Author Archives: yourg724

Cleanout Your Closets & Get Ready for the New!



By Certified Professional Organizer and Owner at The Clutter Crew, Vali G. Heist


Goodwill Keystone Area Blog
It’s springtime! And many of us need to clean out our closets to make room for some fresh, new looks. Cleaning out your wardrobe may be easier said than done, especially if you haven’t done a closet shakeup since high school (you know who you are) or you live out of your laundry baskets (you aren’t the only one). Even though it may be overwhelming, the results are well worth the effort, so let’s break it down.

It’s important to see how many items in each category you have before you decide to keep or donate. Empty your closet floors, shelves and sort by items. For example, make separate piles for your handbags, shoes, and belts. Then, go through the hanging clothes and sort by type: short sleeve, long sleeve, pants, skirts, blazers, evening wear, etc. Last, don’t forget to clean out the drawers.

Then go through each pile and decide if you should keep or donate items to Goodwill. It’s time to donate it if:
• It doesn’t fit – that means too small or too large
• It doesn’t fit your current lifestyle
• It’s faded, pilly, out-of-date, or ripped
• You haven’t worn it for two seasons (even if original tags are still on it)
• You don’t feel comfortable in it
• Your mom gave it to you because she thought you would like it (and you don’t)
• The last compliment you got when you wore it was 1995

Can’t decide whether to keep or donate? Call a friend to help sort and give you an honest opinion. And here’s another green tip: take out the empty hangers and recycle the wire ones to the dry cleaner!

You can do this!

7 Secrets of a Goodwill Fasionista



Story submitted by guest blogger Wendy Kerschner.


Goodwill stores offer a unique shopping experience and the opportunity to add a signature piece to your wardrobe. Making an amazing find at Goodwill is indeed the luck of their daily inventory, but it’s also in the eye of the beholder!

Arrive with an open mind. Although you may find a complete outfit during your shopping trip, consider this experience as an opportunity to purchase individual pieces to add to your existing wardrobe.

Allow an hour. Because Goodwill has a wide variety of clothing and accessories, you’ll need to allot yourself ample time to peruse the goods and try things on.

View from above. Look at the clothing from the top of the hangers (if possible). From here you will have a view of the item’s color and fabric. You’ll be able to see what you like in terms of cotton, polyester, spandex, and mixes and you’ll be able to recognize the right color or the right fabric at a glance.

Be open to all sizes. Just because you are typically a certain size, doesn’t mean that you can’t wear a small, a medium, a large or even an extra large. Goodwill provides the opportunity to take risks with clothing sizes.

Trust your instincts. When you try something on and look at yourself in the mirror, you will know instinctively if that piece is for you. Does it look good? Does it highlight your best features? Does it make you feel good?

Bring a friend! To maximize your Goodwill shopping experience, bring a friend. While they look for clothing for themselves, they will also be looking for you (and vice-versa). Friends typically know what you look good in and are happy to make suggestions.

Have Fun! In the dressing room, anything goes! Try on something you typically might not wear. You could surprise yourself!

Yes, No or Go! Party

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Story submitted by guest blogger Wendy Kerschner.


After having a baby and deciding to return to a professional office setting, I realized my wardrobe needed to be edited. I was ready to donate some clothes to Goodwill. As I looked through my closet and questioned what to keep and what to part with, the decisions were too hard to make on my own. What I really needed was honest advice from my friends.

I called five of my closest friends and asked them to come over to my house on a Friday evening and bring 5-7 items of clothing from their own closets. I told them to bring their own clothes that were questionable. I named it the “Yes, No or Go Party.” Each person would try on their items and the other women would give the item one of three votes: YES, NO or GO!

It was a great night! Each guest showcased her clothes by strutting in front of the friendly panel. We also enjoyed wine and ate snacks (Caution: friend’s opinions are even more honest with wine). The night was a huge hit, filled with outbursts of laughter and newly made memories. The best part was that we successfully edited our own wardrobes while gathering two huge bags of clothing to donate to Goodwill. I’ve hosted two YES, NO or GO parties since the original and encourage you to have your own party!

Goodwill Keystone Area employee Tonya Hollinger rocks her pink style during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.


We are proud of Tonya and women just like her for their strength and determination in being a breast cancer survivor.



Here’s a few Q&A’s with Tonya:

Why do you think fashion and breast cancer awareness tie together? 

It’s a very easy way to show your support and is highly recognizable. I especially love all the different pieces of specialty jewelry that some stores sell and donate money to breast cancer awareness with each purchase.

Do you have a favorite statement piece that you like to wear (clothes or jewelry)?

I have a shirt that I love that says, “I Fight Like a Girl.” I bust it out every October and wear it with pride, because it states the truth! My son also has a shirt that says “Real Men Wear Pink” and he sports it during October as well!

