How to Valentine’s Day shop for the Sheldon Coopers in your life

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
February 6, 2016

Mixed Lot of Vintage Comics: Superman, BatmanAccording to Movoto, Seattle is the third nerdiest city in America. Whether we claim the title or not, it’s likely that we all have a Trekkie, a Whovian, a devoted Star Wars aficionado, an annual Emerald City Comicon attender, or a hard-core gamer (video, table top, RPG) in our lives—we all have our Sheldon Coopers, if you will. (And some of us are the Sheldon Coopers…)

If you’ve got a beloved nerd in your life, and you’re wondering “how on earth can I express my love for Valentine’s Day”—look no further. Shopping Goodwill online and in our collectibles department in-store is an excellent way to score those hard-to-find collectible items for every brand of nerdery.

1995 Kenner Star Wars 'The Power of the Force' Electronic Millennium FalconFOR THE SCIFI FANATIC
If your nerdy loved one is a die-hard Trekkie or can describe in full detail the major (and minor) plot points and themes running throughout all seven Star Wars movies, Goodwill likely has a gift option for your Sheldon. And no matter what his or her favorite sci-fi theme is, there’s probably a LEGO kit or collectible minifigs for it.

LEGO Star Wars Minifigures Ki-Adi-Mundi, Grievous, R5-F7, Boba, DookuFOR THE COMIC BOOK ENTHUSIAST
Goodwill has long been hunting grounds for comic book fans hunting for rare and vintage comic books—for a good value. It’s not uncommon to find smaller sets of comic books in our collectibles department, but the real treasure trove is our eBay store. Right now, there’s a ton of DC, Marvel, and other more obscure comic books there! Go comic book hunting here.

Nintendo Entertainment System NES Video Game Control DeckFOR THE GAMER
Video games. Vintage video games. Table top games. RPG. From our 24 brick-and-mortar stores from Bellingham to Burien to our online stores, we have a plethora of options for gamers. You can check out our eBay for consoles, games, and a variety of accessories for video games of all generations. In store, there’s a seemingly endless selection of table top games, with a unique (often vintage) selection of games in our collectibles department and online. As for the RPG-ers, it’s common to find Magic the Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons materials (and the like) both in-store and online.

The best part of shopping Seattle Goodwill online? If you’re local, you can come pick up the item to avoid shipping costs—and be sure to have your gift in-hand (and wrapped) by Valentine’s Day.

(PS. We also have some gifts for the Bronies in your life.) 

All images in this blog are of items listed for sale in our eBay store as of 2/5/2016. Click on the image to see the online listing! 

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Super Bowl Parties 101

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
February 4, 2016

While the disappointment that it’s not our Seahawks competing in Super Bowl 50 looms heavy in the Seattle air, we’re still planning on partying like it’s 2014. (Well, maybe not quite like 2014, but you get what we’re saying.) Whether you’re planning on attending someone’s party, or throwing your own, here are some Super Bowl Party (SBP) essentials:

This is, of course, the most critical piece. Come ready to have a good time, perhaps engage in a little tasteful smack talk, and enjoy some delicious snacks. Which team are you rooting for? The Carolina Panthers? The Denver Broncos? Team Commercials? Team Halftime Show (aka Team Beyoncé)?

Ok, yes, it’s totally possible to not have an entertainment system and still throw a killer SBP, but there are affordable, easy ways you can take your setup to the next level. For example, have you looked through the electronics section at Goodwill? We’ve got tons of speakers, receivers, subwoofers, and more that can take your TV up a notch. Whether your style is modern and sleek, or you’re looking for that vintage wooden speaker cab look, you’ll likely find something to fit your needs.

Let’s be honest. No one wants to sit on the floor for the whole game. Upping your seating capacity can be super simple just by adding easily stored stackable or folding chairs, or even just adding a plethora of throw pillows around the room so the people who do get stuck on the floor can at least be comfortable down there.

Seattle is the land of AMAZING drinks on all accounts. From the simplicity of our outstanding tap water, to our purveyors of fine family-friendly bubbly beverages like DRY Sparkling Soda and Jones Soda Co., and from the seemingly endless microbreweries to an increasing amount of distilleries, there is an awesome, local option for you. You could even try some game-themed cocktails. Need something to serve your drinks in? (Or shake them, before they’re served?) Swing by your nearest Goodwill for additional drink ware and drink-making gear!

