Thrifting at Goodwill bins can be a great way to save money while shopping for quality clothes and other items. As a seasoned thrifter, I’ve found that there are certain tips and techniques to maximize your savings when you visit the local Goodwill bins.
In this blog post, let’s talk about my honest experience with thrifting at Goodwill Outlets and how to make the most of your shopping experience.
First, let’s define what “the bins” mean in thrifting. The Goodwill bins are outlets where you can purchase donated items from local Goodwill stores at discounted prices. These items may be slightly damaged or worn but are still usable.
The bins are separated from clothing and fabric items in bins on one side of the store. The other bins are full of plastics and household items. Clothing and household goods are different prices per pound.
Our local Goodwill Clearance Center’s clothing costs $1.75/lb.
The last trip I took with my daughter was the first time I purchased items that were not clothing, and looking at the receipt, I have no idea what is what.
I took my twelve-year-old daughter to the bins for the first time. She has come to love a deal and is learning how many treasures you can find used for a fraction of the price compared to big box stores.
At first, she was overwhelmed and didn’t want to get into digging in the bins. I knew how she was feeling because I felt the same the first time I went.
I was overwhelmed and did not realize how big these bins were, but it only took five minutes before I found jeans with a tag still on, and I was hooked.
You have to go in with a mindset that it is a treasure hunt and bad attitudes won’t get anything.
It was similar for my daughter. After a few minutes, when she saw me and the other kids in there finding items, she got into it and started having fun. She even went to other bins on her own.
So if you take your kids with you, don’t give up. Give them a little time and watch them light up when they find deals.
This is what it looks like at checkout. You put your items in that plastic tote on the scale.
Many employees are working, and when it comes time to switch out the bins, all customers are asked to stand behind tape. Everyone gets in a line and waits for the treasure hunt to begin again.
You will see a sign on the floor to follow where to stay when new merchandise is being brought out.
Some things we saw in the fabric bins ranged from blankets, piles of curtains, pants, shorts, shirts, sweaters, jackets, sheets, comforters, and more. You never know what you will find, and that’s what is so fun about thrifting.
In the video below, I shared our trip and the items we found during that shopping haul. Keep reading for more tips on how to shop at Goodwill and the bins.
It felt like old-school Black Friday shopping. Items are not typically priced individually. If you find a tag, it’s usually from a previous Goodwill warehouse.
Here’s the video that shows the inside and our haul
Now that you know what the bins are, when is the best time to go? Generally speaking, I’ve found that any time of day is ideal for a trip to the Goodwill outlet. It didn’t settle well with me the first time I went. Seeing how many items were filled at the store and how they brought out “fresh” bins all day.
I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed with how much stuff we consume in our culture.
I still think the best time to visit is early morning when the bins are freshly restocked with items. That way, you can ensure you get the best selection of products available.
Regular thrifting Mondays and Tuesdays are great days to go because the stores put out fresh items after the weekend rush.
It’s also important to note that not all Goodwill stores have clearance centers or outlets. In our area, it is called the Goodwill clearance center. My bestie shops at one in Wisconsin called the Goodwill Outlet.
There are different terms for each region. Google Goodwill clearance center and bins and then the city you live in or near. If nothing comes up, try to search Goodwill outlets.
Did we see some pretty worn items?
Yes, but not as many as I thought. You will come across items like one random sock and some broken things, but again you are getting a deal by doing the sifting.
You will find some people wear gloves while shopping, and it may be something for you to consider, but don’t let that scare you.
Here are some of the items purchased on our last trip.
My daughter was so excited about the toys she found for her sister.
What is the best time to go to the Goodwill Clearance Center, and why?
Timing is crucial when it comes to scoring the best finds at the Goodwill bins. Typically, the best time to go is right when they open.
Getting there early allows you to beat the crowds, ensuring a higher chance of finding unique and high-quality items before they’re snatched up. But they change bins throughout the day, so there is never a bad time.
As you go more frequently, you’ll find that some people will stay all day because they are waiting for the new bins. Most of these people are resellers.
Define what “the bins” mean in thrifting.
In the world of thrifting, “the bins” refer to large, unsorted bins filled with various donated items. These bins act as the heart and soul of a Goodwill outlet, serving as a treasure trove for savvy shoppers.
Unlike regular Goodwill stores, where items are neatly organized on shelves, the bins offer a more unstructured and exciting shopping experience.
How is a Goodwill outlet different from regular Goodwill stores?
Goodwill outlets differ from regular Goodwill stores in several ways. While stores follow a traditional retail model with organized racks and fixed prices, outlets are a step further in the bargain-hunting journey.
Outlets feature the infamous bins, where items are sold by weight rather than individually priced. This means you pay for your finds based on the weight of the items you choose, making it an incredibly cost-effective way to shop.
And once you start doing this, your regular Goodwill store’s prices will seem expensive.
What time of day is ideal for a trip to the Goodwill outlet?
Aim for a midweek visit during the morning to make the most of your Goodwill outlet experience. Avoid weekends, which tend to be busier, resulting in more competition for the best items.
Going during the week increases your chances of finding hidden treasures without the hustle and bustle of a crowded shopping environment.
How many Goodwill outlets are located throughout the US?
Goodwill outlets are scattered throughout the United States, with locations in nearly every state.
While it’s difficult to provide an exact count due to the ever-changing nature of Goodwill’s expansion, rest assured that regardless of your location, you’ll likely find a Goodwill outlet nearby to embark on your thrifting adventure.
What does “bin” mean in the context of thrift shopping?
In thrift shopping, “bin” refers to the containers or large bins filled with unsorted donated items at Goodwill outlets. Shoppers sift through these bins, discovering a mix of clothing, accessories, household goods, books, and more.
The bins offer a unique and often surprising assortment of items, adding an element of thrill and surprise to the shopping experience.
Some of the items are donated directly to the store and other items come in from various Goodwill stores.
When is the cheapest day to shop at Goodwill locations?
While pricing may vary slightly between locations, many Goodwill locations offer discounts on specific days of the week.
To snag the best deals, check if your local Goodwill has a “Discount Day” or “Half-Off Day” during the week. These are typically the cheapest days to shop, where you can enjoy significant savings on already affordable items.
What is Goodwill called now?
Goodwill Industries International, the nonprofit organization operating the thrift stores, is still known as Goodwill. However, it has undergone various rebranding.
Overall, shopping at Goodwill bins can be a great way to save money while still finding quality items. If you’re new to thrifting, visit the outlet early in the morning when it’s freshly restocked.
With a bit of research and patience, you’ll be able to find the best deals and products available. Happy thrifting!