Check out what's #AtGoodwillNow

by Andrew Lang, Seattle Goodwill
April 24, 2017

With 40 donation centers scattered across the Puget Sound, Seattle Goodwill receives countless unique, highly sought after items that land on our store shelves and are quickly purchased or rotated out on a routine basis.

In fact, we get so much, keeping tabs on the most intriguing donations is quite challenging. And once a desirable item hits the sales floor, blink a few times and it’s gone.

Well, thanks to our Spring Shop Campaign, we are reducing customers’ fear of missing out.

Seattle Goodwill’s social media channels have always showcased the many items we receive, and we are excited to announce the addition of two new Twitter accounts—one for Capitol Hill (@ShopCapHillGW) and one for our South Everett (@ShopSEverettGW) location—where new donations will be posted on a daily basis in real time.

Throughout the day items will be tweeted out as they arrive on shelves followed by #AtGoodwillNow. Every trip to our stores offers a treasure hunt, and we encourage customers to use the hashtag to share those gems with other Goodwill shoppers. Helping others find items of interest ultimately benefits our free job training and education programs.

While a hyperlocal focus is being placed on Capitol Hill and South Everett, there is a possibility in the future of expanding twitter accounts to showcase all our stores.

Be sure to follow our new accounts and regularly check their feeds to make sure you aren’t missing out on the latest hidden treasures.


Capitol Hill: @ShopCapHillGW

South Everett: @ShopSEverettGW

Don’t forget to use #AtGoodwillNow with your tweets and tag us at @SeatteGoodwill.

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An alternative to buying new or renting expensive winter sports gear

by Bennett Tiglao, Seattle Goodwill
February 17, 2017

With plenty of snow falling in the mountains across the northwest, this winter season has been terrific for winter sports and activities. Unfortunately, one of the main road blocks between a day on the slopes and a day on the couch is affordability. First time buyers of skiing and snowboarding equipment know just how expensive gear can be, not to mention the cost of rentals, gas to get to the mountain and lift tickets.

However, there are less expensive options that offer outdoor enthusiasts the chance to get up to the mountains more frequently without the large price tag attached. Seattle Goodwill has a wide variety of winter sports gear at and our eBay store. And every purchase made helps create jobs for those in need by providing support for our free Job Training and Education (JTE) Programs.

Timing is everything if you’re looking to hit the slopes and save costs. Here are a couple tips on when to go:

  1. If you have the flexibility in scheduling your vacation or your day trip to the resorts, opting to ski early or late in the season will cost far less than skiing during peak season.
  2. Keep in mind the highest demand times. Riding during the day, weekends, holidays and spring break will be the most expensive.
  3. Riding in the evenings, during weekdays and avoiding holidays are the best times for lower ticket prices. You will also avoid big lift lines.

Seattle Goodwill has a wide array of winter sports gear. Below is a checklist of what you’ll need in order to hit the slopes.

  • Snowboard with bindings or skis with bindings
  • Boots
  • Goggles
  • Head gear
    • Beanie/Hat
    • Helmet
  • Winter Jacket & Pants
  • Gloves

Snowboarding vs skiing

If you’re thinking about trying snowboarding or skiing for the first time and can’t decide which to try, here are some of the differences to consider:

  • Snowboarders constantly have to sit or exert energy to remain on edge while they are stationary. Unlike skiing, you will not have poles to help you remain upright and standing when you are not moving.
  • Snowboarding is a lot easier on the knees compared to skiing. Knee injuries are not as common in snowboarding as they are in skiing. Snowboarding can, however, be a lot more challenging on your wrists so make sure you wear some wrist guards.
  • Snowboards work nicely in powder while skis are better in bumps and ice.
  • Getting up after a fall on a snowboard is a skill in itself but once mastered should prove to be easier and faster than having to put your stuff together again after falling on skis.
  • Chair lifts can be a little more difficult for snowboarders.
  • Skiing is easier for most people to learn, but harder to master, while snowboarding tends to be harder to learn, but once learned, easier to advance.
  • Skis can be kept on the entire time while on slopes. Snowboarders need to un-strap/re-strap one foot each run.


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Ten Tips for Cosplay at ECCC + Giveaway

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
February 13, 2017

Cosplay Tips for Emerald City Comicon + Giveaway

Emerald City Comicon (ECCC) is just around the corner. Every spring, thousands of people make their way to the Washington State Convention Center for three days to celebrate all things comic culture—from the artists and storytellers that create them, to the movies, games, and toys they inspire—and a serious swath of pop culture and cult fandoms that have earned iconic and inspiring spots in the hearts of comic fans. (We’re looking at you, Star Wars.)

