It’s All About The Dress: Shopping Prom at Goodwill

It is all about the dress.

Prom, weddings, other formal occasions – the dress is the centerpiece of the event. It must be beautiful, flattering, and special. It also really helps if it’s within your budget.

Shopping for formalwear, whether for prom, a wedding or a glitzy party, can be difficult at Goodwill and other non-specialized second-hand stores. Unless you get really lucky and find something perfect on the first try, it requires patience and probably several trips.

This year, Tacoma Goodwill decided to make it a lot easier. A store full of over a thousand formal dresses, tuxedos, shoes and accessories will be open for one day this month – April 16 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The store is located right next door to the North Tacoma Goodwill store on 6th Ave. Details are available here.

You might be surprised at what you find. Many dresses featured in the sale are unworn with tags still attached. There are adorable vintage dresses, slinky evening gowns, classics in satin and styles with a bit of an edge. You’re bound to fall in love with something, and you will pay much less than what you would at the mall or a specialty dress shop.

Below are just a few of the many dresses available for purchase on the 16th.

This black satin gown is new with tags from David's Bridal. The beading and sequin detail in pink wraps around to the back of the dress.

Fab flapper-style dress, medium purple with beading detail and black fringe.

A shorter style, this vintage red satin and black lace dress is a fantastic look, and you can be sure that no one else at your event will be wearing the same thing.


This gorgeous beaded silk gown is reminiscent of the night sky, blue fading to black with sparkling beads that look like stars.


Think Spring Cleaning!

Goodwill International and The Clutter Diet’s Lorie Marrero held a Twitter party this week with some fantastic tips and information to help you get organized and jumpstart your spring cleaning.  

“Spring means time to organize bathrooms and kitchens as we get ready to spend more time outdoors and cooking fresh spring produce” according to Lorie, who suggests considering Features, Function, Flow, and Frequency as you strategize the organization and placement of things in your kitchen. Frequently used items should be in the most accessible places. In another part of the house – the bedroom closet – this means placing your favorite clothing and shoes front and center while keeping the formalwear to the back and away.

Lorie shared some great links as well, one an article about how getting organized can help you get a job. The tips on organizing contacts, bills, files, your calendar and tasks, and even your first impression all make a lot of sense. She also linked a list of Donating Do’s and Don’ts, the first point encouraging you to consider whether your donated items will be used toward a cause you support, and how much of the revenue actually benefits the cause. For example, 83% of Goodwill’s collective revenue directly supports Goodwill’s mission and programs (which helped serve 1.9 million people in 2009). Some of the donation tips Goodwill International tweeted can be found near the bottom of this entry.

The Donate Movement is incredibly cool, its purpose being to help people give their gently used goods a longer life and help the community (explained more here). The Donate Movement webpage is a really useful tool. As I write, the ticker at the bottom says that Goodwill has diverted more than 2 billion pounds of useable goods from landfills since Jan 1, 2010. Two billion pounds! You can watch as the number of pounds goes up and up each second. There is also a great donation calculator that can give you a real idea of the impact your own donations have on people in Goodwill programs. Goodwill International tweeted some examples during the party:

  • Donating just 1 pair of jeans to Goodwill can give someone 11 minutes of on-the-job training.
  • Donating one lamp can provide 10 minutes of career counseling to someone who needs it.
  • Want to clear out some winter coats? Donating 2 could provide 28 minutes of financial training classes.
  • The old TV taking up space in your basement, when donated, can provide 31 minutes of career counseling.
  • Are the kids bored with their old video games? Donating 3 can provide 15 minutes of job search class.
  • If you’re cleaning out your kitchen, donating 10 plates can provide 15 minutes of financial planning class.
  • To donate an hour of career counseling, give 1 coat, 1 dress, 1 pair of shoes, 3 pairs of jeans and 2 sweaters.
  • Looking to donate something high value this year? A donated working computer can provide 5.3 hours of career counseling.

You can track your donations online with CharityDeductions or on your iPhone or iPad with iDonatedit. If you are a blogger, consider supporting the Donate Movement by joining the blogger network.

Goodwill International also tweeted these donation tips (for further information check out the Donation Acceptance Guidelines):

  • Do: always wash or dry clean clothing before you donate it.
  • Don’t: donate broken items!
  • Don’t: donate kids’ products that have been recalled. Check this site first:
  • Don’t: leave items unattended outside a collection center where they can be stolen or ruined by weather.
  • Do: Test electrical equipment and battery-operated items before you donate them.

So, where does that leave us? Organizing our homes and donating what we no longer need, of course! And we at Goodwill will turn your donations into job training, placement, and community programs – learn more about the programs in our area here.

A map of the stores and attended donation stations in Tacoma Goodwill’s section of Washington is available here. Thanks for a great Twitter party, Goodwill International, The Clutter Diet & Lorie Marrero!

Goodwill helps seniors find jobs & training

bildeTacoma Goodwill’s SCSEP (Senior Community Service Employment Program) “helps seniors who are in need find jobs at nonprofit organizations or public entities and pays them minimum wages as they gain experience or training” according to Tacoma Goodwill spokesman Matthew Erlich.

Harvey Kortman, pictured here, is a 65 year old resident of Port Angeles. His income had been severely limited due to years of working in industries that did not offer pensions and for years did not take Social Security from his paycheck.

Through the SCSEP, Kortman has been placed as a handyman for the Clallam YMCA where he paints and does repairs while relearning skills he lost when he suffered a stroke in 2000. “I’m so thankful for this program,” he said.

Info from the Peninsula Daily News. Full article can be read here.

Textbooks for a Good Cause


Getting ready to start your summer classes? 

Check out the e-sales Amazon Storefront; we may have the textbooks you’re looking for. You’ll save money over the college bookstore, plus you will help support Tacoma Goodwill’s mission to change lives by helping people with disabilities and disadvantages go to work. Get what you need by helping people who need it — what’s better than that?

If you’re through with spring classes or perhaps have some unneeded textbooks sitting around from a few terms ago, consider donating them at one of our attended donation stations or retail stores. We thank you in advance!