DIY Cozy Kitchen Kit

by Julia Marchand

Is there anyone on your holiday shopping list who has recently moved? Anyone young and just starting out on their own? Any new marriages to celebrate or roommates you appreciate? A cozy kitchen kit might be just the right customizable gift idea to brighten their holiday season. The best part, other than knowing that your purchase helps Goodwill to create job training programs that meet the needs of local employers in high-growth industries, is that you can completely personalize the gift bundle especially for your pal. Here are a few tips for putting together the perfect little package:

Tip 1: Include items that you know they don’t have or will definitely use. Above is my thrift haul for the kit I put together! I always love cooking with wooden spoons for their versatility and look, so that was at the top of my list of things to include. Tea towels are another one of those items that no one can do without so I made sure to grab some of those. Since it’s almost Christmas, I also tossed in some cookie cutters that my local Goodwill was selling in their original packaging for only a dollar! These are all pieces that my friend either doesn’t have or can definitely use more of so I know they’ll be put to good use.

Tip 2: Share recipes that regularly warm up your own kitchen. This is the really special part of the kit: including your own favorite recipes. If you have recipe cards or if you thrifted a recipe box, perfect! If not, you can always use regular index cards instead. Take some time to comb through your own cookbooks and kitchen notes to pass on the gift of your favorite foods. Good smells and full tummies are really the best way to guarantee a cozy kitchen, after all. You could even crowd-source traditional family foods from friends you have in common to further enhance the gift. The more you add, the better it gets!

Tip 3:  Look in every section for the best box or basket. You’ll need to make sure it’s the right size to hold everything so it might be helpful for you to know what you’re giving before you select the container for it all. My first hope was to package everything inside or tied atop a recipe box until my eyes fell on this beautiful copper basket. It was actually being used as a display for sewing patterns at my local Goodwill, but when I turned it over there was a price tag—score! In the end, this actually worked way better than the recipe box since it’s large and sturdy enough to fit two cute mugs.

Tip 4: Customize colors to match their kitchen. Look for kitchen goodies that match their decor scheme. Think of any neutral items, like this wooden spoon, as a blank canvas. It’s easy to coordinate mismatched thrift store finds when you tie them together with one color. And dip-dying utensils couldn’t be easier! Just find a non-toxic or food-safe paint for your accent color.

To add a fresh apple green handle to my wooden spoon, I first hung the spoon up somewhere safe and out of the way. You can use string, a twisty tie, or even a binder clip to dangle your utensil with the handle-side down. Place newspaper under the spoon to catch any drips then just dip the whole handle into a bottle of non-toxic paint. Read the directions to find out how much time it usually takes to dry, but keep in mind that since the paint is going on so thick, it really will need more time than the directions say. I let mine hang for 24 hours before even touching it.

You won’t want to paint directly on any areas that will touch food, but utensil handles, the sides of a cutting board, or the outside of a bowl are all great places to add some color. They’ll also need to be hand-washed to keep them in good condition for many years to come. Try dipping your handle straight down or tilt the bottle a little for an angled line at the top of the paint! You could take it a step further by writing a cute phrase or a family name over the paint in fancy script. If you go for their name, this could even take the place of a gift tag!

Tip 5: Use items from the kit in the wrapping. If I had gone with the recipe box, I would have used a rolled up tea towel instead of a ribbon and bow then tied that around the wooden spoon right on top. But because I found bigger items that I knew my friend would use, I instead tied the cookie cutters so they’re dangling off of the bow. Think about ways you can use the necessities inside your kit to act in place of wrapping paper, a bow, or ribbon. It’s a fun and completely on-theme arrangement for the gift!

This is such an easy way to find something special for the people on your list this holiday season. With the personal touches like favorite recipes and hand-painted accents, they are sure to appreciate your thoughtfulness. Plus, every time each item is used to stir, simmer, or sift, you’ll warm up their cozy kitchen all over again. Enjoy this season of giving, my friends!

