How to shop Goodwill Outlet. Tips to make your first experience successful

Goodwill Outlet's are starting to pop up all over the place. {find a store near you}  I have started going on a nearly weekly basis and I have found all kinds of treasures. Before you attempt your first trip, I have compiled a few things that you should know before you go.
This isn't your normal Goodwill store. You will have to dig. Bins are rolled out and filled to the 
Large bins are filled to the brim with anything from knives to teddy bears.  Sometimes glass frames are put into the bins and then
something heavy is loaded on top and before you know it, there is broken glass everywhere.  In an attempt to dig to find that one thing you have to have but don't know what it is, you could have a close call with that broken piece of glass. Which is why tip number one is wear gloves.
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But don't be afraid to take off your gloves either.  I hate digging in the clothing bins with gloves. Think about your favorite shirt.  It's probably made of some really nice feeling fabric right?  Well, how can you feel that with gloves on? I've found the nicest brands and clothing just by feel, which is why tip number two is  ditch the gloves.   
                                    
At Goodwill Outlet you pay by the pound.  The more you buy, the cheaper your haul is. It's o.k. to weigh your items before you buy.  If you are close to the next cheaper pound bracket, keep shopping.  You may just find a few more things that will make your purchases cheaper than they would have been with them than without them.

Over the summer I went to Goodwill Outlet to find some small items that I needed for a Bible school craft project.  I dug and dug for hours in some pretty shady looking bins but was finding what I needed.  I got distracted by a new aisle of bins and left my cart unattended at the end of an aisle. When I came back a few minutes later, my cart was gone.  I don't think the people really wanted the trinkets in my cart, but they did want my cart.  Which leads me to my next tip.  Cover your cart. It's silly, but usually just finding a blanket in one of the bins and covering your cart will keep people away from digging in your cart.  There seems to be an unwritten rule about a covered cart. 

Depending on the store you go to, there are rules.  I've noticed that there are usually the same rules at every store, but how they are enforced is different at every store.  One of the rules is that you must clear the aisle when a new set of bins is being wheeled in.  And not only that, while the bins are being wheeled in, there is no shopping until every bin in that aisle is in place.  This can sometimes take about ten minutes.  It's inevitable that a small crowd of anxious shoppers will gather and those people get really upset if you try to sneak in early. You can usually tell a newbie because they wander down one of the closed aisles seemingly oblivious until someone puts them in their place.
The rules are usually posted on a sign somewhere when you walk in.  If it's your first time, go read the sign.  

It's easy to get caught up in the hunt and forget to examine the items that you have in your cart carefully.  I usually put the items that have caught my eye in a cart as soon as I find them. Sometimes this means if I find a shoe that I like, but not a pair, I still put it in my cart.  It's not uncommon to stumble upon the shoe while searching. Once I am about ready to go, I usually grab an empty cart and start doing the final decision making.  This is when I make sure zippers work and there are no holes in the crotch of jeans {I've never seen more crotch holes in my whole life than at the Goodwill outlet!}.  If I examine the item and it's a go, I put the yes item in my new empty cart.  If it's a no, I put the item back in the bin.

The last tip I have for you is to be aware of your space.  There are usually a few people at a time searching through the same bin.  Don't throw your discarded items at the person next to you in your excitement to find the treasure at the bottom.  It doesn't matter how nicely you say you are sorry, someone, every single time I have been in an outlet, has gotten upset at someone else being in their personal space.  Sometimes this results in screaming or fighting {some outlets have security} and other times it could mean they sabotage your space.  Be polite, know who is around you and tread lightly.

I've had a lot of fun shopping at the Goodwill Outlet lately.  Much more so than I have at the regular Goodwill.  You just never know what you are going to find. The more often you go, the easier it is to spot the regulars.  Don't be afraid to ask them what they are looking for.  Sometimes you can work together while you look. The hunt is sometimes the best part of it, and having something to look for makes it that much more fun.  Enjoy the hunt!

2 comments

Betty Albert said...

YES!! I love Goodwill outlet. It's called Bargain Barn in my town. I try to go at least once a week! I've found real treasures! Very cool post!

mandi persnickety said...

Nothing will ever be more awesome than our first Seattle Goodwill Outlet adventure. I still laugh about the hilarity that happened that day! Miss you!

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