My Mom Always Gets These 6 Cheap Organizing Finds at Goodwill

published Jul 5, 2024
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Wide view of the Goodwill store retailer. Popular second hand, donation based seller of goods.
Credit: ZikG / Shutterstock

My mom lives with me and my daughter, and we love to keep our place organized and functional. If we could have gone on a shopping spree at The Container Store to set up our home, we would have. That wasn’t in the budget, though — and it also wasn’t necessary because my mom is the best at shopping at Goodwill for home essentials. She’s always been creative and scrappy, which makes it more of a playground than a store for her. Since we moved into our home, my mom has set up all kinds of organizational systems with the help of something she spotted at our local Goodwill. When you’re shopping for organization products, I know your local thrift store might not be the first place that comes to mind, but you just need to know what to keep an eye out for when you’re there. 

Here are some of the organization-friendly finds my mom bought for our home from Goodwill and sees most frequently when she shops there, and what you can expect to pay for something like them.

Credit: Quincy Bulin

Plastic Bins

It happens all the time: In an attempt to be The Home Edit-level organized, people forget to declutter and plan out their space before scooping up all the containers they can get their hands on. In our neck of the woods, it’s also not uncommon for people to end up working with professional organizers eventually. Many of the containers get put to good use, but the others are usually donated. The cost of this entire setup in her bathroom (including the turntable)? $6.

Credit: Quincy Bulin

Command Strips and Hooks

The cost of Command strips and hooks can add up fast, but $1 bags of them are a common find at our local Goodwill. We’ve used them to hang art, create a mini mudroom for my daughter inside the coat closet, and even keep our most-used cutting boards readily accessible.

Pot Lid Organizers

This one feels a bit random, even to me, but it’s true — people love to donate pot lid organizers. All the better for us, because we use them not just for lids, but also cutting boards and baking dishes. In fact, as I type, I’m thinking of countless more uses for them. (A project for our next Goodwill haul!) While I wish they were more aesthetically cohesive, you can’t beat the $2-apiece price.

Credit: Quincy Bulin

Tension Rods

Tension rods are of course ideal for hanging clothes, but they’re also used in the shower and for curtains. Because rods are almost always built into your closets, chances are the ones at Goodwill were used for the latter instead of the former. We use a $3 tension rod in my 4.5-year-old daughter’s closet, at eye level, so everything is readily accessible for her when getting dressed.

Credit: Quincy Bulin

Flatware Organizers

I originally purchased a flatware organizer from Amazon that was supposed to be the perfect fit. It ended up being a fraction of a millimeter off (I blame the old cabinetry). When I told my mom, she popped right over to our Goodwill, as if it were a Target and not a thrift store with unknown inventory, and came back with this $2 one. Fun fact: That find inspired this entire story. Thanks, Mom!

Credit: Quincy Bulin


What is it about baskets? At any given time, you’re all but guaranteed to find at least one of them (more like five to 10+) at your local Goodwill. Big ones, little ones, wicker ones, metal ones — they’re all there, and I’d be shocked if you ever spend more than $4 per basket. With a 4.5-year-old in the home, we can never have too many baskets. While I haven’t done the math, I have a feeling we’ve saved at least a few hundred dollars getting ours at Goodwill.