.

    Here are some other posts I’ve done about selling on eBay:

    how to repurpose Goodwill items

    25 Things you didn’t know you can sell on eBay

    how to repurpose Goodwill items

    How to sell on eBay tutorial


    This post was a guest post written by Suzanne A. Wells. Read more from Suzanne A. Wells at

    how to repurpose Goodwill itemsSuzanne Wells made a career out of selling on eBay in 2003 when she was downsized out of a job and went through a divorce with 2 small children at home. Rather than taking a job outside the home, Suzanne recognized that a marriage between cast off items in thrift stores and eBay could result in a profitable home business. Suzanne still runs her original eBay store today, has the largest Facebook Group for eBay sellers with 20,000 members, and has consulted over 500 clients helping them grow their eBay businesses since 2007.







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