Goodwill Outlet: The Ultimate Guide to Nailing Goodwill Bins

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Attention Outlet Shoppers! Thrifting has been a cherished part of my life for as long as I can recall. It’s no surprise that my love for discovering hidden gems in secondhand treasures naturally led me to embrace the world of outlet shopping.

The thrill of scouring through racks, the delight of stumbling upon rare finds, and the satisfaction of giving pre-loved items second chances (and for rock bottom prices to boot) so closely mimics many of my outlet purchases.

So when I was driving along the freeway and saw a giant Goodwill Outlet sign, you know I swerved toward that exit ASAP. Two worlds colliding? Yes, please!

goodwill outlet sign

If you’re looking for outlet shopping fun with dirt cheap pricing, then let me blow your mind with the Goodwill Outlet world.

Your local Goodwill Outlet thrift store, also known as the Goodwill Bins, provides a unique and exceptional shopping experience. Here, you can discover remarkable deals on last chance items that may have been overlooked by shoppers at a traditional Goodwill store. The last stop on the Goodwill clearance life-cycle, if you will.

This type of shopping can be a bit overwhelming at first, but with some practice, you can quickly become a pro at finding the best deals.

Understanding Goodwill Outlets

If you’re new to Goodwill Outlets, like myself not too long ago, it’s a little confusing. I’ll help you get your footing on rotation schedules, break down what bins are, all of the unspoken rules/tips/tricks, and more.

What is a Goodwill Outlet?

If you’re looking for a bargain, a Goodwill Outlet center might be the perfect place for you. Goodwill Outlets are retail stores that sell donated items that have not sold at regular Goodwill donation centers.

When you step into a Goodwill Bins store you’ll immediately notice that it’s a different shopping experience compared to traditional thrift stores. The store will likely be chaotic and crowded, with people rummaging through (or sitting inside!) blue bins, staff making announcements, rules posted on the walls, and yellow lines on the floor.

You’ll likely find a variety of items such as home goods and furniture, clothing, shoes, books, and more. But here’s the twist: these items usually aren’t neatly organized. It’s your job to roll up your sleeves and dive into the stacks, sifting through to uncover exactly what you’re after. It’s a real hands-on treasure hunt!

Goodwill Outlet Pricing

Items are sold at a low price per pound, making it an affordable option for those looking to save money. Pricing will also vary by location.

With these low Goodwill Outlet prices, however, you’ll be competing with other thrifters and flippers looking for the best bargains.

goodwill outlet pricing

How is it Different from Regular Goodwill Stores?

Goodwill Outlets differ from regular Goodwill stores in a few ways. 

  1. As previously mentioned, these outlets are pound stores, meaning items are sold by weight. At regular stores, items are sold at a fixed price. Heavy items will cost more at the outlets. 
  2. At Goodwill Outlets, you won’t find the usual sorted and neatly displayed items on shelves. It’s a different ballgame here – you’ll be rolling up your sleeves and diving into bins and piles of items to find the good things.
  3. Goodwill Outlets receive items that have not sold at regular stores, whereas regular stores receive items that are in good condition and have been sorted by staff. This means that you may find items that are damaged or in need of repair at Goodwill Outlets. According to a former employee, many items in the bins are often unsorted due to staffing and time constraints, alongside limited storage space. Some items also fall into the stain/rip category.
  4. Items are pulled out based on a set rotation schedule. Getting to know this schedule is a key contributor to maximizing success.

Goodwill Outlet Rotation Schedules

Rotation schedules are a fundamental aspect of how items are managed and made available for shoppers at Goodwill Outlet stores. These schedules determine when new merchandise is brought onto the sales floor and how long items remain available before they are replaced with fresh inventory. Here’s how it generally works:

  1. Intake and Sorting: Goodwill outlets receive a constant stream of donations from various sources. These items are initially sorted and categorized by staff to ensure they meet certain quality and safety standards. Items that don’t make it to regular retail stores due to minor imperfections or the volume of similar items may end up at the outlet.
  2. Rotation Timeframe: After sorting, items are placed on the outlet sales floor. Each item is assigned a specific rotation timeframe, often lasting a set number of hours or days. This could be a half-hour, an hour, or any other interval determined by the store management.
  3. Bin and Table Setup: Items are usually placed in large bins or on tables for shoppers to sift through. The exact setup can vary, but the rotation process remains consistent. Before each rotation, staff members make an announcement to inform shoppers that a new set of items is about to be placed on the sales floor and again once bins are open for shopping. This announcement serves as a signal for shoppers to start getting ready to browse through the new merchandise.
  4. End of Rotation: Once the rotation timeframe is up, staff members remove the contents of the bin or table and replace them with new items. This process helps maintain a continuous flow of merchandise for shoppers to explore.
  5. Opportunity for Bargains: The rotation system creates a sense of urgency and excitement among shoppers. As the rotation time nears its end, savvy shoppers know that items currently on the sales floor will soon be replaced. This can lead to opportunities to find bargains, as the outlet staff may reduce prices or offer special deals on items that are about to be rotated out.
  6. Consistent Updates: Goodwill outlet rotation schedules ensure that the shopping experience remains fresh and engaging. Shoppers can visit the outlet regularly, knowing that they will always have a chance to discover new items and uncover hidden treasures.

