Second Hand Items: When it is Best to Buy

If you want to save some serious money when shopping, checking out the vast marketplace of second-hand items is the best place to start. It takes a bit more work than simply buying something new online or at the store, but you’d be amazed at what you can find in thrift stores and antique shops. Here’s a primer on why you’d want to buy used, how to do it, and what to buy.

The Benefits of Buying Used

One obvious benefit to buying used is price of the merchandise. You can guarantee used goods will almost always be cheaper than new goods, and in some cases you’ll find there is a drastic difference.

In terms of quality, used merchandise can actually be of more value than new products. With new merchandise, there’s a chance that what you’re getting isn’t high quality. If you find a used item that’s in good enough condition for resale, odds are it’s a quality product since it has passed the test of time thus far.

You’re not the only one to benefit when you buy used goods. Second hand goods are typically sold by local stores, private sellers, and local nonprofits that give back to the community, such as Goodwill Industries. You could consider yourself to be “going green” as most of these second hand stores keep used goods from going to the landfills and use little to no packaging on merchandise.

How to Score the Best Deals

The second hand marketplace is continuing to grow in demand. People are often finding the best deals are at thrift and consignment stores. Most communities have at least one or two second hand stores for donating and shopping.

You can also find used items on several websites and apps. The most well-known is eBay, but there are also more niche marketplaces available. For example, Shop Goodwill is an online selling platform where you can peruse through a wide array of antiques, jewelry, collectibles, and unique buys that are specially selected from Goodwill’s around the country.

One key to scoring deals when you’re buying used is being able to recognize quality items. You will want to do some research on the products you intend to buy used so that you know what to look for. Let’s say you’re interested in men’s clothing. If you are unsure how to determine the quality of such items, you can use online reviews of garments and the materials used.

Buying second-hand items is not only easier on your wallet—when you buy used goods from a local nonprofit, like Goodwill, you can also help support your community. Goodwill Omaha has various programs that help people with job barriers get into the workforce. You never know what you will find, enjoy the hunt!

A special thanks to Joe Humphries, who is a contributing writer and media specialist for Three Centuries Store. He regularly writes for antique and home improvement blogs. He frequents antique stores, flea markets and Goodwill on the weekends on the hunt for vinyl records and compasses.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month in October

We were very fortunate to have our Work Experience Coordinator, Samuel Comfort, write this blog that outlines what National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is and the steps we, as a community, can take to be inclusive and aware of our words and actions year-round. 


October is recognized as National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). NDEAM is a campaign that celebrates the contributions of workers with disabilities and provides education about the value of a diverse workforce inclusive of their skills and talents. Held annually, NDEAM is led by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, but its true spirit lies in the many observances held at the grassroots level across the nation.

Goodwill Industries is proud to support NDEAM by educating our clients, employees and customers about disability employment issues and celebrating the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. Throughout the month of October, Goodwill hosted events in support of NDEAM such as Mayoral Proclamations in Council Bluffs and Omaha, weekly sign language classes and social media campaigns to engage the community. Through the use of an interactive calendar, Goodwill provided the community opportunities to learn the importance of issues such as person-first-language, disability etiquette and how #InclusionDrivesInnovation.

On October 2, Council Bluffs Mayor Matt Walsh proclaimed support for NDEAM throughout the Council Bluffs community. Close to 100 people from community agencies and businesses, Goodwill’s Work Experience participants, and the Council Bluffs Chamber of Commerce gathered to celebrate the mayor’s proclamation with a ceremonial ribbon cutting.

On October 19, Goodwill hosted Franklin Thompson, Director of Human Rights and Relations for the City of Omaha, at Benson Park Plaza as he delivered a proclamation signed by Mayor Jean Stothert. Goodwill CEO and President Dr. Mike McGinnis welcomed all in attendance, including Omaha Public Schools, ENCOR, Madonna School, Embassy Suites, SourceAmerica as well as Goodwill staff, YouthBuild and Work Experience Program participants.

Basic sign language classes were offered during October at Benson Park Plaza. These weekly classes were open to the public. Classes provided over 40 Goodwill employees and individuals from the community an opportunity to learn the basics of American Sign Language. Attendees also learned about deaf culture in order to more confidently interact with deaf and hard of hearing individuals in their communities.

Goodwill programs distributed a survey to gauge local employers’ inclusive hiring and employment policies in October. The results of this survey will help shape the future of Goodwill’s efforts as we develop trainings aimed at eliminating unemployment among ALL who want to work, including individuals with disabilities.
National Disability Employment Awareness Month activities are not solely confined to October. Goodwill seeks to promote a disability-friendly work environment year-round. Here are some ways we can carry out the spirit of NDEAM.



