Mastering the Goodwill Outlet
Who doesn’t love a good bargain? If you’re already shopping at Goodwill, chances are you do! But did you know that Goodwill has an outlet store, where you find good deals even greater?
Most everything at the Goodwill Outlet is priced at $1.39 per pound. Yes… per pound! When you walk in, you grab a rolling bin to throw everything into, and when you check out, the cashier rolls it right onto the scale.
You’ll also find housewares and furniture with most items 50% off, as well as the largest selection of books of any Goodwill store, priced $.25 to $.50.
But some of the people I talk to are a little weary of the Goodwill Outlet, finding it overwhelming. Instead of racks of organized clothing that you find at the retail stores, the outlet is full of giant table-height bins that are filled with everything that didn’t sell at the retail stores. You’ll find separate bins for purses and for shoes, but all of the clothing (for women, men, and children) are mixed in with other types of textiles, such as sheets, bedspreads, shower curtains, and even the occasional napkin or placemat.
So you have to dig. And it’s true that this can be a little daunting. But the Goodwill Outlet is one of my favorite places to shop, because of the great prices and the fabulous things that I’ve uncovered (case in point: a huge stack of crocheted doilies that I hand-dyed and sewed onto just about everything this season).
Here are a few of my tips for mastering the Goodwill Outlet, so that hopefully this will become one of your favorite places too. I promise that it is a thrifting adventure like no other!
1. Start by looking through the room of housewares. It’s organized like a regular Goodwill and easy to navigate. I always find really cute vintage dishes there, as well as a great selection of lamps and inexpensive photo frames.
2. Don’t expect to look through everything in every bin. I like to set a timer on my phone to keep it moving, instead of getting bogged down in one bin. If you know how long you want to spend in the store, set the timer for the total time, or you can set a timer per bin. (If you’re going to shop for 30 minutes, set your timer for 5 minutes per bin.)
3. Throw everything you think interests you into your cart and make the final decisions when you’re done browsing. Again, you want to keep the pace moving.
4. There’s no dressing room, but if you need a mirror, head over to the furniture side, and try what you can over your clothes. I’ve gotten into the habit of always wearing something that will accommodate this easily: something form-fitting or a lightweight dress, and shoes that are easy to get on and off. Leave the layers at home!
5. If you need supplies for a costume, a school project, a craft experiment or a party (Olympics opening ceremony, anyone?) then head to the Goodwill Outlet first. You can’t beat $1.39 per pound for something you’re going to wear once, cut up, or turn into something that may (or may not) work! Just think of those bins as tables full of every possible kind of fabric.
2901-A Freedom Drive
Charlotte, NC 28208
9:30 a.m.–9:00 p.m. Mon.-Thu.
9:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m. Fri.-Sat.
12:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m. Sun.
Don’t forget! 90 cents of every dollar spent at Goodwill – even the Outlet – helps people in our own community. Shop at Goodwill and help us change lives through the power of work!