Oh, the food. A Super Bowl Party without the appropriate nosh is the worst. It’s time to bust out the chips, dip, guac (we shared a great recipe on our blog last year), veggie trays, and all those pinned and saved-on-Facebook-time lapse-recipe-hack-videos—and make the party spread of a lifetime. From serving platters to additional cookie sheets, Goodwill has all you need to take your p-inspiration from time lapse video to reality for your upcoming Super Bowl shindig.

Happy Super Bowl 50! 

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It’s Groundhog Day!

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
February 2, 2016

“Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don't forget your booties 'cause it's cooooold out there today… That’s right, woodchuck-chuckers, it’s Groundhog Day!”

In honor of Ground Hog’s Day, and all things Bill Murray, we thought we’d just relive some of our favorite (and most read) blogs. This is how we picked what went on the list: We pulled our top 50 all-time most-read blogs. Then we eliminated anything that was too time-specific like Glitter Sale previews and holiday themed.

Here are our top ten blogs:

  1. 10 Things to do on a rainy PNW day
    Why it’s on the list: This was the only 2016 blog that made the all-time top 50 list! We published this blog on a rainy day a couple weeks ago, and apparently our friends and neighbors here in the Pacific NorthWET have been looking for some things to do on a rainy day.
  2. LEGO: History & Hunting Tips
    Why it’s on the list: Two reasons: 1. LEGOs are AWESOME. 2. This blog has made it around the globe. It has been read on five different continents, and in 40 different cities—making it our most globally-read blog. We think that’s cool—and love that LEGOs are globally loved by many.
  3. Welcome to 2015, Donation Bins.
    Why it’s on the list: This blog didn’t just have a lot of shoppers and donors reading it, it also had a lot of other Goodwill organizations across the country reading it.
  4. Glitter Gala 2015: The Goodwill Design Challenge
    Why it’s on the list: The Goodwill Design Challenge took the runway at our 2015 Glitter Gala & Fashion Show, showcasing the work of 31 design local design students. This blog documented the students’ shopping process to get all of their materials for their looks—and was a huge hit.
  5. Bank of America Summer Intern Highlight: Kasia       
    Why it’s on the list: We loved having Kasia intern! We thought she was super cool, a huge help, and we know there are a lot of people out there who agree.
  6. Julie LaPuma: Manager of the largest Goodwill in the US
    Why it’s on the list: Our flagship store on Dearborn is still the largest Goodwill in the US, and Julie still manages it like a champ.
  7. Glitter Sale 2015: Shoppers Talk Glitter
    Why it’s on the list: We LOVE our Glitter Sale shoppers, and were so glad to get to spend a little time getting to know two of them. Seasoned Glitter Sale shoppers are the BEST resource for getting tips and tricks to shopping Glitter!
  8. Bringing instruments back to life: Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar
    Why it’s on this list: Refurbishing instruments is super interesting, and sitting down with Mike from Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar was super fun. Are you interested in guitars? Read this blog.
  9. The Thrift Whisperer: Interview with Kim Holcomb
    Why it’s on the list: Kim Holcomb from King 5’s Evening Magazine is easily one of Seattle’s most prolific thrifters—and has an uncanny knack for finding incredible things at incredible prices at many of our stores.
  10. Vintage Zippers
    Why it’s on the list: Ok, we’ll be honest, this blog may have an outdated cultural reference—but it’s all cool because it’s talking about vintage zippers anyhow. This blog has been around a long time, and people are still reading it. It’s got some neat tips on hunting for vintage clothes. 

Is there a specific type of blog that we write that you’d like to see more of? A Goodwill-related topic you’d like us to cover? Leave us a comment! We'd love to hear your input!

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Seattle Goodwill: A Proud Boeing Partner

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
January 27, 2016

At a recent reception for Boeing Partners, Congressman Denny Heck opened his speech with, “We know two things about Boeing. 1. We know they have been very generous… 2. For a very long period of time.”

Our community has benefited greatly over the years from Boeing’s presence—from jobs at Boeing, to jobs at companies who support Boeing’s production, all the companies and services that come from having thousands of workers and their families in a community, and from the millions of dollars they’ve given back to the community through grants. “For one hundred years, Boeing has been a part of this community,” said Jenette Ramos, Vice President of Boeing’s Fabrication Division, “One hundred years. We can’t look back and take that for granted. We need to look forward. It’s an honor to be able to present the ten million dollars in grants that we’re giving to the community.”

