You may have started to incorporate thrift stores into your shopping routine as part of a plan to minimize spending, and to that I say “bravo!” There are more than enough goods on the second-hand market for all of us. However, you might have noticed that thrift stores are not as cheap as they used to be. So, for those of you who want to bring your spending down to the absolute minimum, I recommend that you check out your local Goodwill Outlet store.
Buying used items in bulk can yield real treasures
Goodwill Outlets, a.k.a. “the bins” are completely unlike any other type of retail establishment, as you pay by the pound for most items, which means that lightweight items can be insanely cheap (think mere pennies for a blouse or baby clothing.) These stores are located throughout the country, but are not for elite shoppers who care more about artfully arranged displays than bargains, as all the merchandise is dumped into blue roller bins and only slightly categorized. However, the brag-worthy deals can make it worth any inconvenience.
The New York Times recently published an article about the Goodwill Outlet in Long Island City that focused on the competitive culture between the regular shoppers who resell their finds. I have found this to be true of the Goodwill Outlets in my area of the country as well, although I’ve learned that I’m able to avoid potential drama by avoiding the bins when they’re first wheeled out.
Instead, I shop from the many bins that have been on the floor for more than 30 minutes and still find wonderful bargains. I’m always a bit overwhelmed when I first walk into the building, as the sheer amount of stuff can be intimidating. Instead of letting that reaction be a barrier, however, I simply choose a bin and get to work.
Here you can see shoppers waiting patiently for a new row of bins to be wheeled out:
And here they are moments later grabbing shoes by the pound:
Shopping from a Goodwill Outlet is not ideal for those times when you’re looking for a specific item, but don’t let that get in your way. You may not know what you’re going to find, but that can be a blessing rather than a curse. My last “bins” trip netted me these items:
- One Dyson DC17 vacuum cleaner than needed nothing more than a thorough cleaning to work perfectly
- Two large glass kitchen storage jars
- One vintage tablecloth
- One antique Eastlake-style wooden clock shelf
- One hilarious “Pregnant Paper Dolls” book that I’ll bring to my day job as a labor and delivery nurse
The total cost was $33, which is pretty amazing considering that the new version of this Dyson is on sale for $399.99!
And look how pretty the shelf is!
If you’re lucky enough to live in an area of the country with Goodwill Outlet stores, you should give them a try. The bargains rival any other retailer and you might even score something beautiful, useful or simply hilarious.
RELATED: What you should buy used — and where to get the best deals!