Goodwill® Date Night Scavenger Hunt



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 (download the checklist here!) 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:




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!



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.



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.



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…


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


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!


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.

Deana’s Journey to Reaching Her Dreams

Social anxiety is a condition where an individual has difficulty feeling comfortable interacting with people. Deana had been dealing with social anxiety for years and she didn’t feel comfortable leaving the comforts of her house. Unfortunately, her husband lost his job due to the plant shutting down. There was no income coming in, so they had to do something to put food on the table and a safe home for their goddaughter who they just received guardianship for.

Deana and her husband went to the Department of Human Services to receive assistance during this difficult time. They applied for Food Stamps and they helped her husband get a job. However, to receive this assistance Deana had to enter a Goodwill program. Deana started the Employment Skills Training Program through the South Dakota Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. Deana’s work site was provided through Goodwill.

Deana was nervous about working at Goodwill and didn’t know what to expect. “My first day in the door I didn’t know what to think of these people. I was shy and quiet,” Deana said. After about 3 days into this 6-week program Deana fell in love with Goodwill and the culture. She knew that this was where she was meant to be. After the 6-week period, Deana and the staff knew that she still had areas to improve upon. The program was extended to 12 weeks. Deana didn’t have a problem with this though. She said with positive attitude, “I had nowhere to go but up.”

Family is an important part of her life both at home and at work. “We are a strong family at Goodwill,” Deana said.  Deana believes that coming to work with a great team is everything to her. Deana’s family extends to her customers also. “We laugh and pray together,” Deana stated with joy.

Deana is now in the LEAP UP program working towards receiving her High School Diploma. The LEAP UP program has been a challenge for Deana because she has a learning disability, but Deana is determined to work towards her goals. Deana said gratefully, “I have great plans for my life that I never would have achieved had it not been for Goodwill.”

A chance to succeed is a crucial part of the Goodwill mission. At Goodwill, we give people the resources to create a better life for themselves and their families. Our philosophy at Goodwill is we give people “a hand up not a handout.”  We believe that if people are given the resources to succeed they will be able to become self-sufficient.  We serve many people like Deana who need some assistance with developing job skills. Making a monetary donation is a vital role that you can play in supporting Goodwill programs. These donations are not only tax deductible, but you are helping individuals find employment to reach their goals.

3 Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas Perfect for Anyone (Even Yourself)

Valentine’s Day isn’t just for couples anymore! Of course, if you’re a fella looking for the perfect gift to give, we’ve got you covered, but these ideas are also great for galentines or if you’re practicing the very important art of self-love. No matter who you are or who you’re treating this February 14th, we’ve got some easy DIY gift ideas for you!



52 Reasons I Love You

To make this meaningful personalized gift, start by thrifting a deck of cards and a small basket or container. Then collect the rest of these supplies:



Download the word template here and customize 52 cards (you’ll need six and a half pages) each with a different reason you love your valentine. Think of the little actions they do, the parts of their personality that you admire, and specific memories only they could have shared with you. Of course, we can’t love anyone else until we love ourselves so if you’re treating yourself this Valentine’s Day, use this opportunity to recognize the qualities you’re proud of. On hard days, coming back to these cards will empower you to move forward.



Once you’ve printed out and cut your 52 reasons, start trimming the color swatches to size. I didn’t use a ruler to measure, but roughly cut each swatch the long way into thirds. The first third is the side with text so trim that off and discard. The rest can be cut in half to create two mini-swatches of each color. Snip off all the white portions to get your individual pieces.



Write 1-52 numbers out on each swatch. I like the look of mixing up the colors, but you could also make a beautiful ombre effect by organizing them just so.


Layer a playing card on the bottom, a reason page in the middle, and a number swatch on top before stapling the pieces in place. Using gold, pink, or red staples is another fun and easy way to introduce color!


Organize the cards in your basket (or whatever little box you thrifted) and finish it off with a title card. Fold this over the handle and staple it in place! If you don’t have a handle, fold it into a C shape and tuck one end in front of the cards and the other behind. Voila!



Puzzle Pieces Easy Art

Do you and your partner fit together like puzzle pieces? Grab a second-hand puzzle and picture frame from Goodwill then collect these other supplies to make your own easy art:


Assemble and paint the puzzle with whatever colors you choose. Go abstract, just letting the paintbrush do its thing while you mull over the perfect phrase for your art piece. I decided to use the title from one of our favorite songs by Penny and the Quarters, but if your valentine isn’t a partner, rephrase the words! Use an inside joke for a best friend or an affirming mantra to remind yourself of something positive every day.


While your paint dries, use the Exacto knife to cut out the appropriate letters. Decide on the placement carefully before removing the adhesive back. When you’re sure you love your layout and you’re positive the paint is dry, stick the letters on and frame your new art! I think the subtle puzzle shapes peeking through blush tones topped by stark black letters create a satisfying contrast. If you’re looking for another way to re-purpose puzzle pieces, check out this DIY card tutorial.