Seattle Goodwill is one of the many recipients of Boeing grants. Our President and CEO Daryl Campbell said at the reception, “The partnership with Boeing has truly helped us in extraordinary ways…” One of the extraordinary ways Boeing has supported Goodwill over the years is by giving us a grant to help develop and expand our Youth Aerospace Program.

Our Youth Aerospace Program is a two-year program that aims to provide high school students with a smooth transition out of high school, and into a career in aerospace. Right now, the program only exists through our Marysville Job Training & Education Center, but with plans of expanding in the future. Each group, or cohort, starts during their senior year of high school with a summer youth program component that focuses on experiential learning, work ethic and service learning, and credential retrieval. Students participate in a variety of educational field trips to meet industry professionals and see manufacturing in action. During the school year, students participate in workshops, goal setting and case management, working with Goodwill staff to set goals and address issues that might impede full participation in the program. After graduation from high school, students move into aerospace/advanced manufacturing courses at Everett Community College (ECC), and will receive a certificate from ECC upon program completion.

The program is now working with its third cohort, and boasts some very impressive success rates. The program is still young, but of the 61 students that have gone through it, 93% of them graduated from high school, and 86% of them went on to college.

We are thrilled to have Boeing’s partnership and support of this program, and look forward to the incredible work that will be done because Boeing gives back to their community. During his speech at the Boeing Partners reception, Campbell reiterated, “We could not do it without the extraordinary support of Boeing.”

Thank you, Boeing. We are a proud Boeing Partner. 

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How to prep for FREE tax assistance at Goodwill

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
January 20, 2016

Aside from accountants, there’s probably not a lot of people who get excited for tax season. It can be cumbersome, stressful, and downright unpleasant—but it doesn’t have to be. Thanks to United Way, tax season doesn’t need to be so taxing.

For the last few years we’ve partnered with United Way to host free tax preparation—and this year is no different! At seven of our job training and education centers, we’ll be hosting regular hours during which you can stop by and have your taxes prepared… FOR FREE.

To help you make the most of your time and free tax assistance, here are a few pointers on prepping before you come in:

  1. Bring your identifying documents.
    Bring at least one form of valid photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport, and your Social Security Card or taxpayer identification number.
  2. Bring last year’s tax return.
    If you have it, bring it. It can help expedite the process.
  3. Gather and bring your income documents.
    Bring in your W-2s, W-9s, all 1099s, and any other document you have that shows your income sources for the year.
  4. Gather and bring your expense documents.
    This can include all varieties of 1098 forms pertaining to mortgages, student loans, tuition, and certain charitable contributions. It also includes medical, moving, childcare, and business expenses—and more. You can see a more expansive and specific list here.
  5. Plan to take some time.
    While our staff and volunteers work hard to keep the line moving, free tax assistance is available on a first come, first served basis. This means you may have to wait in line for a little while. We recommend showing up as early as you can during one of the available time blocks (listed below).
  6. Take a deep breath.
    We know taxes can be stressful, and that’s why we partner with United Way to offer free tax assistance at seven different sites throughout our region. Have questions? United Way has some resources on their site: and if you have location-specific question, click the link for your preferred location below to find contact info on that specific job training and education center.

From now through April 21, 2016, you can bring all of your paperwork and tax information to any of the locations below for free tax help:

January 11 - April 21
Tues. & Thu., 4:00 - 9:00 pm
Sat., 12:00 - 4:00 pm

January 19 - April 16
Tues. & Thu., 5:30 - 8:30 pm
Sat., 10:00 am - 3:00 pm

January 11 - April 21
Tues. & Thurs., 5:00 - 9:00 pm
Sat., 10:00 am - 2:00 pm

January 11 - April 20
Mon. & Wed., 5:00 - 9:00 pm
Sat., 10:00 am - 2:00 pm

Everett South
January 19 - April 16
Tues., Wed. & Thu., 5:30 - 8:30 pm

Mount Vernon 
February 2 - April 14
Mon., Tues., Wed. & Thu., 3:00 - 7:00 pm

January 11 - April 21 
Tues. & Thu., 5:00 - 9:00 pm
Sat., 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Sun., 11:00 am - 3:00 pm



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