It’s National Volunteer Week!

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
April 12, 2015

THANK YOU to every volunteer that donated their time to Seattle Goodwill. We could not have served as many students without the volunteers who joined us in our mission to provide quality and effective job training and education opportunities in our communities. So—from the Seattle Goodwill staff—THANK YOU.

“We are so lucky to have such a hardworking crew of volunteers at Seattle Goodwill. From Burien to Bellingham, they are making a difference in and out of the classroom every single day. This week, and every other week, I am grateful for the service and dedication of our volunteers!” said Ingrid Hartsock, our Volunteer Resource Coordinator.

In 2014, 500 volunteers gave their time, valued at over $300,000, in a vast variety of positions—ranging from fashion models at our Glitter Gala, to helping us restock the Glitter Sale shelves, to serving our students through tutoring, to working with our Vintage Fashion Collection, administrative tasks, and much more. Volunteers are an essential part of our organization!

“I grew to better understand the struggles that a lot of people have as new arrivals to this country – including learning a new language, finding jobs, and providing for their families,” Shirley, a long-time volunteer, said of her experience. “Goodwill is amazing in what they offer, including opportunities to learn job skills and job training. They truly help people find their way, including immigrants and people escaping homelessness or domestic violence.” Because of her belief in the mission of Goodwill, she’s been volunteering with us for almost twenty-five years!

There are many ways to volunteer with Seattle Goodwill. Whether you can offer a few hours a year—or a few hours a week—we can help you find a volunteering opportunity that is meaningful and valuable to you. There are opportunities for individuals, groups, and even corporations (check out our partnership with Bank of America!).  For more information on how to get connected, and opportunities available, visit our Volunteer Page!

And once again—THANK YOU to all of you who have given your time and talents at Seattle Goodwill!

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Profile: Dunn DIY's Kirsten Dunn

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
April 11, 2015

Kirsten Dunn is a proud fifth generation family member and employee at Dunn Lumber. When she's not DIYing, she enjoys sewing, swing dancing, and spending time with her sister. She loves working with her hands and creating beauty, and has enjoyed living out some of her Pinterest dreams at Dunn DIY (Do It Yourself). We got to ask her a few questions about her work!

How did you get into DIY-ing, and how long have you been doing it?
I was working the express checkout counter at the Dunn Lumber store when I got a call from my dad telling me about Dunn Lumber’s new DIY website we were launching. I remember arriving to the shoot of our first project and suddenly thinking, “I’ve only picked up a drill a couple times in my life.” I’ve learned a ton and got a lot of help from the guys at Dunn. I’ve been DIYing my whole life. My grandpa Solhaug was a dentist and carpenter and I inherited from him a love of working with my hands. For as long as I can remember I’ve been crafting and creating, it’s just the medium of wood that’s new to me.

How did you get introduced to thrifting?
Thrifting was definitely a phase in high school, when everyone realized that they could actually afford to buy things if they thrifted. It was really my brother who inspired me to thrift and he was the one who dragged me along with him when he went. I really got into it when I started thrifting for pieces to turn into costumes. Thanks to Goodwill I have a collection of Disney princess costumes made from old dresses, curtains, and bed sheets.

What is your favorite Goodwill-find-turned-DIY project?
It’s the piano bench that we turned into a side table. This was one of the first projects that really felt like mine. It was the first project I did without my dad’s help. It’s one I’m very proud of!

What basic tools do you find indispensable for most projects?
The tools (and materials) that I have found myself using for almost every project is my drill, chop saw, screws, sand paper, and wood stain or spray paint. I am convinced that if I had these things I could easily keep our blog going for a long time!

When you come into Goodwill stores for a project, do you generally know what you’re looking for? Or are you just waiting for that to-be-transformed item to pop out at you?
I’ve started to notice that the times that I have something set in mind before I walk in always take way longer than the times that I go in with no preconceived ideas. The fun thing about Goodwill is that it’s never quite the same and you have to bend and move with it. So if you go in looking for the exact same lamp that that one blogger repurposed into a terrarium you might be disappointed, but if you use your imagination and others inspiration you just might come up with something fabulous!

What advice would you offer a novice DIY-er as they hunt for the perfect item to transform?
It is not a perfect process. I always used to imagine myself walking into Goodwill seeing some truly hideous piece of furniture that everyone else had passed by and saying to myself, “With a few tweaks and a fresh coat of paint that would be perfect!” It doesn’t work like that—at least not for me! Instead it’s usually after several rounds of the store that I think, “I guess we might be able to do something with that.” Then I buy it, feel dumb and seriously question my decision! As I start writing the plans for changing it, my doubts begin to ebb and by the time I start on the transformation I’m totally sold! So my advice is to take your risk, don’t worry if you feel dumb, and just do it! Because chances are even those amazing bloggers that we worship go through the same process of doubt, sometimes failure, and finally success!

As you’re getting ready for Earth Day, check out some of Dunn DIY’s projects—including many reused and refurbished items that fit perfectly in your home or your garden. Dunn Lumber is also a part of our Earth Day Giveaways this year! So if Kirsten has inspired you to get your DIY on—tune in to our Facebook page to win a gift card from Dunn Lumber!