What does PINK POWER mean to you? 

For me, it means many things, honor, unity, pride, and most importantly, it represents a commitment to saving lives!

Wear Pink, a Sign of Solidarity

Last year we ran this blog post in October and we decided to post it again, because this October is no different as our employee Tonya Hollinger rocks her pink style during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We are proud of Tonya and women just like her for their strength and determination in being a breast cancer survivor. Go PINK!

Tonya Pink Blazer

This October, Goodwill Keystone Area employee Tonya Hollinger rocks her pink hair, pink glittery nails, pink jewelry and clothes to celebrate three years of recovering from breast cancer.

“Pink is the quintessential female color,” says Margaret Welch, director of the Color Association of the United States. And for breast cancer patients and survivors, pink is a happy place – a place of hope, healing, femininity and pride.

During National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, pink becomes a sign of solidarity for women and families fighting this terrible disease. Pink has become a sort of non-verbal signal sent out to breast cancer patients saying, “I support you, and I’ve got your back.”

Men wear pink ties, shirts or lapel pins. NFL players wear pink socks, wristbands, and shoes. Women dye their hair, paint their nails, and wear pink clothing and accessories.

It’s wearing pink with a purpose…it’s here, it’s now and it’s Goodwill!

This month, join Tonya and others in wearing pink to show your support and solidarity in the fight against breast cancer. Visit your local Goodwill store and find your pop of pink. Wear it with purpose and wear it with pride.

And one more thing, last year Tonya added a permanent accessory…a pink “Hope” tattoo.

Accessories and clothing were taken from the racks of the Goodwill stores in Bensalem, PA and Lancaster PA-Lincoln Hwy E. Thank you, managers and staff!

Special thanks to Tonya Hollinger for sharing her story with us.

Link to the History of the Pink Ribbon.

Tips from Our Goodwill Re-Design Contest Winner Kirsten Irwin

Introducing 2014 Goodwill Re-Design Contest Winner of the Accessories Category, Kirsten Irwin


How did you get started in re-designing clothing and why do you shop at Goodwill?

I really needed a creative project to get me through the long winter! I had noticed the signs for the Re-Design Contest at Goodwill and read the article in the newspaper, and I thought I would try it this year. I’ve been interested in art my whole life and thought this would be a fun way to try something different – sewing!

I love shopping at Goodwill because there is such a wide variety of styles available for bargain prices. I’m constantly amazed at the quality of the items. I know the money from these purchases provides jobs and training for people with special needs. My stepsons both have special needs and my one son worked for Goodwill last year.


What Goodwill locations do you shop at and what items do you typically look for when considering a re-design piece?

I usually shop at the Shillington store because it is so convenient, but I will check out the other Goodwill stores in Berks County sometimes. I try to find fun fabrics, interesting colors, or unusual details in the items for re-designs.


How do you create your re-designs?

The tote bag is my first re-design piece.


I used an upside-down, perforated-leather skirt for the outside of the bag. The lining is made from 4 orange, striped placemats and a man’s plaid suit coat.


The stripes in the plaid include orange and brown that tied the colors together and added some pattern to the mix. I kept the pocket of the jacket and used it for the inner pocket of the bag.


I found a great, wide belt with grommets that became the handle for the bag.


I hope to buy a sewing machine and start practicing with that for next year’s entries!


What was your experience like at the Goodwill Runway Show?

I had a wonderful time! Everything was executed very well and I think the show was incredibly enjoyable for participants and audience members alike. It was great meeting all the finalists in the Re-Design contest. My friends and I really had a fun evening; I can’t wait until next year!


What advice do you have for aspiring re-design artists? 

Enjoy the creative process and take some chances! Have a good time making something unexpected!

See all of the 2014 Goodwill Re-Design Winners on our Facebook Page, click here.

Introducing 2014 Goodwill Re-Design Contest Winner of the Avant Garde Category, Jeanette Diebold


Introducing 2014 Goodwill Re-Design Contest Winner of the Avant Garde Category, Jeanette Diebold.

JeanetteDiebold - AvantGarde

JDiebold_webHow did you get started in re-designing clothing and why do you shop at Goodwill?

I got started in re-designing after I went to my first Goodwill Runway Show three years ago. My good friend, Kirsten Keim-Shendge was a model and re-designer at that show. Also, fashion design runs in my family. My grandfather, George Louis Diebold, was a designer for Venus Foundation Garments in Chicago and my mother used to make my sisters and I clothes, costumes and even prom dresses for many years. It was always great to have an original!

What Goodwill locations do you shop at and what items do you typically look for when considering a re-design piece?

