Festive Designs for Your Independence Day Celebration

By Julia Marchand

With Independence Day right around the corner, you may be looking for new and exciting ways to celebrate. Of course, a parade and fireworks are basically mandatory, but don’t forget to dress up yourself and your home! These are two of my favorite ways to enjoy holidays since they really set the tone for whatever merriment is approaching.

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Image via GoodwillEasterSeals.org

The first thing I like to do to prepare for an upcoming event is to pull together at least one themed display at home. Just setting something up on a tabletop or bookshelf doesn’t take long, but can make a great statement. You don’t even need to have guests over to appreciate it! I find that changing up my surroundings even just a little at a time keeps my home feeling fresh and inspiring. This quick and patriotic display made by Sarah for Goodwill Easter Seals (Saint Paul) is exactly what I’m talking about. It’s bright, bold, and brilliantly priced since she found everything at Goodwill!

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Image via GoodwillFabulous.com

Be a firework this fourth by decking yourself out head-to-toe in red, white, and blue like Molly and Penny, the sisters behind the blog Goodwill Fabulous. Can you believe that the dress Molly scored for $4.99 from her local Goodwill originally retailed for $138? That’s about 96% off! I’d say the hunt is well worth it for a price like that. What do you think?

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Image via ItAllStartedWithPaint.com

Another aspect of Independence Day that I truly adore is how social the holiday is. This is not one of those intimate family days like Easter nor is it a one-on-one type evening like Valentine’s Day. It’s an all-you-can-eat, everyone’s invited, break out the sparklers kind of jubilation! As such, it might be a good idea for you to have some snacks and activities on hand. Here are some fantastic ideas for themed décor and pastimes from Marion Goodwill Industries (OH) including the super simple silverware stash above!

But perhaps the most patriotic thing about celebrating the Fourth of July by shopping at your Goodwill is that every dollar you spend is going back into your own community. Eighty-three percent of collective revenues raised through the sale of donated goods support and grow Goodwill’s critical community-based programs and services. Thrifting at Goodwill is such an easy and effective way to help keep your unique community strong to ensure that we can continue to applaud it every July 4th for a very long time.

Marion Goodwill Retail Locations:

Delaware
1135 Columbus Pike
Delaware, OH 43015
Delaware Square Shopping Center

Galion
753 Carter Dr.
Galion, OH 44833
Discount Drug Mart

Lewis Center
123 Neverland Dr.
Lewis Center, OH 43035
Snergy Shopping Center

Marion
1637 Marion Mt. Gilead Rd.
Marion, OH 43302
Forum Shopping Center

Marysville
15709 US Rt. 36 East
Marysville, OH 43040
East Pointe Plaza

Mt. Gilead
527 W. Marion Rd.
Mt. Gilead, OH 43338

Powell
9820 Brewster Lane
Powell, OH 43065
Powell Crossing Shopping Center

Sunbury
149 St. Rt. 3
Sunbury, OH 43074
Sunbury Mills Plaza

Westerville
7107 Northgate Way
Westerville, OH 43082

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Goodwill Date Night Scavenger Hunt

 

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A few years ago, my other-half and I celebrated Valentine’s Day with a #GoodwillDateNight! It was so fun for us to pick outfits for one another and find inexpensive, surprising activities for us to do after we shopped. This year, we thought we’d try another Goodwill date, but shake it up by adding a scavenger hunt! So, I whipped up a quick list of things for us to look for and we headed out to our local Goodwill.

When you shop at one of the more than 3,300 Goodwill stores, you help Goodwill create employment placement and job training programs as well as other community-based services, so we’d love for you and your partner to give our scavenger hunt a try this Valentine’s Day, too! But, before you step into the store, make a plan with your honey about the rules, time limit, and prize for the winner. That way, as soon as you get inside, you can jump right into the game! A few things to consider:

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TIME LIMIT

How long do you two want to hunt around for? The longer you’re there, of course, the more likely it is you’ll both find everything on the list. Plus, you won’t feel rushed to focus on the list and you can do a bit of browsing, too. But at the same time, some people do well under pressure and if you have plans for dinner or a movie after your scavenger hunt, then you’ll need to keep that in mind. Whatever you decide, make sure you’re both on the same page and that you set timers if necessary!

 

THE RULESPhoto3

Are you a viciously competitive team? If so, maybe make sure you’re not being spied on! Should one person start at the back of the store and work their way forward while the other starts on the right and works their way left to minimize the chances of running into each other? Or, do you welcome the idea of bumping into one another? You are doing this to spend time together, after all. And how will you keep track of the items you’ve found—is it just enough to check them off of your lists or do you require photographic evidence?