One fantastic tradition at comicons worldwide, including ECCC, is the cosplay (costume + play). Some cosplay costumes are over the top, featuring exquisite costume design work utilizing seamstress, sculpture, and makeup art skills—whereas others are simple (yet awesome)—and just a matter of putting together the right outfit.

We would love to see your finished costume! Share it with us by tagging @SeattleGoodwill on Instagram.

We’re giving away $25 to one lucky ECCC cosplayer for their costume! Enter to win at the end of this blog.

If you’re new to the cosplay world, but wanting to try it out at ECCC this year, here are a few tips before you start your costume:

  1. First and foremost, know the rules. Before you start hunting for pieces to your costume, or creating your weapon, check out ECCC’s FAQ page.
  2. Look at your character’s costumes in sections. Breaking down the costume can be helpful for finding what you need. For example, look at the base layer, then the outer layers, then the head/face, and the hand/footwear separately. It can help you identify the key components.
  3. Think functionally. You’ll likely be in your costume all day. Will you be comfortable? Will your design allow you to move, see what’s around you well enough to navigate without hurting yourself or others? Can you drink and eat while wearing your costume or use the bathroom?
  4. Keep it as lightweight and breathable as possible. Heavy costumes get uncomfortable and hot fast. Wearing a heavy wig can also contribute to overheating.
  5. Evaluate your skill level. It’s always good to learn new things and push yourself—but if you’ve never threaded a bobbin before, maybe this isn’t the year to sew your own steampunk Chewbacca costume. Being realistic about what you have the time, budget, and skills for will help immensely.
  6. Make a plan for shopping. Once you’ve broken down your costume components, you’re ready to make a list. Items, like base layers, fabric, hand/footwear—and sewing machines—can be readily found at Goodwill. (Check our weekly tag sales to stick to your budget.) Other items, like spray paint, or heavy duty adhesives might require a trip to your local craft or hardware store.
  7. Think outside of the box. A lot of components to cosplay costumes might seem hard to find—but if you think of how things can be repurposed and transformed, a whole new world of possibilities will open up. For example, if your costume needs stuffing—you can repurpose pillows and stuffed animals. If your costume needs a shield—a plastic trashcan lid and some spray paint might do the trick. Pool noodles and other foam floatation devices are a great source for the light-weight structure you may need to build your costume.
  8. Opt for fit over color. It is usually easier to dye a garment than to tailor one. Craftsy has an excellent tutorial on dyeing, and you can use a basic color addition to figure out what color dye you need to add to achieve the color you’re looking for (think blue shirt + red dye = purple shirt).
  9. Keep an “emergency kit” with you at comicon. As well-made as your costume might be, it’s always a good idea to keep a little sewing kit, gaff tape, and a makeup retouch kit.
  10. Give yourself some time. Between finding the right pieces, and assembling them in a way that functions and looks awesome—costumes can take some time. To avoid that hot-glue-mess-and-stress-filled-night-before-con, start the process now!


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Collecting cars: How to spot collectible Hot Wheels and Matchbox

by Bennett Tiglao, Seattle Goodwill
February 3, 2017

Most of us remember Hot Wheels and Matchbox diecast cars back when we were children but for some, the memories don’t stop at childhood. Collecting diecast cars is a time-honored hobby of adults everywhere. Collectors range from automotive enthusiasts to others that collect cars as a way to reconnect with their childhood. Some seek that rare and priceless diecast car for profit or to add it to their personal collections. Between fun and making a profit, collecting vintage diecast cars is a rewarding hobby for any enthusiast.

Metal diecast cars were originally produced by real car companies in the early days of the automotive industry. They were primarily produced to promote their product and get a whole new generation excited about cars.  As their popularity grew, diecast cars became more realistic and accurate, often matching their real-life counterpart to perfection. While many of the original diecast metal toy car brands faded away, Matchbox cars and Hot Wheels continued strong and are still producing many new toy cars released every year.

Differences between Hot Wheels and Matchbox

The origins of these two big names in the diecast car world started in 1953 when UK-based Lesney Products started Matchbox. Hot Wheels was created in the U.S. by Mattel in 1968 and quickly gained a solid footing in the industry with its low-friction wheels and new styles. Hot Wheels seemed to win the battle of the two manufacturers when they ended up acquiring Matchbox parent company Tyco Toys in 1997. Here are a few a few notable differences between Hot Wheels and Matchbox.

