Don’t fall into the mall trap! Turn to Goodwill when it comes to back-to-school shopping

It’s the home stretch of summer, that time just before parents have to once again motivate their kids from bed to begin that frenetic morning ritual practiced each school day.

With the right preparation, the back-to-school season can be a seamless transition! These mornings will always be filled with some chaos, but having kids well-supplied and dressed in clothing they actually like represents more than half the battle.

Thrifting can be a great way to save an extra buck during the 2023 back-to-school season in particular.

Given ongoing high inflation, thrifting is the best way to get more bang for the buck. Buying second hand is a great way to buy like-new items for a fraction of the price seen at malls and big box stores.

As far as shopping for the necessary supplies and styles, it’s time to get serious. Don’t fall into the mall trap and be miserable in stores with long lines and high prices. Shop at Goodwill Central Coast instead! You’ll be able to cross every item from your shopping list (from kindergarten kicks to teenage trends) all in one place.

At the same time you are helping to lift up communities through the power of employment. Your back-to-school purchases help fund training services and programs that help people get good jobs and find meaningful employment. That’s something to feel great about this back-to-school season — and every shopping season.

Bring the kids along

Shopping with little ones can seem so impossible at times, but bringing them along for the ride is also the only way you can really find appropriate, well-fitted clothes. And there’s always a civic lesson to be taught along the way, sharing Goodwill’s mission and the importance of education.

Why not even go a step further and give each child their own cash (within reason) to take along on a GCC stroll? This will help them learn to budget and take charge of their own style. What better way to warm up their brains for school-thinking after months of summer fun. Even the youngest kids can participate in some way.

 Goodwill offers many traditional school supplies such as notebooks, binders, backpacks, lunchboxes and more, as well as affordably priced, quality clothing, shoes and accessories for the entire family. With the wide range of affordable supplies and new items added to the floor throughout the day, your family can get more bang for your buck while finding unique items.

With that in mind, here’s our list of the top back-to-school items that you might not realize you can find at Goodwill:

  • Men’s dress shirts that can be turned around and used as paint smocks for a preschooler’s classroom
  • Plastic crates and baskets that can be used as storage bins for school supplies
  • Guitars, horns or metronomes for the budding music student
  • Calculators for the math student
  • Bicycles and helmets for riding to and from school
  • Thermal and plastic drink bottles for students who bring their lunch from home
  • Globes and maps


Shopping for kids in high school presents its own unique set of problems. Teens will probably want to pour their whole back-to-school budget into fashion pieces. But don’t let them skip the organizational elements that will streamline life between classes. We’re talking about little hanging baskets, pint-sized mirrors, and other tiny items to keep their locker tidy and useful.

 Lining the inside of a locker door is a rite of passage that shouldn’t be ignored. Scope out your local GCC store for baskets, bins, and art accessories and even some strong magnetic hooks to keep them in place. Don’t forget a mini-white board for homework reminders!

Of course, clothing is a given. Your high schoolers will be shocked to find the many brand-name items (some with tags still attached) handing on our aisles. And keeping them on a budget (while comparing prices at the mall) helps deliver a life lesson that everyone should learn.

What’s more, explain to them how each purchase furthers our mission to remove barriers to employment and create self-sufficiency and pride within our communities.

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