DAY #226 – GOODWILL HUNTING -reusing and recyling

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Oh man, I am basking in the glory of that wonderful pun I just delivered.  “GOODWILL HUNTING”.  Instead of the film I meant thrift store shopping – Come on, that is knee slapping funny right?   Yeah, I thought so!

So I have many friends and family that always say, “you have such fun and creative décor…yadda..yadda..yadda..”  Well, I don’t shop at Pottery Barn. Nope, not Restoration Hardware either. I wish I was shopping at Anthropologie, but since I’m creating art daily (and not getting paid), I shop at my local Salvation Army!

Quite frankly if I were a millionaire, I don’t think I could stop.  I’m 100% fully addicted!

For me, it is the thrill of the hunt.

My girlfriend and I started thrifting back in 1987-90.  Kurt Cobain and grunge were hot, but it had to be authentic.  None of this Abercrombie-brand-new-but-supposed-to-look-worn-stuff.  We were looking for the old plaid flannels worn-out by men who actually labored in them!  We wanted blue jeans with worn knees that got that way because someone wouldn’t part with them, until they were forced to.  Back then we were all the same size and the fight to find the greatest thing ever –first,  was what the trip was all about.

Decades have passed, and I still receive texts of amazing finds from my girlfriend at her favorite thrift store.  Photos that make me scream “BUY IT! BUY IT!” wherever I may be standing.  Our tastes have changed.  We have families, houses, a couple years on us… But there are still inexpensive, unusual and fabulous things we can find to keep ourselves in the realm of the unique.

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Yes, scary clown art does exist.  I find it absolutely fascinating.  Really?  Someone thought that was a good idea?  On top of that, they produced it and someone bought it?  And there’s a very good chance, when I go back, that clown won’t be there, so someone bought it again!


These were some of my finds today:  Milk glass, two bucks a pop.  A vintage Murano glass ash tray – two bucks. I am strangely obsessed with Italian cat figurines with human looking eyes.  I don’t know why, they just amuse me!  A completely bronze dog?  really?  Who made that?  and why? It’s just so strange I must have it!  There are all sorts of goodies and I justify these bizarre purchases by telling myself, I will paint them in a still life some day…yeah right!  I don’t know how people would respond to some of the weird things I’ve collected over the years!

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Now I’m not sure if this is good or bad, but my kids are fairly addicted to.

Check out how serious my son is about finding the perfect “thing”.  I’ll tell you, he came home with the fluffiest bathrobe I have ever felt.  Great job son!

My daughter scored the perfect blue fedora.  I am telling you, I have never seen anything more perfect than that hat on my kid.  I gave them both 4 dollars and they spent two hours playing with every darn thing in the store!

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I myself went with the JCrew dress that still had the original tags on it!  I didn’t really love the top on the dress, so I am going to cut it off and wear it as a skirt to a Friday night summer wedding in a few weeks.  The cost?  $1.99


But don’t try it out for yourself, that would be bad.  I don’t need any competition for all this cool stuff!


Next, we went to RRIE which stands for RESOURCES FOR RHODE ISLAND EDUCATION.


This is a very special place in Rhode Island where all sorts of businesses can unload their “waste” and RRIE will make sure it gets into the hands of teachers, schools and artisans.

You want your kids to be creative?  Show them how!  Let them loose in a recycling center where you buy everything you see for 49 cents a pound!  You want to build a castle?  Go for it!  You want to write 5 books?  Here’s some paper.  In one of those photos, you can see shelves and shelves of felt.  I didn’t even show you the upholstery fabrics!

Again, when we go to a place like this, you are there for hours just touching everything and imagining what you could use things for.  It is so creatively stimulating!

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They had a bin of beret’s – 49 cents a pound!

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So what do you think it cost to run wild in the recycling center? Above is a photo of their scale with all of our loot piled on top.  The cost:  $18 dollars.  Just think of what they can create for their school projects.

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We headed back and laid out all the goods.  Off the kids went.  Trying to figure out how to use what.

My daughter made a Skylander display case for her brother as well as preparations for a school report she will be doing and the boys made a roller coaster for monsters.

As the credit card commercials say, “PRICELESS”.

Absolutely priceless.

Who says you need tons of money to have it all? 

Nonsense.  You just need a little creativity!

Join me on Facebook:  Be Creative Mary


  1. Oh my gosh! The RRIE looks like Heaven on Earth. I definitely have to start planning a road trip. (I’ll just promise my wife a couple hours in Dave and Busters.). I am also totally addicted to thrift stores and my boy loves them as much as your kiddos seem to.

  2. It’s a really beautiful page. Do you think the journaling helped alleviate any of your anxiety? It always did for me.

  3. I just heard a story about this on NPR the other day and that was the first time I’d heard about it. Being in a time of war can make people do, and somehow be able to justify, such horrific things. It’s inconceivable.

  4. Wow! It looks like you and the fam had a great time hunting! I never knew places like RRIE existed! I need to see if there’s anything like that in my area.

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