I shop at Goodwill because it benefits a large group of people and you can’t beat the great bargains on designer fashions.
I have shopped at the Phoenixville, Royersford, Frazer and Morgantown locations. When creating a re-design, I typically look for an eye-catching item or something with an intricate detail or texture.

How do you create your re-designs?

I love a great dress! My dress designs are simple but elegant and the details give it that extra flair.


The one-sleeved purple gown was made from an old piece of velvet, embellished with handmade flowers and a short train from a fabulous pleated silk dress (Goodwill), and the final touches were a handmade flower and accordion waist detail from pages of Mark Twain’s book, Huckleberry Finn (Goodwill).

The Japanese Paper Parasol was a great find at Goodwill.


It had a tear in it. I returned later to purchase it and it had been removed from the floor. Luckily, they still sold it to me – for $1! I used the remaining fabric from the pleated silk dress and book pages to create the flower and lining of the parasol.


The burgundy dress ensemble was made from a curtain (Goodwill).


I created a simple dress and saved the best part for the skirt. The skirt had such beautiful detail which also converted to an optional cape. I loved the multi-function of casual and formal.

What was your experience like at the Goodwill Runway Show?

Goodwill Keystone Area Runway Show 2014 (7)

The Goodwill Runway Show is always a fun experience. It’s a great evening for a great cause, enjoyed by the company of people with the same mission – to give back to the community.

What advice do you have for aspiring re-designers?

For aspiring re-designers – use your imagination. The most simple things can turn into something so appealing.

See all of the Goodwill Re-Design Winners on our Facebook Page, click here.

Introducing Hayley Linette – Goodwill Re-Design Contest Winner – Social Media Fan Favorite


Introducing 2014 Goodwill Re-Design Contest Winner of the Social Media Fan Favorite Category, Hayley Linette.

HayleyLinette - Accessories

How did you get started in re-designing clothing and why do you shop at Goodwill?

Hayley Linette I have always believed in the idea of “trash to treasure”. I see potential in an item that may not be in style or what you would consider attractive. I shop at Goodwill because of the diversity in the items they display. I like knowing that every week there is going to be new product on the shelves which means new inspiration for me.

What Goodwill locations do you shop at and what items do you typically look for when considering a re-design piece?

I shop at many Goodwill locations because they all have different items. I typically look for shoes that can be easily painted. This means no crazy textures or layers of fabric. I look for shoes that are smooth with a cotton, leather, felt or suede material.

How do you create your re-designs?

I find shoes, preferably heels that are beat up, scratched, or unattractive and I paint them.

Hayley Linette heels 4

I look at the material that the shoe is made with to see if it is “paint-able”.

Hayley Linette heels 1

The easiest heels to paint are ones made with cotton, leather, felt or suede. I use acrylic paint to bring the shoes back to life.

Hayley Linette heels 3

With my art I make the shoe feel new again.

Hayley Linette heels 5

Every shoe I paint is unique and considered a walking work of art. Everyone wants shoes that no one else has and I give that to them.

What was your experience like at the Goodwill Runway Show?

This was my first year going to the Goodwill Runway Show. I am so grateful that I was able to participate in such a great show with great people. I loved getting to know the models, staff and people who came to watch. I will definitely be applying for the Re-Design Contest again next year!

Goodwill Keystone Area Runway Show 2014 (11)

What advice do you have for aspiring artists?

Do what you love, express yourself and be unique. Do not let others bring you down and make you feel like your work won’t get anywhere. If you keep trying then there is no doubt that you will be successful in your art.

Introducing Rebecca Botvin – Goodwill Re-Design Contest Winner – Men’s Shirt Remix


Introducing 2014 Goodwill Re-Design Contest Winner of the Men’s Shirt Remix Category, Rebecca Botvin.

How did you get started in re-designing clothing and why do you shop at Goodwill?

Rebecca Botvin head shotI started redesigning clothing in college, long before Goodwill was cool! I was baby stepping into it and just learning how clothing was put together and experimenting to see what could and could not be taken apart and reconstructed. You learn a lot about sewing by taking things apart. I started “hard core” redesigning when my tween and I were having a hard time finding clothes that she liked in retail stores. The older she got, the smaller her choices were and the quality of the garments diminished in the Junior sizes. She’s learned that she can totally customize her clothing to not only her taste, but also to her size, and not spend a fortune doing it.

I shop at Goodwill because my money can go farther. Most items I buy are barely, if at all, worn. It really is my favorite store.

What Goodwill locations do you shop at and what items do you typically look for when considering a re-design piece?