We know how hard our Goodwill associates work hard to keep stores tidy, so we wanted to make sure we weren’t putting everything on our checklists into a cart for them to have to put back. (Although, if we did find something we loved, then obviously it would be a fun memory of our Goodwill date and have a welcomed place in our home.) So we decided to text each other a photo of each item on the list as we found them. It was kind of exciting to see the progress the other person was making. Sort of like the feeling of watching a sports game and seeing the other team score—makes you want to up your game, right? And we decided that the first person to find an item gets the point for it. I can’t just walk over to something he’s already counted and use that, too. I’ve got to find something different for my list. Tricky!

Another thing to decide ahead of time; if you find an item that actually meets two of the conditions on the list, does that one thing qualify for both or do you have to find a different item for everything on the list? It’s up to you!

Now, what determines the winner? Is it the first person to find everything on the list? The person with the most items checked when your time limit is up? And what happens if there’s a tie? All are important things which you can discuss and decide upon on your way over to your local Goodwill.

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THE PRIZE

You could go a few different ways with a prize for the winner. One of the items on the list is to find a clothing piece for your Valentine. If you’re going by the traditional idea of a Goodwill Date Night (where you choose a statement outfit—sometimes they can be pretty wild—for your partner to wear on the rest of the date), the reward for the winner might play into that. But you could also say that the loser buys dinner or the winner picks what movie you see that night. Whatever works for you! Just make sure you decide beforehand so you know what’s at stake.

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THE GAME

Okay, ready to check in and see how we did? We printed off our checklists, swung by our favorite coffee shop for game fuel, and headed out to Goodwill. I found almost everything on the list (and even a few things that weren’t!). Here’s how mine came out…

THE CHECKLIST:

Something heart shaped
• A pink candle or candlestick
Red roses
A Valentine’s Date clothing item for your partner to wear
A movie with “Love” in the title
A romance novel
A product or item designed specifically for a wedding
A vinyl record made with crooner-style songs
A red dress
A red necktie
A flower vase
• Something with the word “Valentine” on it
• A picture frame with a photo/painting of a couple in it
A piece of diamond jewelry (faux is okay)
• A chocolate or candy tin
• A china set suitable for newlyweds
Cupid’s arrow
A board game that only works with two people (Examples: Battleship, Guess Who?)
• Something that says “Dear,” “Darling,” or another term of endearment
Two matching champagne flutes or wine glasses

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I can’t decide on my favorite find of the date. It was either this heart-shaped baking pan or the adorable cream and sugar containers on the shelf behind it (even though they’re not Valentine’s Day related, they may or may not have ended up in my cart…). I also have to admit that I cheated a little when I texted the dress below to my husband and just mentioned how well it would work as a Valentine’s Date clothing item for me to wear—ha! I mean, it does have little hearts on the label and the faux-leather detailing coupled with the silky bodice is just perfect! It also has a statement zipper in the back which is pretty much my style weakness. I didn’t mind helping his chances of winning if it meant that maybe I’d get to take the dress home!

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All in all, it was a really fun and different way to spend time together for Valentine’s Day. As adults, we rush around between work and our other life responsibilities without much time to play games. It was a nice return to our dating years for us to just set some time aside for the scavenger hunt. I’d rate the date: 10/10 would play again! I hope that whatever you do to celebrate the your loved one this Valentine’s Day, you have just as much fun.

3 DIY Holiday Gifts Made from Thrifted Knitwear

 

3-DIY-GIFTS

Talk about thrifty gifts—I’ve got three ideas for you today that will turn out tons of cozy holiday presents for just about anyone on your list! As an entrepreneurial leader, environmental pioneer and social innovator in the “reduce, reuse, repurpose” practice, Goodwill is all about keeping things out of the landfill. So, we love to see shoppers work on projects like the ones we’ll share today which showcase a few of the many possible outcomes of repurposed knitwear. If you need to make a little bit go a long way this holiday season, this is the post for you…

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Image via tarynwhiteaker.com

Those who celebrate Christmas know that the stocking is an important piece of decor and tradition. Every season we hang our stockings by the chimney with care, so at some point it will be time for new ones. That’s where these stunningly simple drop cloth and sweater stockings from Taryn Whiteaker come into play. With such inexpensive supplies, she must have been able to stitch up this whole set for only a matter of dollars. Even if you can’t think of anyone who needs a new stocking, wouldn’t this be a beautiful substitute for a front door wreath if it were stuffed with greenery? Or, in a smaller size, the perfect topper for a gift? Or a napkin and silverware holder on a Christmas table setting? Just think about the people on your shopping list this year and how this project could work for them.

