Happy Spring! April showers might bring May flowers, but rainy days can also bring some fantastic Goodwill finds. When it’s pouring outside, one thing that always cheers me up is grabbing a cup of coffee and then seeing what sunshine I can find inside my favorite thrift store.

Here’s a look at my latest Spring-inspired haul, along with some thrift shopping tips that will keep you from leaving the store disappointed.


Tip #1: Shop during or after a storm (as long as it’s safe to go out). When the weather is rough, but stores are still open, the staff is able to sort through donations and get them on the floor because they have fewer customers to assist. Because all the other shoppers are hunkering down at home, you get the pick of the litter as soon as new items hit the shelves.

With so many rainy days in Spring, now’s the perfect time to take advantage of this tip. Go to Goodwill on a torrentially rainy day, not just light drizzles, for the best selection and least competition. Don’t worry if you forgot your umbrella! During my thrift haul, I found this classic umbrella that just had to come home with me. Its wooden handle makes it feel a little more special than a regular plastic one. Your local Goodwill might have some unique rain gear, too!


Tip #2: If you love something, buy it! Don’t talk yourself out of it just because you didn’t go shopping with that specific item in mind. Most seasoned thrift shoppers have a story or two about stumbling upon their favorite find at an unexpected time. That’s why I didn’t even hesitate when I saw this blazer. It’s not what I came in for. Blazers are so expensive when they’re brand new, so when I saw this one, I instantly tried it on. It’s perfect for my 9-5 job, and it’s a fun layer to go over summer dresses so they can work for Spring! I couldn’t even wait to get to the dressing room to make sure it fit.

Tip #3: When in doubt, put it in your cart. You can always put it back on the shelf if you change your mind before you leave the store. I was on the fence about these running pants at first, but I put them in my cart while I poked around the rest of the store anyway. Sometimes, when I do this, I reassess at the end of the trip and feel comfortable leaving the item behind. But when I was done browsing this morning, I checked in with myself about these pants and felt confident that they were a great choice. At only $9 for brand new, comfy jogging pants, they are just the motivation I needed to get moving with a new exercise routine this Spring. Good thing I put them in my cart when I did — they were the only pair in my size!

Tip #4: Bring a tape measure and know the sizes or colors of specific things you need. One item I had been searching for was a basket or bin that could fit into an empty nook in my bedroom for craft supply storage. When I have specific needs like this, I make sure to keep measurements of the space on my phone. I also bring along a sewing tape measure (it rolls up so tiny) so I can check to see if items are the correct size right there in the store. You may also want to bring color swatches or pictures of certain things you’re trying to match. If you shop prepared, then you’ll never take something home that doesn’t fit or leave something behind that could have.

Tip #5: Shop in the middle of the week. Not only will the store be less crowded, but that also means that the good stuff hasn’t been snagged by someone else. This Goodwill haul adventure I’m sharing today took place on a Wednesday, so I had plenty of time and space to browse around. Wandering along, I was shocked when I noticed this Soma water pitcher peeking out at me from the top shelf in the kitchen section. I have had this same exact pitcher on my Amazon wish list for months, and here it was, waiting for me at Goodwill for only $2 (it retails for $40). Would it still be there if I waited until Saturday to shop? Probably not.

Tip #6: Donate something every time you go. Not only does this keep your home from becoming too cluttered, but it’s also good thrifting karma to give as you get. I’ve been looking for a colorful, lightweight bag to add to my wardrobe for a while, and I feel like this one might have been waiting for me as a reward for clearing out some old bags on my last visit. I love the unique clasp and bright colors. It’s so perfect for Spring!

Tip #7: Learn the discounts. What day of the week do things get marked down at your local Goodwill? What’s the color of the week? Do seniors or veterans receive a discount? These are quick questions to ask staff that can help you save money. Some Goodwill stores even offer you a discount coupon when you make a donation! Keeping the color of the week in mind, I was able to get this bright Old Navy sweater for half off. I love the weight and fit of it. It’s so flattering and will take the edge off of cooler Spring days while still feeling cheery, thanks to its lively color.

Tip #8: Check the return racks outside of the dressing rooms. These racks are filled with items that have caught the eye of other shoppers, so they’re always stuffed with great pieces. It’s almost like someone has pre-shopped for you, selecting the cutest of the cute to try on. When clothes don’t fit just right, or the color doesn’t work for the other shopper the way they had hoped, where does it go? It goes on the return rack! Fantastic finds like this flowy Lauren Conrad blouse will often be hiding there, so don’t pass it by. I really think this might be my new favorite shirt. It’s a favorite color of mine, and the gold buttons make it feel so fancy!


Tip #9: Shop out of season. Years ago, I never would have dreamt I’d be buying this wooden Christmas tree in March, but I’ve since learned the merit of shopping out of season. So even though it’s Springtime now, and I’ve got pastels and picnics on the brain, I couldn’t pass by this perfect little tree with its rustic charm. How cozy will this look in December nestled amongst evergreen boughs with stockings hung nearby?

So, that’s my latest thrift haul! I’m so in love with all of my finds and even more impressed with Goodwill’s commitment to sustainability. Shopping second-hand, reusing items and do-it-yourself projects are all great ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle. It’s also more fun to find something unique at a Goodwill store and give it a second life.

Find the store nearest you with Goodwill’s store locator.