I usually shop at the Shillington Goodwill. It’s large and the closest one to my house. When I’m redesigning a piece, I start with the foundation – do I need jeans or a top? There needs to be enough material, so the first thing I look for is the size of the garment and inspect it for any holes or stains. If the garment isn’t perfect, then I need to be able to work around the problem area. I only work with natural fibers (cotton, wool, linen), so I usually pull 2-3 different options and then mix and match them to work.

How do you create your re-designs?

Redesign Mittens
Botvin-redesign mittens

The mittens are created from 100% wool sweaters, lined with 100% cashmere sweaters. I felt the wool sweaters in my washing machine and then cut out the mittens. Depending on the size of the sweater after felting, I can usually get 1-2 pairs of mittens from 1 sweater. I use the same pattern for the outside on the mittens as I do for the lining, which I cut out of the cashmere sweaters. I hand embroider a design on the mittens and use different embroidery stitches to fit the cuffs into place. I swear, putting your hands in these mittens is one of the happiest feelings in the world!

Redesign Dress

This little girl’s dress is made from a vintage Smurfs bed sheet. This was a real find!

Botvin-redesign dress

The dress is a simple shift pattern that buttons at the shoulder. Since the bed sheet is very sheer, I made the dress reversible with a heavier solid cotton on the other side. The dress can be worn in the summer, or with a shirt and tights in the winter.

Redesign Pants

My daughter is petite. Many of the jeans I found in her size at Goodwill had a design on the bottom (frolicking kittens, flowers, etc) and I guess that isn’t cool to wear in middle school. I cut the offending design off the bottom and attached a linen ruffle to make up for the length. You can do this several ways, but I decided that pinch pleating the linen had a more finished look.

Botvin-redesign pants

The entire project – start to finish took about 1/2 hour. It’s a great first project for a beginning sewer.

Redesign Coat and Stuffed Animal

The wolf coat and stuffed animal were made out of a 100% wool felt blanket and women’s wool dress skirts. I had the items dry cleaned first, so I could inspect for any thin areas that I might have to work around. I worked off a commercial pattern and mostly followed the directions. The lining and toggle buttons were purchased because I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted at Goodwill and I had an impatient seven year old.

Botvin-redesign coatstuffie

Redesign Class

I taught a beginning sewing class at the Yocum Institute for Arts Education last Spring. One of the project that the girls did was to make a skirt out of a men’s dress shirt.

Botvin-redesign class

They learned about basic cutting and fractions. They also improvised and made a few “scarf” accessories with the material they pieced together.

What was your experience like at the Goodwill Runway Show?

I had a great time at the Runway Show! I was impressed with how well-organized the entire event was – from communication to timing. The organizers made a real effort to include the redesigners in the show, and it was just thrilling to see the audience’s reactions to the items being shown. I brought a group of friends with me, and we had a fun girl’s night out – snacks, drinks, the show, and shopping…..really a fun time!

What advice do you have for aspiring re-design artists?

My main advice is to just buy something that speaks to you and take it apart. Don’t be afraid to cut or to sew. The most effective way to learn is by making mistakes and sometimes those mistakes are the most brilliant additions.

Accessorize Your Wardrobe This Spring

By Certified Professional Organizer and Owner at The Clutter Crew, Vali G. Heist

It’s spring and Goodwill Runway Show time! What a great way to inspire us to spruce up our wardrobes or get motivated to create something brand new. Here are a few items you can purchase at Goodwill to help you accessorize your spring wardrobe.

Spring Scarf
Brighten up a current outfit or tie it on a handbag to accessorize.

Fashionable Belt
Choose a belt that changes the look of a tired outfit.

Brightly Colored Handbag
Complement an outfit for a special occasion without breaking the bank.

Spring Shoes
Many of the shoes at Goodwill are gently-worn. Look for a pair to complement your spring outfits.

New Outfit
If you are feeling creative, shop the aisles and look at the fabric of the clothing instead of the style of clothing. Use that fabric to recreate a whole new piece of clothing. (I found two men’s shirts in spring colors to make the dress I’m wearing at the Runway Show!)

Designer Staple Piece
Browse the designer racks and find a staple piece to supplement your current spring wardrobe.

Remember, shopping at Goodwill is all about supporting their mission of helping people with disabilities – all while helping you watch your hard-earned dollars. Accessorizing at Goodwill: it’s a win-win! Find a store near you at

This article appears in the Goodwill Runway Show Program. Join us for the fashion event of the year, the Goodwill Runway Show! See how you can be stylish without maxing out your credit cards. Models will walk the runway wearing the latest trends found at Goodwill. This is Goodwill’s largest fundraiser in Berks County!

Date: Thursday, April 24, 2014 doors open 4:30, show begins 6:30

Location: Body Zone 3013 Paper Mill Road Wyomissing, PA 19610

Tickets: $40.00 include happy hour, silent auction, runway show and Goodwill boutique.