Lexi is helpful · You're Welcome

Goodwill Hunting: Tips for Thrift Shop Shopping

Tips for thrift shop shopping

That’s right, I totally used that as my title. It’s so cheesy it hurts. But it’s hipster to be cheesy, right?

It’s also super hipster to shop at Goodwill. Which really pisses me off because they get there and yank all the good kitty shirts before I get a chance to even look at them. Damn hipsters. Seriously though, I love me some thrift shopping. Apparently it’s all the rage with rappers, too.  So, for those of you idiots who have not yet seen the light, a guide to thrift shopping.

What TO buy at Goodwill:

Tips for shopping at GoodwillDress clothes for the children. Especially if you live in a place that is heavily populated by godless sinners who only buy dress clothes for weddings.  Most of the dress pants and shirts look like they’ve been worn once.

  • Dress shoes and sandals, especially for children. We were told that we had to buy Stride Rite brand shoes for Abby’s orthos to fit in. Stride Rites are EXPENSIVE. I’ve now found two almost- new pairs there, along with an originally $90 pair of some European brand shoes. Kids, especially toddlers, don’t usually wear shoes long enough to trash them. I buy all of my boys’ church shoes there. They usually look brand new. I’ve also found a sweet pairs of Keen’s and Adidas flats for myself.
  • Kids Clothes: My kids are jerks and ruin most of what they own. That’s why I buy MOST of my kids’ clothes at Goodwill (actually, ours is a Savers, but same difference). Check the knees for holes, and the zippers and buttons before you buy anything. Remember, and I know it sounds super WILD- but you can take stuff back if they don’t work! Also, be a brand snob, because you can. Most of the better brands are in fact better made clothes that will last longer. My kids look like I spend a fortune on their wardrobe, which I don’t. I just buy good brands second hand.
  • Snow gear. DO NOT buy boots, bibs or snow jackets anywhere else. Especially if you’re only going to use them only a couple times a year- like most people do. Which is why most of the snow gear at the thrift store is almost new.
  • Ties: if your husband is like me and has been happily wearing the ugly kangaroo tie you bought him at the dollar store ten years ago, buying used ties at Goodwill is a good choice.
  • Books. We can’t do the whole library thing because I’m irresponsible. But we can buy four books and get one free at our local Savers. I’ve gotten all of the classics there, it’s THE BEST place to buy board books (you know, the toddler ones that they love to gnaw on?), and occasionally you’ll get lucky and get some good older-kids books, too. Also, there’s usually at least fifteen copies of Sarah Palin’s book at any given time, if you’re so inclined.

    Best Goodwill Buy EVER!
    Best Goodwill Buy EVER!
  • Clothes for myself are a little bit tougher. The selection is HUGE, but I’m super picky and thumbing through all of the clothes just takes too long. I always check for hoodies and t-shirts. I was actually planning a trip up to the outlets to get an Aeropostale hoodie because I’ve worn holes in my last one, and I found a like new one there that’s just my size! (They’re the only hoodies I’ve found that have long enough arm sleeves for me) I totally found this awesome porky pine and blow fish shirt and it fits and it’s perfect and it’s making all of my other t shirts jealous.
  • Toddler toys. Don’t you dare buy any of the baby or toddler developmental toys new. That’s just dumb. Don’t be a dummy. There are usually LOADS of them there, and for a fraction of the price. Toddler toys are super easy to disinfect, are durable, and children usually bore of them before they are worn out.
  • Creepy as hell dolls: They are usually in the housewares section. There are SO MANY creepy dolls there. They’re usually overpriced and dusty and scary.

What NOT to buy at Goodwill:

Okay, I’m not saying to NOT buy these things, they’re just stuff I haven’t had as good of luck with.

  • Sweatpants. This makes me violently sad. The two pairs that I’ve bought have had bad elastic in them. The same goes for yoga pants. Miss miss miss.
  • Adult athletic shoes. Unless they look almost new. Sometimes smells that aren’t present at purchase can spring up after you warm those suckers up. Also, the shoes are going to be broken in to the person’s foot who originally owned them. I think. In my mind, I think that makes a difference.
  • Electronic toys. I said buy toddler toys. Yes. Do. But be leery of electronic toys that you can’t test in the store. You win some, you lose some. I’ve mostly lost.
  • Carseats and cribs. Most of the big chains will no longer carry these items because of recalls and safety issues.
  • Furniture: It’s really hit and miss. I’ve found WAY better deals on furniture on Craigslist. But if you’re willing to pay extra to not get strangled, go for it. I, personally, like the thrill of not knowing whether I’m going to end up with a snazzy dresser or in a ditch.

Other helpful tips:

At the big stores, all of their tags have different colors on them, different days (and in some stores different weeks) have different colors that are half off. Some places have a sign saying which color is half off, or you just have to ask someone who works there. I heard that it’s best to go on Sunday mornings between 10 and 12 because that’s when they change which color is half off and so you get first dibs at the stuff. I don’t know that for myself because I’m super righteous and am at church at those times.

Be friendly with the employees. Ask them if they’ve seen something you’re looking specifically for. You’d be surprised at what they remember is hidden in the store.

Never ever go with your kids and only go when you have real time to HUNT. If you hate hunting, then don’t go at all you big party pooper.

