If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a million times, “You find the cutest stuff at Goodwill. I never find anything.” Contrary to popular belief, I don’t have any magic Goodwill pixie dust or magic thrifting power. If you’ve read my Tips for Gold Digging and still leave the store defeated and empty-handed, you may be making one of these five thrifting mistakes!
- You don’t have a plan. Goodwill is big, really big, like Forever 21 in Times Square big. The vast size and inventory at most Goodwills can intimidate many newbie and virgin thrift shoppers. You need a plan of attack as soon as you walk in the door. This varies by store because each Goodwill store is laid out differently. If I walk into a new store, I scope out the sections first then prioritize based on time. If I’m short on time, I always go to dresses or shoes first.
- You don’t try everything on. I know the dressing rooms are a little cramped and not too fancy, but you can’t skip trying on your finds! I usually have a buggy full of clothing and can easily narrow my haul in half after trying on. This is also a good time to inspect each garment carefully any missing buttons, broken zippers, frayed hems, or holes.
- You are too distracted. Yes, there are McDonald Flintstone cups from the 90’s, oodles of Bill Cosby sweaters, and tons of other tchotchkes that will take you back to a fond childhood memory. Acknowledge this memory and move on because you have Goodwill gold to find!
- You are caught up by the cheap price tag. Yes, it’s cheap. That does NOT mean you have to buy it. This is one of the mistakes I often make. J.Crew sweater for $3? Cool graphic tee for $2? Being mesmerized by the affordable price does not change the fact that the cool graphic tee may hang in your closet unworn for the next 2 years! I set a budget for my shopping trips and force myself to stick to that budget to ensure I only buy items I really like or need in my wardrobe.
- You are in a hurry. Time is an invaluable commodity. We live in a society where busyness is glorified and we’re all in a hurry. You cannot have the same mindset when you walk into a Goodwill store. If I’m making a serious trip, I try to allocate at least 2 hours in the store. I know it seems like a lot, but you would spend just as long at the mall or TJ Maxx. I make quick trips if I’m looking for something specific, but I always leave feeling like I left treasures on the racks.
Are you guilty of making any of these thrifting mistakes? I hope my tips help you become a better Goodwill shopper! Share your finds on Instagram with the hashtag #goldwilldigger!