This Goodwill Employee and Thrifting Expert’s “Saved by the Bell”-Inspired Condo Is Bold on a Budget, Thanks to “Oops” Paint and Secondhand Finds

published Mar 27, 2023

This Goodwill Employee and Thrifting Expert’s “Saved by the Bell”-Inspired Condo Is Bold on a Budget, Thanks to “Oops” Paint and Secondhand Finds

published Mar 27, 2023
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Name: Carolyn Becker (@petite_punk on TikTok)
Location: Rockville, Maryland
Type of home: Condo
Size: 893 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year, owned

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“I am a petite, thrifty fashionista with a love of all things sustainable, DIY, and secondhand,” explains Carolyn Becker, who’s the Director of Communications and Community Engagement at Goodwill of Greater Washington. But she doesn’t just work for Goodwill — she has a passion for thrifting and decorating on a budget, all of which is on display in her 893-square-foot condo in Maryland that she bought a year ago.

“My biggest challenge was my budget (aka my frugality),” Carolyn admits. “I never spend a lot on stuff because I work at Goodwill and know I can thrift things for pennies. By decorating and making this place my own, I had to go out of my comfort zone and buy a few things brand-new (like my bed).”

Carolyn shares all kinds of thrifting tips on her Instagram account, as well as the Greater Washington Goodwill Instagram account @findingyourgood and blog. “Through that platform, I host Goodwill shopping meetups, clothing swaps, and pop-up shops,” she writes.

Apartment Therapy Survey

My style: Color pop, pattern-mixed, squiggly wiggly Carolyn.

Inspiration: Color pop, Memphis design, ’80s new wave, “Saved by the Bell,” punk rock, and Goodwill thrift finds from the ‘60s to ‘90s.

Favorite element: The paint colors. I’ve NEVER painted walls with multiple colors and patterns, so I’m VERY proud of how my walls came out. To me, the walls and designs symbolize courage and bravery. The paint is great, too, because most of it was “oops” paint from Home Depot! Many of the paint gallons were under $10 each.

Biggest challenge: My biggest challenge was my budget (aka my frugality). I never spend a lot on stuff because I work at Goodwill and know I can thrift things for pennies. By decorating and making this place my own, I had to go out of my comfort zone and buy a few things brand-new (like my bed).

It was also hard to paint and move furniture around on my own because I am quite petite. I’ll tell you what — this girl gained a lot of muscles in the process of moving!

Proudest DIY or product hack: Proudest DIYs include my walls (painted and decorated with tape), and my grandma’s vintage sewing table turned color-blocked desk. It was a long project that I JUST finished. It’s not perfect, but it’s perfect for me! The paint colors used were leftover paint from my walls.

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? It’s unique to me because it’s now full of craft memories with friends! I love spending time with my friends at my home to work on DIY projects. My closet is basically a Michael’s and I love swapping craft ideas and supplies with my best friends. Another hack: My old dishwasher is my dish drying rack! I prefer hand washing… oops!

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small-space maximizing, cleaning, or organizing tips you have: Suitcases are my best friend! I use vintage suitcases to organize and store my hosiery and T-shirts.

I also have two candy displays that I thrifted (or rescued from the garbage) that I use to hold various items. My M&M carries my games, and my Sour Patch kid displays some of my vintage purses and sunglasses

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Goodwill or bust! Thrifting for your home is a great way to curate a space filled with style, sustainability, and surprise! Thrifting has allowed me to experiment with my home décor choices, allowing the magic of chance to guide my aesthetics.

Instead of spending hours looking for that one perfect item online, spend hours thrifting to score gems that just catch your eye! You never know what the thrift gods will bless you with.

Resources

PAINT & COLORS

  • Most paint colors were Benjamin Moore.
  • The decor/washi tape for the patterns on my walls are from Staples.

ALL ROOMS

  • Most all of my decor was thrifted from Goodwill, gifted, came from a local business, or rescued from the trash.

This tour’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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