Also, TOTALLY TOTALLY send your good stuff to Goodwill or Savers. I believe in Thrift Shop Karma. When I donate good crap instead of selling it or whatever, I find the best stuff. Plus, the money goes to charity and blah blah blah.

As always, you’re welcome.

and a complete mess · funny · Lexi is helpful


I’m pretty sure my husband is terribly sick of me answering all of his questions with, “Because I have ISSUES!” I do it in different voices, to mix it up a little, but it’s not helping.

“Lexi, why are there three almost-empty bottles of Diet Sprite in the refrigerator?”
Because I have issues! (said in my Southern Bell voice)

“Lexi, why are you on the roof?”
Because I have ISSUES! (while I hold up a javelin)

“How come you haven’t left the bathroom in 2 hours?”
Because I have issues! (I growl as I slide four used issues of People under the door at him. I actually waited forty minutes to use that pun.)

“Why did you force the Chick Fil A lady to hug and jump with you?”
Because I have issues! I also made her embrace me! We EMBRACED.

“Why is Heidi on the roof?”
….you get it the idea.

You would think that my saying this over and over and over again would mess with my already fragile self-esteem (that’s a lie. It’s not fragile at all. It’s grossly over-exaggerated given the amount of time I spend on how I look, eat, and smell).  But it’s done quite the opposite. It’s EMPOWERED me. Try it out next time your husband asks why you put your cat army in the freezer or only speak in Spongebob quotes.

You’ll also win every fight. And that’s awesome all on it’s own.

Now you try. Tell me how it goes.

autism · Lexi is helpful · memes · soapbox


Standing out at the park I listen as the very rich soccer moms one up each other using their kids as the ladder. It sounds a little something like this:

 Mikey started reading when he was three! I mean, really, he’s very very smart.
Well my Jilly can recite Pi to the 1,000th place.
My fetus has already been accepted to Einstein Academy Preschool!


I walk by with Abby and they all swoon over her cuteness. They love on her and tell her she’s so cute and then all look at me like, “Wow! Better you than me!” We talk for a little while. One of them informs me that Casey stuck his little container with monarch caterpillars RIGHT in her face and then spent 20 minutes talking about the whole life cycle. “He’s very smart,” she says, willing me to climb on their ladder, if for no other reason than she wants me to say something she can one-up.

Just to stop that crazy train, I did something I don’t actually do too often. I said, “He sure is, and he’s autistic.” I let them chew on that for a minute. One plus one is a pretty simple equation, but it usually takes people a little bit to put it together that yes, I have a child with autism and a child with Down syndrome. I hate that moment. I hate that I know that, 9 times out of 10, that person is probably on the verge of pitying me.

Because this is their worst-case scenario. At least, in their heads it is. But what you don’t see until you’re in the Special Needs world, is that the batshit crazy one-upping soccer moms exist there, too. I’ll be dammed if I don’t know A LOT of parents with special needs that got the diagnosis of their child and thought, “well then, I’m going to make him the best damn child with (autism/Down syndrome/Cerebral Palsy/Eczema/etc) there ever was! WAY BETTER THAN YOUR SN CHILD!”

Which is totally great. All parents should shoot for the moon with their kids. They really should. And all kids should be proud of their parents’ accomplishments.  And all parents, in the end, should just be okay with the fact that no matter what they do, their kid is probably going to end up being mediocre.

I said it. There’s a good chance your child isn’t going to be in the NBA or a member of Mensa. There’s a good chance that everything you’re doing right now is going to make your kid the smartest damn kindergartener ever…and the most bored.

One time at a family function when Carter was 2, he put a bowl over his head and ran head first into a wall. He fell backwards and laughed hysterically. My sister, who is quite possibly the funniest person I know, patted him on his head as she walked by and said, “…but you will be good at sports…” as a jab to the fact that he probably wasn’t going to be the smartest kid in his non-prenatal-acceptance-receiving preschool.  And you know what? He’s in third grade now and….drum roll please….he’s an average student! Yay! Average! And, he’s fantastic at sports. He might even play in the NBA.

But probably not.

What am I getting at here? To give up? To not push like crazy to do what you think is best for your kids? Nope. Just a simple reminder that it’s not about you. Your child’s accomplishments will never make up for what you didn’t do in your life, they’ll never make you taller than your dad, and they’ll never really impress the person you’re trying to “one-up” because either they’re not listening to you because they are trying to think of their next ladder rung, or, they don’t give a damn because they’re secure enough to see how completely insecure you are.

And I’m not saying that you don’t get all excited when something super fantastic happens. You can call everyone. But no one calls everyone, so you can TEXT everyone. Tear up every social network. Because accomplishments in any sphere of parenting are what keep us going when everything else super sucks. But there’s a difference between you telling someone to praise YOUR KID and you telling someone to PRAISE YOURSELF.

Just try not to be too disappointed the first time your child comes home with a “B”. When your son with Asperger’s doesn’t end up creating a social network. When your daughter doesn’t win the pageant you should have never entered her in because it’s creepy. Realize that we want our kids to do their best in whatever arena of life they enter into, not your best. If they are happy and challenged and impossibly mediocre, good for you. You’re normal.

…unless you’re still hearing voices.