5 Reasons to Ditch the Toy Store and Shop at Goodwill


Shopping at your local Goodwill offers a number of benefits. It is an excellent way to give back to the community in various ways. It also ensures you are getting some pretty good deals. Yet, when you are shopping for toys, it can seem like you have to go to the big box store or toy store to find the right item for your child. That does not have to be the case. In fact, you can often find a wide range of toys at Goodwill.

Why should you choose Goodwill to find those toys, though? It may seem easier and simpler to just turn to the local store for a toy, but before you do that, consider a few key reasons why so many make this their ideal first stop, whether they need a birthday gift or something for their child.

#1: Let’s Face it – When You Give Away Toys, Where Do They Go?

For many parents, just before birthdays or the holidays, you do a cleanout of the toy room. You clean out all of those toy bins in your child’s bedroom. You finally start working on your child to pare down the number of stuffed animals cluttering their bed and start to go through all of those building block sets. In the spring, you probably go through your outdoor toys and accessories, getting rid of items that your children no longer use or want.

Many people do this. And, when they do, those items tend to head right to Goodwill. You don’t have time for a garage sale, and your cousin’s friend never seems to show up as they promised. You take the items to the local donation center because it is fast and easy to do.

Because everyone else does this, too, your ideal place to find toys is at the local donation center. You will find dozens of items showing up on a routine basis, especially around these times of the year. If you are looking for a toy for a special celebration, it is likely someone else just donated it. Making the decision to stop here first just makes sense.

#2: It’s Affordable – and a Fraction of the Overall Cost

A big name-brand dollhouse is going to likely cost you $149 at the toy store. That building blocks set your child wanted – and probably will keep in the box – maybe $60 at the toy store. Yet, when you shop for these items at Goodwill, chances are you are going to get the same item or something similar at a fraction of the cost. Why spend more on it?

Many toy manufacturers have increased prices on toys as production costs go up. They have also driven up prices by not producing as many of some items, creating more demand, and selling out shelves. This is frustrating for the parent that works very hard to have a bit of extra money to buy toys.

Shopping at Goodwill is not just the most budget-friendly option, but it’s also the smart decision to make. That $149 dollhouse may be just $50 at the local Goodwill. Why not take that $100 and put it towards something else, then? It just makes good financial sense to buy toys from the location where you are going to get a good quality item for less.

#3: Imagine the Cool Things You Can Find

Not all toy buying has to do with buying something for the kids. Sometimes the best finds are those collectible toys you grew up with and wish you could spend a bit more time with on those stressful days you have. Collectible items are one option, but just finding a retro toy from someone’s attic can also be very enjoyable. There are items from just a few years ago on shelves, of course, but there are older toys often dug out from basements and cleaned out of a parent’s home as they work on downsizing. Sometimes, cleaning out an estate leads to a treasure trove of vintage toys. Other times, they come from college students moving out of their parent’s homes and no longer wanting to hold onto these items.

The biggest concern here is finding the right toy. You never know what will come into the donation center at any time. Yet, you are likely to find some fun things. You may find that Tickle Me Elmo that you wanted to have when you were five but never received. It can be a lot of fun to find Beanie Babies – those were popular in 1995 and onward. On the other hand, you may have been one to love the Tamagotchi toys that came out a few years later. Older toys can be valuable. 

There are others who collect items much older than this. Vintage Hotwheel and Matchbox cars are one good example. You may find older gaming systems in need of a bit of a repair. Or, you could be after the Barbie dolls popular in the 1960s. If you long for a few of your favorites from your childhood or those to finish up your collection, Goodwill is the place to go. You will not find these in the local toy store (and if you do, they are likely to be far more expensive).

#4: Big Outside Toys Are Often Available

One of the best times to check out the local donation center is in the spring months. When the weather starts to warm up, people start cleaning out their garages and getting rid of the large (oversized) toys they have in their yard. It is quite common for these items to be rather expensive, often hundreds of dollars. It is also common for these items to be usable by kids for a matter of two or three years. Then, they outgrow them.

From play slides to outdoor kitchens and water tables, there are generally a number of these items donated throughout the year, but especially at this time. Instead of going to the large box toy store to pay two or three times as much, invest in a trip to Goodwill. When you get home with your new find, use a bit of soap and scrub away the grime from outside. You have a like-new toy your child will love.

#5: You’re Giving Back

The Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona gives back to the community with every purchase made. We provide ongoing local support to the region through a number of missions. Our focus is on empowering individuals and strengthening communities.

At the core of our mission is to end poverty through the power of work. That means enabling individuals to work to build skills and support themselves, providing a higher quality of life while they do so. We provide no-cost career services to anyone who requests them. The donations and purchases individuals make – including those toys you are buying for your child – go to help support the advancement of the careers of those most in need. Our career services focus on providing soft skill training, interview skills, resume reviews, and computer skills training, making people with few skills in-demand employees.

Additionally, Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona is also dedicated to providing exceptional transparency in everything they do as a nonprofit organization.  It just makes sense to spend more of your money here, where it is doing something good.

From the cost savings to the countless opportunities to support local efforts to end poverty, shopping at Goodwill for your child’s toys (or those extras you need to complete your own personal collection) just makes sense.  The next time you need to make a toy purchase, head here first.

Toy Store | Blog

Exciting Events this Week!

Amazing things are always happening at Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona! Whether you are looking for a daily special or want to participate in one of our job training events, we have something for you.


*Daily deals valid at select Metro Phoenix, Prescott and Yuma locations. Please check with your neighborhood Goodwill for details.

Discount valid on used merchandise only. Not valid on food or drink, new goods, seasonal or holiday items. Not valid at Goodwill Clearance Center. Our REDESIGN by Goodwill and Clearance Outlet are excluded. REDESIGN operates separate sales and discounts from other Goodwill stores.