Goodwill Christmas Gift Guide

By Carissa Chatfield

Christmas is almost one week away! Do you still have last minute Christmas gifts to buy on your shopping list? This year, why not try shopping at Goodwill? Shopping at Goodwill is not only good for the environment because you are helping recycle but easy on your wallet and you will find amazing, unique items for everyone on your list. What’s great about shopping at Goodwill is 87 cents of every dollar you spend goes back towards our mission of helping individuals find job training and employment. Keep reading for a few last-minute gift ideas you can find at Goodwill.


If you have an avid reader to buy for this year, check out our book selection. We have books for the kids, teens, and adults in many different genres including: suspense, mystery, romance, fiction, and non-fiction. Your wallet will thank you because books are at a great price of $0.75 for kids, $1.50 for paperback, and $2.00 for hardcover.

Movies/TV Shows

Movies and TV shows make a great gift for a movie night or movie buff in your life. At Goodwill, you will find a variety of movies and TV shows. Action, drama, sci-fi, rom-com, and many more you will find in our stores. At the low price of only $2.00 for DVDs and $5.00 for TV shows you will want to grab some as gifts and for yourself.

Vinyl Records

Records are a hot Christmas gift this year. We have many vintage and modern records at an unbelievable price of only $0.75. Country, blues, rock and roll are a few of the different genres you will find. This is a perfect gift for any music lover in your life. 

Board Games/Puzzles

Board games and puzzles are an excellent gift idea for any age. Educational, strategy, and memory are a few of the different games you will find in our game section. At a great price of only $2.00 you can’t say no to at least getting a few.

Taking it Easy This Thanksgiving

by Julia Marchand

Any time a large group gets together, a lot must be planned. Add the regular chaos of seeing extended family to the struggle that is preparing a Thanksgiving meal and the stress compounds. Take heart though, because there are a lot of little things you can do to prepare that don’t have to be expensive or time consuming! Here are some suggestions…

Image via

This display pinned by Goodwill Industries of Greater Nebraska (Grand Island) looks crisp and bright, and with dishes front and center, relatives won’t have to rifle through your cabinets or pull you away from your dessert plate when they’re ready for their afternoon cup of coffee. Just thrift a bunch of white dishes (that way you can save money and they’ll all match) to use as your décor and when aunt Sue shows up with a Tupperware container of her homemade cranberry sauce, she’ll instantly see her options for dishing it out. This hutch provides such a lovely backdrop, too, with the contact paper update. By brushing some Mod Podge on furniture, you can adhere your favorite fabric in this same way with minimal effort. All of these details make a stunning and functional Thanksgiving display.

Take it easy this Thanksgiving by handing off whatever tasks you can. When you’re short on time Thursday morning and there’s still a long list of to-dos, enlist the help of the kids! You can keep your eye on the mashed potatoes and sprinkle in your secret ingredient when no one’s looking while letting little hands take care of a few other odds and ends. Alison of The Pink Tumbleweed had her kids practice their penmanship by writing out the place cards. Not only do people fawn over anything kids do, if something goes a bit wrong at the hand of a child, it is soon forgotten. If only the rest of us were cute enough to have our mistakes forgiven so quickly, huh?

With the comfortable atmosphere you’re creating, everyone else will want to stay relaxed at this year’s event, too. This flat lay outfit for fellas will be just right – a sweater and warm socks to stay toasty; sturdy boots for stepping outside to walk to dog; jeans for comfort and a collar to dress it up just enough. High five to Goodwill Industries of Lower South Carolina (North Charleston) for tracking down this ensemble. I especially love that the dog is included as an accessory. Classic.

If you’re still having a hard time unwinding this holiday, just remember that any dollars you spent at Goodwill® went toward helping others. Goodwill’s employment programs promote independence and dignity for people who need support to provide for themselves and their families. Knowing that you made a difference in a community member’s life should help you kick back, relax, and enjoy your Thanksgiving. We all have plenty to be thankful for.