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Image via etsy.com

For a slightly more neutral holiday gift, we have these sweater ornaments shared by Goodwill Industries of Northwest Ohio, Inc. (Toledo) on their Pinterest page. They would look incredible on a green Christmas tree, but could also bring whimsy to a less Christmas-y display. I can see them piled high in a large hurricane jar for a wintery centerpiece or scattered across a frosty-looking entryway table display to mimic snowballs. They still have a snug holiday feel to them without appearing over-the-top Christmas-y. I bet in one weekend afternoon you could whip out a bunch of these! Just cover up any thrifted ornament and secure in place with glue. If you’re worried that your sweater will unravel when cut, you can draw the pieces you’ll need on the sweater first then use a zig-zag stitch all around those markings before you slice into it. This should keep the weave together so you can get its placement just right on the ornament before the glue sets.

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Image via bo-bedre.no

And here’s one last way to repurpose an old sweater: mug cozies! Even someone who doesn’t celebrate any holidays (but still made it on your to-gift list) would be able to use one of these. You could knit your own from thrifted yarn like the cozies in this picture shared by Goodwill Industries of South Central Wisconsin, Inc. (Madison) on their All Things Christmas Pinterest board. Or, you could use more sweater scraps to make them. If your knit isn’t felted, employ that same zig-zag stitch trick and fold ribbon or bias tape around the edges to further secure it. You could even add buttons to accommodate different-sized mugs if you feel like getting fancy!

So, basically, it IS possible for you to create custom gifts for everyone on your list even just from a knitted sweater or scarf! While you’re at it, any leftover threads of yarn could become tassels for the stockings. Let your imagination run wild and feel great that because your gifts are crafted from second-hand supplies, they’re making a positive impact on the Earth this holiday season.

National Thrift Shop Day

National Thrift Day

Shop Goodwill and Help People Earn Jobs!

Marion Goodwill is excited to celebrate and recognize National Thrift Shop Day on Friday, August 17! By shopping at one of 9 of Goodwill’s stores, you can find a vast array of clothing, accessories, furniture and home décor for a fraction of the price. But our affordable and vintage finds aren’t the only unique thing about us: when you donate and shop at Goodwill you do good for your community.

The revenue from the sale of goods at our retail stores is used to provide community programs and support services such as digital skills training, job readiness classes, and résumé reviews for people who are struggling to find employment. Marion Goodwill provides opportunities for youth, seniors, people with disabilities and people who are underrepresented in the labor market.

This special holiday, Marion Goodwill will be sharing unique assets and videos using the hashtags #BringGoodHome and #NationalThriftShopDay.

“National Thrift Shop Day is always a good time to share our story with our customers. Yes, we’re the store where you can score great deals on fashionable clothing and household items, but we’re also providing services to place people in our community into jobs or help them find new career paths”, said Kathy Wink, Director of Marketing.

So when you’re deciding which store to celebrate with remember that you can make a difference in your community when you grab unique finds at Goodwill!

Put Dad First This Father’s Day

By Julia Marchand
“Parenthood is the hardest job you’ll ever love.” This sentiment shared with me by my mom has been echoing in my head since she said it about a week ago. I know I’m not the only one to agree because my husband and I have had similar, perhaps less eloquent, conversations on the topic. The nights can sometimes feel never-ending, and the days, just as exhausting, so I know how lucky I am to have a partner with whom I share all of the diapers, giggles, tantrums, and snuggles. It’s because I, too, am experiencing all of these parental trials, that I am really excited to celebrate my husband (and my own dad) on June 17 for Father’s Day.

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Image via saltandpeppermoms.blogspot.com

Finding the right gift to show Dad that you care is a difficult thing to do and only gets harder as his super-Dad years stack up. Thinking back over my decades, it’s easy to feel like I’ve run out of ideas! As the blog Salt and Pepper Moms points out, you can only give him a new grill or tie so many times. That’s why I love their idea of curating a customized Father’s Day Favorites basket just for him. Grab a cute, but inexpensive, basket from Goodwill® and go to town filling it with all of his favorites. The basket can be reused around the house after for organization that fits into your décor scheme, but that’s just the cherry on top. The real gifts are the sweet printable cards that you can download and have family members fill out to be included in the basket. Kiddos can draw dad (or grandpa) and share their favorite things about him. More than the treats or usefulness of the basket, Dad will have these thoughtful mementos to hold forever.

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Image via facebook.com/cincigoodwill

If he isn’t a big snacker and you can’t find anything small to fill his basket, the best starting point is probably still to think about what the father in your life really loves. Is it gardening? Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries (Cincinnati) had some great ideas for Dads with green thumbs; thrift a book of gardening tips and some track down some seeds (or even saplings!) then spend the day together in the garden. This is such a wonderful idea partly because time is the best gift you can give and a day together is exactly that, but also because watching something grow that you planted together is like watching the relationship blossom over time, too.