Quick Glass Photo Transfer

Finally, making some personalized glass votives would be a classy way to light up date night or brighten a friend’s home. Making these for yourself? Choose images that inspire you. This project works for any image (black and white or full color!) printed on a laser printer or cut from a magazine. Size your images appropriately and print them to get started. Then, thrift some glassware and watch the video below to find out how easy this customizable craft is. You could even place an image on the bottom of a clear glass plate to act as a jewelry holder or key catch!

Step 1: Print your photos on a laser printer and cut to size.
Step 2: Place a piece of heavy duty packing tape over the image. Be careful not to let any bubbles in. Gently press.
Step 3: Trim the excess tape and paper.
Step 4: Use a craft stick to “burnish” (rub vigorously) the entire image.
Step 5: Soak the image in warm water for several minutes.
Step 6: Use your thumbs to rub the gummy paper off the tape.
Step 7: Allow the image to dry, then place on your glass and press. Use the craft stick again if necessary to thoroughly secure.

Still stumped? Try a #GoodwillDate! Zip into your local Goodwill and buy a $10 or $15 gift card then tuck it inside a nice card explaining the procedure. This is a thoughtful present that you can give as an investment in the future of your relationship (or as a treat to yourself!). On Valentine’s Day, decide when you’ll enjoy the thrifting rendezvous no matter who your date is!

There’s one other sweet side effect of shopping at Goodwill this Valentine’s Day: Through its entrepreneurial business model of collecting and selling donated goods, Goodwill organizations help communities extend the life of usable items—like playing cards, puzzles, and glassware—in environmentally sound ways and prevent items from piling up in local landfills. Even better, right? We hope to see you soon!

Outlet Center New Hours

We are excited to announce that the Goodwill Outlet Center will be open Saturdays from 10am to 3pm starting October 6, 2018!

The Goodwill Outlet Center is located at 3100 W. 4th St., Sioux City, IA next to our retail store. We invite the community to come out and experience the thrill of the hunt. You can expect to find deep discounts by buying items by the pound (with the exception of furniture, electronics and large items).

The outlet store allows Goodwill to give a second chance to items that do not sell in our stores. This helps Goodwill further decrease contribution to landfills and maximizes every donation. Goodwill makes every effort to recycle items that do not sell through our retail program.

Hours: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday – 10am to 6pm
Starting October, 6th Saturday Hours: 10am to 3pm

DIY Projects for Kids of All Ages


By Julia Marchand

Before I became a mom, I heard a whole slew of gripes from other parents. The one that kept recurring more often than any others was “Kids are expensive!” Creativity becomes imperative for those on a budget who don’t want their little ones to go without the games and goodies that make childhood special, so here are a few kid-approved projects to keep the little ones and your wallet happy…

Image via

Fishing can happen any time of any day when it’s taking place right at home. I discovered this adorable little DIY fishing game lurking in the depths of Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries, Inc. (Cincinnati)’s Baby & Kids On A Budget pinboard. Reel in a few low-priced men’s shirts the next time you’re thrifting and get started on this project on your next rainy day! You’ll feel proud creating something from scratch and might just be able to bait your kids into playing quietly for more than five minutes!


Image via

By now you probably already know that thrifting second-hand furniture is worlds cheaper than buying brand-new. That’s especially true when it comes to kids’ furniture! The worst part about paying full price for the furniture your kids will use is knowing that it will probably be drawn on, scratched, and stickered in no time. Why not start with furniture that is already conducive to your kids’ creativity? Jennifer crafted this truly inspiring playroom and shared it on her blog, Delightfully Noted. It includes a kids’ table that she scored at Goodwill for just $2 and transformed into a chalkboard to stay one step ahead of those inevitable doodles! Go ahead, little ones, draw on!

Image via

Who said everything in your kid’s room can’t be just as fun as the toys they request? I challenge you to turn the most boring object you can think of (a dresser, perhaps?) into something exciting for your bambinos! It really can be as simple as slapping a fresh coat of bright paint on a Goodwill bureau and swapping out the regular knobs for toys you grabbed on your way to the check out, too! I found the above project idea on Goodwill Industries of South Central Wisconsin, Inc. (Madison)’s pinboard of DIY Ideas and instantly loved its kid-friendly quirkiness.

These days I don’t have to trust other parents when they tell me how costly raising a child can be because I know, first hand, that it’s true. Thankfully, I drive past Goodwill every day on my way to and from work so I can easily swing in. Goodwill doesn’t just help my family to live a better life, but it does so for many other families as well. Goodwill agencies have actually been recognized for their forward-thinking family financial stability practices that allow program participants as well as employees and their families to access individual education and training needs that include debit management, budget and credit counseling, and educational workshops. With familial support like that, I am proud to invest my hard-earned dollars in Goodwill stores and come home to my own family a little more inspired.