It’s important to note that the specifics of rotation schedules can vary from one Goodwill outlet location to another. And some outlets may adhere to very strict schedules, while others might have a more flexible approach.

If you’re interested in shopping at a Goodwill warehouse, it’s a good idea to inquire about their rotation schedule and any related policies so you can make the most of your thrifting experience.

Navigating the Goodwill Outlet: A Strategic Guide

goodwill outlet movies and books

Goodwill Outlet stores offer a vast expanse of possibilities, with rows upon rows of bins teeming with clothing, shoes, and assorted treasures.

To make your shopping experience truly rewarding, here’s a step-by-step strategy to master the art of thrifting at these outlets:

1. Plan Your Attire and Essentials:

  • Dress comfortably in clothes and shoes that allow flexibility and endurance as you delve into the bins.
  • Bring disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer or gloves to safeguard your hands from sharp or soiled items.
  • Arm yourself with essential tools like a measuring tape, spare batteries, and a reliable screwdriver for testing electronics.
  • Carts may be limited so come with spacious, reusable bags to conveniently carry your growing collection (outside bag policy may vary by location).
  • Depending on the size of your haul, ensure you have suitable transportation, whether it’s a spacious vehicle, a friend’s assistance, or public transportation options.

2. Early Bird Gets the Treasures:

  • Arrive before opening hours to capitalize on the initial rotation of items. Many outlets adhere to a consistent schedule, making mornings a prime time for discoveries.
  • Leverage your early arrival to navigate the freshest selection with less competition.

3. Strategic Exploration:

  • Engage with staff, including cashiers and managers, to glean insights into the rotation schedule. Their guidance can steer you toward optimal moments for uncovering specific treasures.
  • Listen for announcements signaling the removal of a bin row. Act swiftly to seize last-minute opportunities before fresh inventory replaces it.
  • Patiently sift through both new and older bins, as the most valuable items might be concealed beneath the surface.
goodwill outlet blue bins

4. Quality Over Quantity:

  • Thoroughly inspect items before purchase, as all sales are “as is.” There are no returns or exchanges.
  • Examine clothing, accessories, and items meticulously for defects, stains, tears, and ensure functional zippers and components.
  • That being said, stay open to creativity and imagine the potential of items beyond their current state. A little cleaning, mending, or repurposing might transform an item into a unique treasure.

5. The Competitive Edge:

  • Embrace the competitive nature of Goodwill Outlet bins, where resellers and flippers seek valuable items. Develop a strategic approach to thrive in this dynamic environment.
  • Consider teaming up with a friend or forming a shopping squad to enhance efficiency.

6. Patience Pays Off:

  • Dedicate time to your search, as Goodwill Outlet bins receive daily and frequent restocks. This ensures a consistent influx of fresh merchandise, making perseverance rewarding.
  • Use scanning apps or websites to quickly check the value of potential resale items. This can help you make informed decisions on whether to purchase certain items.

Rules and Policies

General Outlet Store Rules

When shopping at Goodwill Outlet, there are a few general rules to keep in mind.

First and foremost, extend kindness to fellow shoppers and the dedicated staff. Second, refrain from extracting items from the bins until they have completed their rotation onto the sales floor, a cue typically signaled by the staff’s announcement.

The question of whether children are permitted at a particular location can be a bit of a mixed bag. Rules tend to vary from spot to spot, so it’s always a good idea to cover your bases. My advice? Give them a quick ring before your visit to double-check the specifics. This way, you’ll be fully in the loop and ready to make the most of your outing.

goodwill outlet rules

Shopping Cart and Bag Policies

Goodwill Outlet provides shopping carts and bags while shopping, available at the front of the store.

Always keep an eye on your cart (I’ve seen some folks complain about items going missing!) or causing traffic jams in the aisles. Also, don’t go stacking items in your cart higher than that yellow line – it’s like a friendly limit for your finds.

Once something lands in your cart, it’s like a thrift store pact – it stays there. And when it’s time to sort your loot, stick to the designated zones, like pictured below.

goodwill outlet sorting area

Finding the Best Deals

If you’re looking for great deals on clothing, furniture, books, and electronics, the Goodwill Bins is the place to be.

Clothing and Accessories

The Goodwill Outlet is a great place to find name-brand clothing at unbeatable prices. I have seen numerous videos where people scored on brands like Urban Outfitters, Lululemon, Patagonia, The North Face, and even Gucci.

