Sourcing Clothing by the POUND?! Your Guide to Goodwill Outlets (PART 2)
Did you catch our PART 1 blog on Goodwill Outlets? Make sure you're not missing the first half of the list!
As promised, we're back! We have so many great tips for sourcing clothing at Goodwill Outlets that we couldn't contain ourselves to just one blog post!
In case you missed it, here's a quick recap of tips 1-5:
1) Go in prepared and manage your expectations
2) Pack light and don't bring anything extra
3) Make sure you give yourself at least an hour to shop
4) Keep an eye out for cash
5) Cost is based on weight, but look into the location's specific pricing rules
Picking back up where we left off...
6) Be Strategic With Your Time
It’s not a competition…but isn’t it though? A little bit?
Once a new row of bins comes out, the clock is ticking and you are racing everyone else to claim the best items of the row. Because of this, you won’t have time to stop and carefully examine each item!
Here’s the strategy we recommend:
FIRST: Gather items. Go through the bins one by one and grab anything you are interested in purchasing.
SECOND: Sort through. Once you’ve gone through all the available bins and are waiting for a new row to be brought out, take the time to look over the clothes you’ve gathered. Check them for stains, holes, or other flaws that you don’t want to deal with. If you decide not to purchase something, toss it back in a bin!
7) Weighing the Merch
Depending on the Goodwill Outlet you visit, there might be more than one scale type for weighing your items!
Countertop scales are just what they sound like – a smaller scale on top of the checkout counter. There might be a bin that sits on top to help hold your items–you’ll need to put your items on the scale to find out your final price, and the weight of their bin will be subtracted!
Roll-On scales are big scales on the floor that you can roll your cart right on to. The cashier will subtract the weight of your cart to find the weight of just your items. Make sure you’re using the right kind of cart so that you get the best possible price! Speaking of shopping carts…
8) Not All Carts Are Created Equal
Many Goodwill Outlets are lacking in carts. It’s very possible that you might show up to shop and be faced with no options, so it’s best to be prepared just in case!
First of all, if you arrive earlier in the day you’re more likely to get a cart. Plan ahead!
If you’re not sure there will be carts when you arrive, it’s best to come prepared. Many shoppers at The Bins rely on IKEA bags for Goodwill Outlets. These bags are large, strong, and lightweight–ideal for when you need to weigh clothing at the end! Bring at least two for sorting your items as you go.
Another option is to bring your own small foldable shopping cart, like people use at farmer’s markets. You won’t be able to weigh your items within this cart, but it’s a great option for people who can’t or don’t want to carry their items around for hours!
9) Hope You Can Hold It…
Another thing Goodwill Outlets lack besides shopping carts? Bathrooms.
For those of us with small bladders, this is a bit of a nightmare. You’ve got a huge bag of awesome finds, but you’re starting to get desperate…and they have a big sign that says “NO PUBLIC RESTROOM”.
What are your options?
- Skip the Starbucks before shopping. Coffee is a diuretic, which means it makes you need to pee more. Get your caffeine fix a few hours before or after your shopping adventure!
- Plan ahead. Use a nearby restroom before entering the Outlet, and google public restrooms nearby ahead of time.
- Ask (or beg) nicely. If it is a true emergency, a kind word to an employee can make all the difference!
10) Getting Your Haul Home
Some Goodwill Outlets might have cardboard boxes to use for checkout, but generally you can’t rely on the store to have bags for you to carry your purchase to your car.
This is another time when those IKEA bags come in handy! You can also bring your own boxes or bins with you in your trunk. In fact, bringing plastic bins with snap on lids can be great if you’re worried about all those unwashed clothes being in your car!
It’s time to give yourself a reward! Keep hand sanitizer in your car for germs, and a snack and drink to rehydrate and curb any hangries.
You did it! You survived your first Goodwill Outlets adventure. Mark your calendar for the next time you’re going to hit up The Bins – once you start it can be hard to quit!