  • Realism -- Matchbox cars are more accurately designed to be a replica of the actual vehicle of that era.
  • Packaging -- Matchbox cars came in small, individual boxes reminiscent of match boxes.
  • Flashy ride -- Hot Wheels were designed to primarily be hot rods and ventured into more fantasy realms and focused on speed and racing.

What to Look For

Collectors enjoy looking for a specific type or brand of car but also seek era-based cars as well. Here are some tips of what to look for when trying to find a collectible:

  • A “redline” Hot Wheels car is one that was manufactured within the first ten ​years of production, from 1968 to 1977.  The term “redline” derives from the fact that, during that period, the cars were manufactured with a red stripe on the tire. Redline cars are highly sought after and tend to hold the most value with some cars selling for over $30,000! Although, vintage redline cars fetch a much higher monetary value there is also other kinds of cars to collect.
  • Collectors can quickly grow their collection by adding multiple variations of the same car in different colors or wheel types. Search for “Hot Wheels treasure hunt” and you’ll find that Hot Wheels puts out limited edition cars that are hard to find every year.  

Search online on our auctions site on eBay and to find vintage diecast cars or find specific cars to complete your collection. Remember when you shop at Seattle Goodwill, your directly supporting our free Job Training and Education Programs

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How to spot vintage Barbies and G.I. Joes

by Andrew Lang, Seattle Goodwill
January 27, 2017

She’s been a mainstay in children’s toy boxes for more than half a century. She’s got style, some notable friends, a dreamy boyfriend and enough dream houses to make the most successful real estate tycoon jealous. Who is this mystery woman that’s been a pop culture fixture ever since her creation in 1959 by Ruth Handler?

Barbie, of course.

For baby boomers, gen x, millennials and today’s youth there’s arguably no toy more iconic than the Barbie doll. Odds are, every child from the 60s and beyond at least once had an encounter with Barbie, sisters Skipper and Tutti or boyfriend Ken.

When Ruth bought the rights to Germany’s Bild Lilli doll in 1955, she was taking a risk. At the time, common thought was children, especially girls, only wanted to play with baby dolls. Handler broke that stereotype and opened toy manufacture’s minds on a different front, too.

Barbie’s success got toy maker’s thinking, maybe there’s a market space for a toy that caters to boys? Only a short five years later, the G.I. Joe was spawned by Hasbro’s Don Levine in 1964.

Joe, similar in size to Barbie dolls, debuted as an 11 ½ inch action figure with 21 moving parts. The doll was an instant success and paved the way for today’s modern G.I. Joe, which come in a number of different forms.

Because Barbie and G.I. Joe played such an integral role in our childhoods, they’ve become highly collectible, and Seattle Goodwill is a terrific spot to find some of the most rare, nostalgic dolls made during the past 50 years. Our site and eBay store regularly features new postings.

Here is a small guide and some things to look for when trying to determine Barbie’s value:

  • Copyright information—When looking for a vintage doll, if the copyright information appears on Barbie’s behind and not on the lower back, then your doll is considered vintage (1959-72).
  • Made in Japan—Barbie was only made in Japan until 1972, so if a Made in Japan marking can be found on Barbie’s behind or on the bottom of her foot, then the doll is vintage and could hold some serious value.
  • 1966—One of the biggest mistakes when determining Barbie’s value is thinking the 1966 copyright marking is important. There are millions of dolls with a 1966 marking, ones that were made during the 80s and even 90s.

Here is a small guide and some things to look for when trying to determine G.I. Joe’s value:

  • Size—G.I. Joes came in many different sizes: 12 inch, 11 ½ inch, 8 inch, 6 inch, 4 ½ inch and 3 ¾ inch. The full-sized G.I. Joes were among the first released, therefore they are often highly sought after, but because many of today’s-aged collectors played with the smaller Joes growing up, the smaller figurines also bring high value.
  • Condition—Original packaging is a huge plus and will make the action figure more valuable. Look for cracking or any obvious wear and tear. That will bring down the value.
  • Accessories—It’s not only Joe himself that is valuable. Many of his accessories can fetch a pretty penny. Helmets, first-aid kits, cloth caps and cartridge belts are all highly sought after. The 1967 GI Joe fighter pilot outfit is reportedly worth more than $6,200.

Every purchase made on our online stores supports our mission of providing free job training and education programs for those in need.

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