Here’s the latest project from Dunn DIY, featuring thrifted items from Goodwill Ballard:

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Spring Cleaning: Preparing & The Purge

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
April 4, 2015

Spring (cleaning) is here! While it may have felt like spring in Seattle since mid-February, you may not have felt like spring cleaning quite yet. It’s a common feeling—the dread that comes along with the phrase “spring cleaning”—however, with a little forethought and planning, spring cleaning doesn’t need to be quite the daunting beast that we see it as. Breaking down spring cleaning tasks, and spreading them throughout the season, can make the project more manageable, and certainly eliminate some stress.

To start off your spring cleaning, first identify what you feel should be done. For example—some garages might need a good organizing session, but yours might not. Some living rooms might need a solid deep cleaning—but yours might not. Make a list of what you think your home needs.

Once you’ve listed the tasks you think should be done, break it down into manageable chunks—it doesn’t need to get done all at once! Thoroughly cleaning one room every other day can make the time go by quickly—and only use 30 minutes of your time each day! There are lots of ways to break it down—such as separating indoor tasks from outdoor tasks, then breaking down indoors into dry vs. wet rooms. Clean the dry rooms first (bed rooms, living room, etc.)—followed by wet rooms (kitchen, bathroom, mudroom, etc.). If you live with multiple people, this is also a great time to assign tasks to family members or roommates. Save your indoor tasks for rainy days, and outdoor tasks for overcast days.

Before you start cleaning, be sure to purge your cleaning supplies of expired chemicals—and take a look into using some already-in-your-home cleaning products, and some eco-friendly cleaning supplies and practices. Unused chemicals can be taken to your county Hazardous Waste station—don’t pour them down the drain!

It’ll help to know what your local Goodwill can or cannot take before loading up your vehicle. Take a look at our Donations Guidelines see what we don’t accept—aside from the short list on that page, we can take nearly anything, including torn and stained clothing. We also have some simple tips to maximize your donations to create the biggest impact on our job training and education programs

Spring cleaning is no one’s favorite—but it doesn’t have to be a burden either! Stay tuned to our blog for more spring cleaning tips and tricks! 

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Changes in Ravenna: The Goodwill Children’s Bargain Store

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
March 31, 2015

Attention, parents, grandparents, godparents, aunts, uncles, and anyone else who has children in their lives: Our Ravenna store is now the Goodwill Children’s Bargain Store!

If you’re looking for children’s clothing, shoes, books, toys, and more—swing by our revamped Ravenna store! It’s easy to find a bargain on just about anything kid-related that you need. The store is a great place for parents to stock up on baby clothes, or replace the clothes that their growing little one grows out of every other week in an affordable, eco-friendly way.

Children’s clothes range from $0.99 to $2.99, and go from infant sizes up to a children’s size 16. Shoes and most toys are all $0.99, and books are $0.49. Furniture and large toys will be marked with their respective prices. The store hours will be open every day from 11 am – 6 pm.

The donation site at the Goodwill Children’s Bargain Store will accept all normally accepted items. (For things we can’t accept, click here.) You can donate here seven days a week, from 9 am – 7 pm.

Here are some examples of what you can find at our Ravenna location—come on by for our Grand Reopening on Thursday, April 2!

“What will happen to all the furniture and bicycles that the Ravenna store carried?” you may ask. Bicycles are still available at the Goodwill Children’s Bargain Store—just head around back! They’re in the same spot they used to be. The furniture that used to be at our Ravenna location will be circulated back into our other stores—furniture hunters tend to love our Seattle Flagship, Ballard, and Bellevue stores—though most of our stores carry furniture!

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Upcoming Events: Spring 2015

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
March 30, 2015

Spring is here—and we’ve got some great reasons for you to stop by our stores, donation centers, and job training and education centers! Tune into our blog for upcoming tips & tricks on spring cleaning, and tune in on our social media pages for upcoming giveaways!

We recently made some big changes to our Ravenna store—transforming it into the Goodwill Children’s Bargain Store! The store now features children’s clothes, shoes, toys, books, and furniture—and all at a great price! They’re currently open 11 am – 6 pm every day—and will be hosting a Grand Reopening on April 2!

EASTER: April 5
All of our stores, donation centers, and job training and education centers will be closed on Sunday, April 5 for Easter so our staff can enjoy the holiday!

Thanks to a partnership with United Way of King County, six of our Job Training and Education Centers will be hosting tax preparers to help you take care of your taxes. You can click here to learn more:

Like previous years, we’re celebrating Earth Day with two weeks of twice-daily giveaways on our Facebook page! This year, we’ll be running the giveaways Monday – Friday from April 20 until May 1. There will be one ongoing grand prize drawing, as well. Local companies and organizations have donated over $2,500 in prizes to give away this year, so stay tuned!

We’ve teamed up with Audioasis on KEXP to present a benefit concert for Seattle Goodwill at Tractor Tavern on Wednesday, April 29. The show will feature local music talent including The Moondoggies and Deep Sea Diver

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