Goodwill is My Mecca

Goodwill has always been a go-to source for most of my furniture needs. Every so often I two-time Goodwill by checking out other thrift stores. Goodwill’s magnetic pull always proves too strong. Curiosity of what might be inside continues to get the best of me. (Remember the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Richard Dreyfus and the mesa–) Last weekend I popped in to some random furniture thrift stores. They left me unsatisfied. There wasn’t enough of a selection to imagine what I could create. What I crave is the unknown, imagining, curiosity, deals, finding a diamond in the rough, all of those play into the draw.

See this table…I often pass these up, but look…


Last week, I got the exciting news that I will be doing DIY projects for Goodwill International (their blog)! I approached them before the end of 2012 expressing my interest. Afterall, I’ve been tooting their horn now for over five years since my writing days on Curbly, ApartmentTherapy, currently The Indianapolis Star, Huffington Post and now HOUZZ.

Goodwill Tip: Always buy in pairs if available!

This may be old news, but if you didn’t know, I first got behind Goodwill’s mission when I was the director of a sewing program at a women’s shelter. Some of the desperate women I befriended (totally blurring the lines you’re supposed to keep ‘not blurry’) were so grateful they were enrolled in Goodwill’s job training program. They shared this and more with me. I could see the boost in their fragile confidence and self esteem levels. It was touching to see them put forth such an effort to climb out of their predicament. A rope had been thrown their way and they were doing their best to hang on. Some made it up and out, others went back to the life they knew all to well. It’s clear to me now that you can lend a hand, be a friend, but you cannot control the path people choose. That understanding lifted a false responsibility burden I used to shoulder.
Today, I feel lucky to be able to share what I know with everyone, privileged or not-so-privileged. In the end, we’re all in this together.
OK. I’m done with that bit of HEAVY.
Let’s get back to making things from all the goodies you find on the shelves at Goodwill–

Made from an old Goodwill clock (kind of my new obsession!)

Not everyone shares the love of the hunt, imagining, and working to create something spectacular, better than they could buy new. But, that’s perfectly A.O.K. I’ve discovered that I’m not alone in this addiction to creating, or spinning straw into gold. Others have stepped forth and also admitted to loving the down and dirty hunt, discovery, contemplation and execution of their ideas. So, for all of us who share this personality, Goodwill is our Mecca. We can’t stay away. If the garage sale or flea market scene is dry, we can always locate a Goodwill (kind of like a Starbucks) to get our fix.

Posted in goodwill hunting | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

6 Responses to Goodwill is My Mecca

  1. alison says:

    Hey, do you know anything about the blue dish in your first photo? My dad gave me one exactly like it, but I don’t have any info about it.

  2. shellyleer says:

    No, I don’t. I just found it on the end shelf and loved it. Sorry.

  3. Jackie Baird says:

    You are definitely the woman for that job! A real MacGyver in the repurpose world! Can’t wait to see your creations.

  4. shellyleer says:

    Thanks Jackie!!

  5. Connie says:

    Brilliant decision on the part of Goodwill to give you this assignment. Someone will have to come up with a more descriptive word than “upscaling” for the clever ways you repurpose items. I know you’ll enjoy this!

  6. Elise says:

    Loved this post! I do the same thing, but with our local “Value Village” as the selection is better (and the store is closer) than the goodwill. And it does benefit a local charity. Wish I had your mad upholstery skills. As it is, I stick to paintable furniture.