Using person first language helps avoid perceived and subconscious devaluation when talking to or about a person with a disability. Simply put, person first language emphasizes the PERSON, rather than the disability. Person first language can be applied to any group that is defined by a condition rather than as a people: for example, “those that are homeless” rather than “the homeless.” By using this structure, the speaker articulates the idea of disability as a secondary attribute, not a characteristic of a person’s identity. Disability is only one piece of a whole person.

As our understanding has evolved, so has the use of certain terms. When writing and speaking about people with disabilities, choose words that carry positive, non-judgmental connotations. Avoid words which put the person with a disability into a “victim” category. Consider the use of the word “handicapped.” Like many terms that refer to minorities, there is negativity attached to it. At the least, it denotes a problem or a burden. At worst, it denotes incapability. Strive to highlight what people CAN do, rather than what they cannot.

Click for a list of person first language examples >>>



Striving to place the person first also incorporates disability etiquette. Disability etiquette is something which can teach us to remember the individual traits of a person, not a disability. It is important that we treat all participants, customers and employees in a manner befitting their age, regardless of disability.

Speak directly to a person with a disability, rather than through a companion, aide or sign language interpreter. Don’t be embarrassed if you happen to use accepted, common expressions such as “Good to see you” or “Got to be running along”, that seem to relate to the person’s disability. Making small talk with a person who has a disability is great. Talk to him or her as you would with anyone else.

Respect his or her privacy. If you ask about their disability, he or she may feel like you are treating them as a disability, not as a human being. However, many people with disabilities are comfortable with questions about their disability after getting to know someone. A simple “I don’t feel comfortable sharing that” from the person with a disability can set the tone if it is not something that they are willing to share.

Just because someone has a disability, don’t assume that he or she needs help. Always ask before assisting a person with a disability, “May I help you?” If they need help, they may accept it. If they do not, do not take offense. Never help without asking and if the individual does want help, ask how before you act.

To get the attention of a person who is deaf or hard of hearing, tap the person on the shoulder or wave your hand. Look directly at the person and speak clearly, slowly, and in a normal volume to establish if the person can read your lips. Not all deaf/hard of hearing people can read lips. Those who do will rely on your facial expressions and other body language to help in understanding. Show consideration by keeping your hands away from your mouth when speaking. Shouting will not help the person understand you, but you might ask if pen and paper would help.

When talking to a person in a wheelchair for more than a few minutes, place yourself at the wheelchair user’s eye level to spare both of you a stiff neck. Grab a chair and sit with that person while you talk. Standing over someone in a wheelchair or of short stature causes you both to feel uncomfortable, as well as unnecessary back and neck pain. Avoid touching a person’s wheelchair, scooter or cane. People with disabilities consider their equipment part of their personal space.

When greeting someone with significant loss of vision, always identify yourself and others who may be with you. Say, for example, “On my right is John Miller.” When conversing in a group, remember to say the name of the person to whom you are speaking to give a vocal cue. Speak in a normal tone of voice, indicate when you move from one place to another, and let it be known when the conservation is at an end.

Give whole, unhurried attention when you are talking to a person who has difficulty speaking. Keep your manner encouraging rather than correcting.
Be patient rather than try to speak for the person or fill in the gaps. When necessary, ask short questions that require short answers, or a nod or shake of the head. Never pretend to understand if you are having trouble doing so. Repeat what you understood. The person’s reaction will clue you in on whether you understood correctly. Don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat the parts you did not understand.

Remember, people with disabilities are people first, who just happen to have a disability. Equal treatment is essential to the integration of people with disabilities into the workplace. Thank you to all who contributed to making our October events a success. More importantly, thank you for working to make Goodwill a workplace that ensures all people regardless of ability have access to resources to learn and grow.

Click to learn more about disability etiquette >>>


“The best way to help everyone, is for people to learn, understand and respect all people, whether they are the same or different.”
—Steven James Tingus, MS, C.Phil
U.S. Department of Education

“There is no greater disability in society than the inability to see a person as more.”
—Robert Hensel, Poet, Writer, World Record Holder for longest non-stop wheelie in a wheelchair, 6.178 miles.

#ThriftyThursday- Name Brand Deals

Buying Name Brand clothes without the Name Brand Price

Once a week I like to pop my head into Goodwill’s retail store at 72nd and Ames.   I am usually looking for kids’ clothes and furniture that I can’t live without.   I try to be very selective with what I purchase, so sometimes I walk out without buying anything.   This was not the case last week though!