  • First off, quality check is key. Scan for clothing in tip-top shape – no stains, tears, or missing buttons.
  • Don’t hesitate to dive deep into those bins. Trust me, the real gems are often hidden beneath the surface, waiting for you to uncover them.
  • Seasons play a role too. Keep your eyes peeled for off-season finds – think winter coats during summer or swimsuits in the winter.
goodwill bins

Furniture and Household Goods

The Goodwill Outlet isn’t just about clothing, it also has a great selection of furniture and housewares.

  • When it comes to furniture, quality is key. Give items a once-over for scratches, dents, and any bits that need fixing. Pay attention to those dents and dings to analyze materials. Is it real wood or particle board?
  • Keep your eyes peeled for those unique finds that stand out in a crowd. The outlet is like a haven for one-of-a-kind treasures that’ll add a special touch to your space.
  • And don’t forget to check out the electronics section for appliances and other must-have household items.
goodwill outlet furniture

Books and Electronics

The Goodwill Outlet has a large selection of books and electronics. Here are some tips to help you find the best deals:

  • Check underneath the book jacket cover. Thrift books are my favorite way to get super cheap coffee table and decorative books for my decor.
  • Make sure to open up those DVD and CD cases to ensure the contents are actually inside.
  • Look for items that are in high demand. You may be able to resell them for a profit!

The Online Reseller Guide

If you’re a reseller looking to make a profit from the Goodwill Bins, you’ll need to know a few things before you start.

Tips for Reselling Items

When it comes to reselling items from Goodwill Outlet, the key is to be patient and persistent. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Swing By Regularly: The more you pop in, the better your odds of uncovering those valuable gems and mastering the art of rotation schedules.
  • Know what sells: Do some research on popular items and brands that sell well on reselling platforms like eBay and Etsy.
  • Quality Check: Give your potential resale items a meticulous inspection for any flaws or damages that might affect their appeal to buyers.
  • Be prepared to dig: Goodwill Bins can be a bit overwhelming, but the best finds are often buried deep within the bins.
  • Network with other resellers: Connect with other resellers to share tips and insights and to learn about new reselling opportunities.

Understanding Pricing and Weight

goodwill outlet art

Goodwill Outlet uses a unique pricing system that can be a bit confusing for new resellers. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Pricing is based on weight: Goodwill by the pound stores have different price points for different weight ranges and categories.
  • Know the price points: Check the pricing signage on the wall for current price points to avoid any surprises at the register.
  • Some items are priced differently: Certain items like furniture and electronics may be priced differently than other items.
  • Be mindful of shipping costs: The weight of the items you purchase will affect the shipping costs when you resell them online, which affects your profit potential.

By following these tips and understanding the pricing and weight system, you can maximize your profit when reselling items from Goodwill Outlet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a Goodwill Outlet near me? 

If you are wondering, “Is there a Goodwill Outlet store near me?” you’ve come to the right place. Goodwill Outlet locations can be found in nearly every state across the United States.

My favorite resource for locating a Goodwill Clearance Center is right here

If you want to do your own location searching, I recommend Googling your state + the following keywords:

  • Goodwill Bins
  • Goodwill Outlet
  • Goodwill Warehouse
  • Goodwill Clearance Center
  • Goodwill Outlet Bins
  • Goodwill Pound Store
  • Goodwill Outlet and Donation Center
  • Goodwill Bin Store

Why are there yellow lines on the floor?

The yellow lines on the floor serve a few purposes:

  1. Organized Shopping Zones: Many Goodwill Outlet stores use yellow lines or markers on the floor to create organized shopping zones. These lines help divide the sales floor into different sections, with each section containing a specific set of bins or tables. Additionally, you’ll need to stay behind these lines during rotation.
  2. One Section at a Time: Shoppers are typically instructed to start shopping in a particular section based on the yellow lines. The staff may announce that shoppers are allowed to shop in the section where the new items have been placed first. Once they’ve finished shopping in that section, shoppers may be directed to move on to the next section, and so on.

How does the pay-by-the-pound store system work at Goodwill?

At Goodwill Outlet stores, items are sold by the pound instead of individually priced. As you shop, you place items in a cart and once you’re ready to check out, the weight of your items is measured and you pay a set price per pound.

What does ‘the bins’ refer to when thrifting at Goodwill?

‘The bins’ refers to the large blue bins that are filled with unsorted items at a Goodwill Outlet store. Shoppers are allowed to dig through the bins to find items they want to purchase. Goodwill Outlets are considered bins store. 

Are Goodwill Outlet stores worth it?

Goodwill Outlet stores can be a great way to find unique items at a low cost. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the items are not sorted and may require some cleaning or repairs. It’s also important to note that the selection can be hit or miss and may vary from store to store.

Overall, shopping at a Goodwill Wholesale Outlet can be a fun and affordable experience for any treasure hunter. Just remember to be respectful, wear appropriate clothing, and keep an eye out for those hidden gems.

Want to find more outlets near you? Click here!

I am an independent blogger and I am not affiliated with any company. The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are solely my own and based on my personal experiences and research. Information is subject to change.

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