Learning how to be an auction winner with Goodwill and what kind of used snowshoes you should buy if you’re in Seattle

Goodwill purchases help support a culinary training program
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This is a sponsored post for Goodwill and as always the opinions in this piece are mine.  I visited with Goodwill in Tacoma to learn about their mission and learn about their online auction site: www.shopgoodwill.com

Let me preface this tale with a little bit of back history. As a mom of energetic twin boys and with a hubby who is always on the go I have become very efficient in my purchases. Amazon and Target packages show up often at my doorstep and I can shop these sites with one hand while I put on make up, get dressed or make a quick school lunch so I don’t waste precious time.

But finding bespoke items, or the kind of unique garage sale stuff some of my friends can source is still beyond me. I haven’t drifted back into savoring shopping like I used to yet-when I go shopping it’s still a mission I need to complete efficiently, effectively and as soon as possible. I can’t imagine investing a weekend of hunting for treasure in real life and not returning home with anything so I know I’ll come home with way too many things I don’t need and I’ll pay too much for all of them.

When I learned about Goodwill’s online site: www.shopgoodwill.com I was intrigued. It’s open 24/7 and the site is nicely laid out so it reminds me of the stores I frequently shop at online, except everything here is one of a kind, vintage and full of stories. And unlike rummaging at a garage sale or other thrift store, everything is searchable on your computer or phone, even down to the region of the country you’re buying it from.  This is the perfect combination of old-fashioned thrifting in a high tech world. And I learned from the experts at Goodwill that it takes patience and research to find the gems.


As a Goodwill online shopping newbie I have to admit I was overzealous and I zoned in on one item that I had to have IMMEDIATELY and I decided instantly that it was snowshoes. (We’ve been really into snowshoeing with our kids since we first tried it in Whistler years ago!) I was given a gift card to buy something to try out the site, and I jumped right in, ignoring everything I was told not to do when I bid on it. I did not look closely at the pictures of the items or read the small print below or research its brand. I bid right away because I could see someone had already bid on it and I needed to have it too before it disappeared. I bid the sales up higher than I really wanted to pay because I forgot about the shipping costs. (If I had put the settings to a more local goodwill source I might have had free shipping or even been able to pick up the item too!).  And of course I way outbid my competition and ended up the winner and I was the proud owner of a pair of pretty broken snowshoes that I paid a lot of shipping for.

Buying used Snowshoes in SeattleBuying used snowshoes in seattle and where to get repairs

The Atlas snowshoes I bought, even in their condition, would have been a great deal if I was in Oregon where I could bring them to the Atlas repair shop. (There is one in Milwaukie Oregon, by the way.) They still might be a good deal if I repack them and send them back and forth to the repair shop or look up where to get repairs closer to home.  I think the cost of repairs will still be under what I would pay for a new pair of snowshoes from what I’ve been seeing in the ‘how to repair snowshoes’ articles I’ve been reading.  What I learned from this process is that if you do buy snowshoes that need repairs in Seattle, the best brand is MSR because they are made in Seattle and have a repair shop here so you do not have to pay shipping to get them fixed.  I also watched a video on how to know what can be repaired on snowshoes that might be helpful if you’re curious about your own snowshoes and want to know how you can fix them and this video was quite helpful too for things you might bring with you on a snowshoe adventure just in case one breaks.  Finally, since winning my snowshoe auction, I’ve seen a lot of snowshoes come up on the Goodwill site so the feeling of scarcity that I felt as a new-to-auction buyer can be put to ease-if I want to buy snowshoes again I have time to research, investigate and decide if this purchase is right for me.

Example of Matchbox you can buy on ShopGoodwill site


So now I know how the site works, I know what I would buy next on Goodwill’s online store and I actually have my eye on a few auctions right now (I’ve created an account and put them on my ‘watchlist.’) If you are looking for bulk Lego, I think this is the best place to buy it.  I’ve watched quite a few deals close now where people are getting giant bins of Lego for a fraction of the cost you can buy Lego for in stores.  Because each auction is different it’s important to make sure you look at the pictures to see if the Lego you get is what you actually the Lego you are wanting.  Sometimes there are even new in the box Lego and if you use “new in the box” as a search term when you are looking for items this might help you too.  I’ve also seen other ‘big name’ preschool retro toys here like Fisher Price, Playmobil and Matchbox.  So this is a great place to look if you are searching for these items.

Example of Lego you can buy on ShopGoodwill site


Goodwill online is a great place to buy staging props

I have also become a little obsessed with watching some of the pottery auctions on the ShopGoodwill site too.  I’ve seen beautiful vintage Delft style pottery that I’m a little bummed that I didn’t bid on.  I’ve also seen some cool old cameras and telescopes that would make really awesome props for pictures or for staging homes.  And I can’t stop looking at the art.  There are so many beautiful signed oil paintings that are unique and vintage and some of them might just be priceless.  I wish I knew a bit more about art and styles because I’ve seen a few paintings that would be nice to own but I don’t know much about this type of shopping.

You can find unique art at shopgoodwill.com


The  biggest  and best reason to shop Goodwill and one of the reasons I was so thrilled to check out the online site in the first place is because shopping at Goodwill is one of the only types of shopping you can do that actually gives back in more than one way.  By buying used things, you prevent them from ending up in a landfill and you lessen the demand on non-renewable resources.  And by buying things from Goodwill you help provide work and training for others-91 cents of every dollar at Goodwill goes directly back to training programs which is absolutely awesome considering that I’ve been swayed to buy purchases from other places that advertise giving back a far smaller percentage.  I ate a beautiful lunch in the culinary training center in Tacoma prepared by students in the school and one of the students had recently been hired by a famous local restaurant.  She talked about how proud she was to have gone through the training program and the way she talked about her peers and mentors helped cement in my mind what a special place Goodwill is.  In 2016, Goodwill helped 313,000 people train for jobs not only in food services, but also in industries such as banking, IT and healthcare too.

Goodwill purchases help support a culinary school Goodwill purchases help support a culinary training program

I love places that give back and I love shopping that does good, and shopping I can do on my own hours is heavenly so I know I’ll be checking out the Goodwill online store a lot now that I know that it exists.  (And maybe you will too? I totally want to hear if you win any auctions and if you purchase something really unique!  And do you feel better when your shopping gives back in some way?  Does this kind of thing influence how you shop too?)

Learning about where your dollars go when you shop at goodwill Learning about where your dollars go when you shop at goodwill

(PS. As stated above, this is a sponsored post and as always the opinions in this post are my own.  Visiting places like Goodwill to learn the stories of our community so I can share them with my audience is one of my favorite reasons for blogging.)

(PPS. You can shop Goodwill online from anywhere in the United States but shipping costs etc vary by where you live.  If you are in the Seattle area and can pick up from Tacoma you might want to use an advanced search feature and choose “Tacoma” as the “Seller” so that you only search items from that warehouse and you can pick up for free.  If you need help with this send me a message and I’ll try and walk you through it.)


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