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Image via goodwilleasterseals.org

And while we’re on the topic of investing time, now is the perfect opportunity to applaud Goodwill Easter Seals (St. Paul, MN) for their FATHER (Fostering Actions To Help Earnings and Responsibility) project. This is an ongoing effort through which Goodwill invests time working with fathers to overcome barriers that prevent them from supporting their children. Being jobless while needing to support a family would make an already trying role even more difficult so Goodwill generates opportunities for people to build brighter futures for themselves and their families through initiatives like this.
You can help support this mission simply by donating to and shopping at Goodwill this Father’s Day! A basket, a book, or even some new clothing, will all be appreciated next Sunday as long as they’re accompanied by a great big hug and two wonderful words: thank you. Even through the rough patches, Dad has always put his kids first; on Father’s Day it’s our turn to return the favor.

 

FIVE TIPS TPO REORGANIZE AND LET IT GO

Declutter, Donate and Shop at Goodwill to Give a Fresh Start to Someone in Your Community
By Lorie Marrero

Baltimore_HomeDonation_KMP1309
Spring is a time to refresh and renew. With the change in seasons, why not make some changes around the house by decluttering your basement, attic, garage or closet?

When you’re organizing, it can sometimes be difficult to let go and get rid of the things you’ve been holding onto. Here are five tips to make it easier to say goodbye to some of your stuff.

1. Make room for new things by clearing out the old.
You can’t allow anything new and useful and beautiful to come into your life if you don’t have room for it. So, if your closet is stuffed full of clothes that you don’t wear, or you can’t even see, then you can’t make room for anything new and gorgeous and fun to come into your wardrobe. You have to get rid of the stagnant stuff: Have a flow in and out.

2. Memories of your possessions may no longer be serving you well.
Some of your possessions have memories associated with them, but perhaps they only remind you of things that are better left in the past. Maybe you have items belonging to your ex-partner that were left behind after a breakup or divorce. It can be very therapeutic to get rid of these items. Maybe you are hanging on to paperwork from an old job that you didn’t like. You may also have pleasant memories of a loved one who passed away and you want to honor that person. But what you don’t want is their belongings dominating your space, preventing you from moving on to a new chapter in your life. Whatever you keep, make sure the memories are serving you in the right way.

3. Don’t be a slave to possessions that take time and energy to maintain.
You might want to get rid of things that eat up your time. How much are you dusting and polishing these items? Replacing batteries and parts? Does any of your stuff require care when you go out of town? Time can be a factor to help you decide whether to get rid of something.

4. Fewer possessions simplify your choices and decision making.
Fewer choices mean easier decisions. So if you’re going to select a pair of shoes, it’s much easier to choose if your collection is smaller. It takes a lot more time to make that decision every morning if you have dozens of pairs. You want your possessions to represent who you are and who you want to be. You want your environment to support your goals moving forward. So if you’re debating about whether to keep certain things, and they’re not meeting those criteria, you should probably let them go.

5. “Perfectly useful” possessions may not be perfectly useful to YOU, today.
This is why I love donating my clothing and household goods to Goodwill. Because I know that, not only is the person purchasing that item going to enjoy it, but the revenue is going directly to create opportunities for someone in my community — my own neighbors. Goodwill provides job placement and training services for people facing challenges to finding employment. And that’s a compelling reason to let go of things that are not useful to me anymore, because I know they’re going to a good home and they’re going to do good in the world.
As you reorganize your closets and refresh your wardrobe this spring, give people in your local community a fresh start by shopping at and donating to Marion Goodwill.

Lorie Marrero is a home and lifestyle expert and media personality. She is the bestselling author of The Clutter Diet and The Home Office Handbook. She has served as a spokesperson for Goodwill Industries International, and for other companies, including Microsoft, Staples, Rubbermaid, ClosetMaid, Brother and Swingline.

Random Acts of Kindness Week

 

random-acts-of-kindness

This year’s Random Acts of Kindness week is February 11th-17th. It is an annual opportunity to unite through kindness. This seven-day celebration demonstrates that kindness is contagious. It all starts with one act – one smile, one coffee for a stranger, one favor for a friend. It’s an opportunity for participants to leave the world better than they found it and inspire others to do the same. Let’s turn the world kind!

• Smile
• Call a family member
• Say “I love you” to someone who is special to you
• Hand out flowers
• Leave money in the parking meter
• Hand out blankets, gloves, beanies, etc. for the homeless
• Send someone a note telling them what they mean to you
• Volunteer for an organization you love – like Goodwill!
• Send a Valentine’s Day card to someone
• Donate unwanted items to a charity – like Goodwill!
• Bring your neighbor’s paper &/or trashcans up
• Leave a big tip

For other ideas, visit: www.actsofkindness.org

 

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