To my delight, I was able to find a whole bunch of baby Gap clothes.

I snagged a red sweater and legging jeans ($1.59 each) for my daughter and a corduroy jacket for my son ($2.99). All perfect for the upcoming fall season.

I also picked up a pair of green jean shorts and an adorable pink dress with fish for next summer ($1.59 each).

In total, I spent a fraction of the cost – $9.35 – on five pairs of adorable baby Gap clothes. Thank you Goodwill!

Cheap ClothesCheap Name Brand Clothes

#ThriftyThursday – Rockin’ out for little dough


While shopping at Goodwill on 72nd and Ames Avenue, I remembered that you never know what you are going to find.  I popped into Goodwill just to look around.  In all honesty, I was primarily looking for clothes for my daughter.  But as I walked down the furniture aisle, I found an old kid-sized rocking chair.  It was only $5.99! I knew that my two year old daughter would just love it, but it was in rough shape though.

I took it home and turned it over to my husband.  He sanded it down and then we put a coat of stain on it – pretty simplistic as far as DIY projects go.  The end result was better than expected.   It’s a beautiful deep maple color that fits not only my daughter perfectly, but also my living room décor.    In fact, my daughter loves it so much that we had her picture taken it the chair.  We plan to have our six dollar find around for a very long time!

finished chair

Dressing Up Your Mantel With Goodwill



Editor’s note: Say hello to Caitlin! She’s a personal style blogger at who also loves Goodwill! Caitlin will be sharing some of her favorite Goodwill finds with you each month here at the GoodTimes Blog.

A year ago I moved here to Omaha and moved into my first apartment. Considering most of my possessions were from my college dorm room and my childhood bedroom, I had a lot of work to do. My roommate and I scoured the local Omaha Goodwills for items we could use throughout our apartment.

The biggest lesson we learned while decorating was not to take items at face value. Many items can be repaired, painted over, or just turned around so the best side shows. Many of the items you see above on our mantel were from local Goodwills, and many of these items took a little TLC to work in our apartment. (We used a lot of gold spray paint.)

So the next time you’re in need of a bowl, a painting — something to spruce up your living space — head to Goodwill and remember not to take items at face value. And if you find something you love, tweet a pic of it to me (@ReMixHer)!

Guest Blog: Plaid Scarf


Editor’s note: Say hello to Caitlin! She’s a personal-style blogger at Re-Mix-Her who also loves Goodwill! Caitlin will be sharing some of her favorite Goodwill finds with you each month here at the GoodTimes Blog.

Happy December and merry Christmas! Winter dressing can be difficult to “spruce up.” Black and other dark neutrals are the easy way out. Here’s my challenge to you this month: When the cold, dreary days hit, try injecting a little color into your wardrobe. It’s easy to do at Goodwill; I got this cobalt blouse for 99 cents a few months ago at a local Omaha Goodwill, and not only has it been amazing versatile, but it also manages to make my mood a little brighter and lighter, despite the grey clouds outside. So next time you’re at Goodwill, take a chance on a color you wouldn’t necessarily purchase; you might find it does wonders for your mood.

I hope you all have a safe and merry holiday! If you get the chance, stop by my blog and say hi!

Guest Blog: Welcoming Fall


Editor’s note: Say hello to Caitlin! She’s a personal style blogger at who also loves Goodwill! Caitlin will be sharing some of her favorite Goodwill finds with you each month here at the GoodTimes Blog.

Fall finally feels like it’s here to stay in Omaha, doesn’t it? Fall means warm drinks, earthy colors, fuzzy sweaters, and BOOTS! I love shoes in general (proof here), but finding shoes at Goodwill is the best because the price is so affordable. The boots I’m wearing in this particular post I bought at one of the Omaha Goodwills for $15 — and they normally retail for upwards of $200 at department stores.

To find the best quality and the best deals at Goodwill, try shopping out of season. I bought these boots in June. They were sitting on the shelf being overlooked by everyone in favor of summery sandals and wedges. I knew I’d have to wait at least another three months before Mother Nature gave me the chance to wear them, but the price I paid was well worth my patience.

So this fall and winter, instead of buying sweaters and winter coats, try shopping in the short-sleeve shirts and summery dresses for the best deals. You never know what bargains you’ll find!


Next month, I’ll be sharing another Goodwill find of the month. I’m a personal-style blogger and update my blog daily with outfits and other inspirations, so stop by my blog and say hi!

