Goodwill Outlets: Clothing By The Pound Strategies
Goodwill Outlet stores are popping up in chains all over the country. Be warned: they are no-frills (and for thrift stores, that's saying a lot).
Here are some Goodwill Outlet strategies to help you come out ahead:
1. Consider the weight.
At my Goodwill Outlet, bins and tables of merchandise are rolled out to the sales floor daily. You do the digging. Concentrate on light items like paperback books, kid shoes instead of work boots, sheets instead of comforters. Large furniture items and outdoor equipment, which are not priced by weight, offer some of the best values.
Not everything is a bargain. I just had to have that 24-cup restaurant muffin pan, but it cost almost $5 by weight. Sensible me wouldn't have looked twice at a $5 muffin pan in the retail Goodwill!
Likewise, a wool coat may calculate more than its original Goodwill price, while silk scarves, once $1.99 each, ring up at 50-cents for a handful.
2. Figure out the tricks.
Watch the pros. And yes, there are professional buyers who sit at the Goodwill Outlet all day to grab the better stuff.
Our Goodwill Outlet drops the price once you hit 50 lbs, making it like getting 20 pounds free. Weigh your cart before checkout if you think you're getting close. You might want to combine items with a friend (or stranger!) to share the savings.
You'll see a mad rush when new bins arrive on the floor. The best tactic is to put something interesting in your cart, then inspect it later--within reason! One local dealer grabs dozens of good shoes and goes through them later (after slipping the employee a $2o to look the other way).
If you see someone who knows what she's doing, ask for advice! However, use good judgment when interacting with your fellow shoppers. Goodwill Outlets can have a tougher, angrier clientele than the retail side.
3. Separate the "never-solds" from the "never-sorted."
You'll find 2 types of merchandise at the Goodwill Outlet. First are the items which never sold in the retail store, even after multiple discounts. Those usually carry a store tag and have hidden flaws you'll want to avoid.
The second type are items which, for whatever reason, were deemed unsuitable for retail. To me, they represent the hidden treasure of the Goodwill Outlet. Look for bulky items, like strollers or Little Tikes playhouses. Look for practical items, like vacuum bags, opened gift wrap, or wire organizers. Anything unusual or technical may end up in an outlet bin instead of the retail shelves--to your advantage!
We hope these frugal strategies help you conquer the Goodwill Outlet--or any place clothing by-the-pound is sold. Now that Meredith from Like Merchant Ships is on a blogging hiatus, she's had a lot more time for frugal adventures like this one! Do you have a favorite frugal outlet in your area? Give us your suggestions in the comments below.