Create a Stunning Holiday Table with Goodwill and A Sharpie

by Jenna Pfueller

Nothing says Thanksgiving like a table full of– Sharpies. No? Well, maybe I can convince you that it’s worth setting one out for each of your guests with the same care you place your grandmother’s finest silver.

When I was 19 I found a beautiful old turquoise formica table at a yard sale for $15. I dined at that table with a laundry list of college roommates, various boyfriends, dear friends, family members, strangers, co-workers, hungry pets, and eventually my own little growing family. It was a glorious table that witnessed 16 years of birthdays, holidays, special days and everydays. But during it’s ninth and final trip in a moving truck, it bent so badly to one side that I had to consider that all the memories I had invested in it may not follow me forever.

Which is why I especially love this woman’s super-easy DIY idea to keep the memories of all our dinner guests past and present alive each year at the holidays, or at any gathering. I only wish I’d known about it years ago and made one sooner!

Credit: Deb Mills

Simply visit your local Goodwill or dig through your own linen closet and find a table cloth, runner, or even a plain white flat sheet. Put it on your table for Thanksgiving and Invite each dinner guest to write what they’re thankful for, sign their name, write a message, trace their handprint, or draw a little doodle to remember them by. Then each year you can bring it out again and again to add more and more, like a blank canvas for holiday memories that you can hold onto forever and cherish alongside guests past and present.

Credit: Kathryn Thompson

You can leave it at that and reuse it each year, maybe cover it with plastic to keep it clean and safe — OR you can take it a step further and embroider over their doodle for a more lasting mark that you won’t have to worry about fading with wash and time.

Don’t know how to embroider? It’s simple. Here’s a few quick tips to get up to speed. And if you’re lucky enough, I’ve occasionally found embroidery floss and other crafting supplies for sale at Goodwill, too! Need help with thrifting the rest of the table setting? Mary Elizabeth has a few tips for you.

Credit: Deb Mills

The best part about these memories are that you can take them anywhere and relive them anytime you want. It’s a treasure that can be enjoyed and added to over and over again. And by creating one of these heirloom pieces with linens from Goodwill, you’re helping to prevent one more piece of textile from needlessly entering the waste stream and helping other families in your community. A thrifted canvas for your family’s memories will help to connect people to support services through Goodwill’s programs, including childcare, financial education, transportation, and youth services that help people reach financial independence. And we all know, that’s truly something to be thankful for.

Love Your Sweater Fall Styling Tips

By Carissa Chatfield

A chill is in the air and cold weather season has begun. Chilly temps are a perfect excuse to wear a cozy, soft sweater. What’s amazing about sweaters is they are versatile and look great with a casual or dressy outfit. Every fall I look forward to wearing sweaters because they are very comfortable and look great on anyone. Need some helpful style tips for your sweaters? Keep reading below for a few helpful tips.


A scarf is an easy accessory that will make any sweater look put together. Patterned and blanket scarfs are a popular trend for a good reason. They are comfortable and you can practically wear with them with anything. At Goodwill, we have many different scarfs at a great price of only $2.00! With this price you can buy several for the long winter ahead.


Boots are a fall staple. They can be paired with your favorite sweater and make the outfit look instantly stylish. There are many different types of boots, short, tall, over the knee, patterned, solid, furry and sparkly. If you grab a pair of boots to pair with your sweater your outfit will always look amazing. Need a pair of boots? We have a fantastic selection of boots at a great price of only $6.50.


A handbag gives a finished touch to any sweater outfit. Handbags can match the outfit or give some much-needed contrast. No matter what type of handbag you love, whether it is cross body, shoulder, or clutch, be sure to check out handbag selection in all of our retail stores.  

Don’t forget at Goodwill we have an incredible selection of sweaters. Give your closet some love and stop in one of our stores and grab a few. Your closet will definitely thank you!