Guest Blog: Work-Appropriate Shoes


Editor’s note: Say hello to Caitlin! She’s a personal style blogger at who also loves Goodwill! Caitlin will be sharing some of her favorite Goodwill finds with you each month here at the GoodTimes Blog.

Women can spend a fortune on shoes. We all need shoes for working out, weekends, work parties, errands, nights out, and work. The list can go on and on, and finding shoes for all of these events in life can get expensive quickly, especially if you buy shoes new from department stores.

Work-appropriate shoes can be the most difficult to find and the most expensive to buy, but if you stop by your local Goodwill to find some, nine times out of ten you’re sure to find something that works. My tip for finding shoes that “work” for work: look for a classic shape in a 1 – 3-inch heel (depending on what you feel most comfortable in). Classic shapes to keep an eye out for are pointy and round toes, and look for shoes in materials that will hold up throughout uses and seasons.

The shoes above I found at a local Omaha Goodwill for $4. They’re suede with ankle straps and a 2-inch heel. When paired with trousers, a silky blouse, and a blazer, they make for the perfect work look that transition well into an after-work activity.


Next month, I’ll be sharing another Goodwill find of the month. I’m a personal-style blogger and update my blog daily with outfits and other inspirations, so stop by my blog and say hi!

Guest blog: Repurposing an old dresser into a changing table

Being a decorator at heart, one of the very first things my husband and I did when we found out we were pregnant with our first child was decide what we wanted the nursery to look like. At first I had grandiose ideas – I had visions of white furniture with adorable pink accessories everywhere. My husband hated the idea of white furniture – he wanted dark wood for the room. We went back and forth for quite a while but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense to buy furniture that we could you use for all our children. Dark wood it was!

Living on a tight budget, we knew we need to be conscious of our spending when decorating the baby room. We decided to buy a brand new crib and chair for the room but wanted to do something different for the changing table. My husband and I both love to get our hands dirty and repurpose old “junk” so we thought it would be really great to take an old dresser and turn it into a changing table. I immediately went on the hunt at Goodwill for the perfect dresser. I found this beauty at the 72nd and Ames location. The minute I saw it, I knew it would be perfect. I especially loved the old knobs and details of the legs.

This was the first time my husband and I had refinished a piece of furniture in this way, so we had a couple questions before we started. The employees at our local hardware store were very helpful. We started by taking all the knobs off and sanding down the entire dresser, including the drawers and legs. We then added a rim of wood to the sides and back with some help from my brother-in-law. We debated about adding the rim but like the fact that it’s an added safety precaution when changing diapers. My husband then used a gel stain that went on very easily and gave a great color to the wood. Lastly my husband put a couple coats of polyurethane on the piece.

We were so pleased with the finished product and how it looks in our daughter’s room, and our daughter loves it too! We can’t believe we bought the dresser for $40 and put about $30 into the restoration. A great piece of furniture that will be with our family for many years to come – and we can say we refinished ourselves!

See? Proof that it's great -- she loves it!

Guest blog: Simple Pieces

Editor’s note: Say hello to Caitlin! She’s a personal style blogger at who also loves Goodwill! Caitlin will be sharing some of her favorite Goodwill finds with you each month here at the GoodTimes Blog.

I have a theory: Shopping is the female equivalent of hunting. You spend hours watching and waiting for that great deal to come along, and when you finally find your treasure, you have to pull the trigger on it. I find my most satisfying “hunting” experiences usually come when I’m shopping at secondhand stores. Finding that piece in your size for a fraction of the original price? There’s no better feeling.

During one of this month’s excursions to one of the local Omaha Goodwills, I stumbled upon this Michael Michael Kors bag for less than $10. I’d been searching for a summery, straw bag, but even with summer coming to a close and all the warm-weather merchandise headed for the clearance racks, I still wasn’t willing to shell out big bucks for a bag I’d only get a little use out of until next summer.

Enter the bag seen to the right.

To get the most out of my bag before the fall fashion season hits, I’ve been trying to carry it as much as possible. A bag this beautiful should take center stage, so I paired it with subdued summer classics: a chambray blouse (also found at Goodwill a few years ago), a cream, lace skirt, wedges, and gold accessories.

Next month, I’ll be sharing another Goodwill find of the month. I’m a personal-style blogger and update my blog daily with outfits and other inspirations, so stop by my blog and say hi! You can also see the original post where this Michael Michael Kors bag debuted by clicking here.