It takes a lot to get me up early on a Saturday morning. The Goodwill Outlet Blowout Sale is on a short list of events I willingly get up early for (followed closely by Christmas and well….nothing). If you have never been to the Goodwill Outlet, here’s a recap of my experience and a few tips to take on your own Goodwill Outlet adventure.
I rolled over Saturday morning (at 6:00 a.m.) grabbed my “Outlet Digging Tools” and was on my merry, non-caffeinated way. I arrived ten minutes before opening time with a line already formed outside the entrance. I donned my Outlet Digging Tools (gloves, dust mask, a $10 dollar bill, and my game face) as the doors opened promptly at 7 a.m., and the digging began. Large blue bins line the room in rows containing various items. Signs hanging from above indicate which items are included in the bins below and the price per pound. (Did I mention you pay by the pound here?! More on that to follow.)
I noticed three general strategies from Outlet regulars: (1) frantically grab everything in sight and pile it into your buggy, weeding through it later, (2) skim the tops of bins for items that catch your eye and snatch, or (3) meticulously dig through each bin, grabbing only what interests you. I chose option 3 because option 1 is too overwhelming for me and option 2 takes all the fun out of the Outlet experience (plus I brought gloves just for this purpose).
Luckily, I brought a shopping buddy, Rachel, with me. It was her first experience at the Outlet so I prepped her before on what to expect. (The Goodwill Outlet is NOT for all shoppers.) It’s essential to have a PIC at the Outlet because the experience is overwhelming solo and extremely time-consuming. There were groups of up to 5 people shopping together. While digging, we stayed in the general area of one another to quickly show off our gems and provide comic relief for some of the outrageous items we found. (Does anyone need a Deja Vu tee?) Even with a shopping buddy, we only made it through half of the blue bins in an hour and a half before calling it quits.
The check-out at the Goodwill Outlet is different from most retail check-outs unless you buy meat dresses by the lb. (i.e. Lady Gaga). If your haul is big enough, you roll your buggy on a large scale to weigh your loot. Luckily, my haul was smaller so I placed my items on a smaller deli-type scale. Your items are then weighed by type, clothes at $0.79/lb. Unlike a traditional shopping experience, I really had no idea what my total would be. This made the experience more exhilarating as I saw the weight of my haul, then the grand total. (I imagine this is also how extreme couponers feel.)
Here’s a round-up of my haul (and estimated original retail value):
Estimated Original Retail Value (in order from top left):
Vintage – Western Essentials by Karman ($40)
Oscar de la Renta sweater ($60)
Target Plaid Shirt ($23)
Target Cocoon Sweater ($30)
NY & Co. Jacket ($50)
Gap Striped Tee ($25)
Vintage UT Bleached Tee ($48)
Bonnie Boerer & Co. Sweater ($100)
French Connection Sequin Tee ($188)
Ann Taylor Sequin Skirt ($118)
Estimated Original Retail Value: $682
Goodwill Outlet Price: $6.24!!
If you have successfully conquered your local Goodwill and would like to give the Goodwill Outlet a whirl, here are my top four tips (in addition to the Tips for Gold-Digging):
- Arrive early. It’s less crowded early in the morning, and the bins are more picked over as the day goes on.
- Bring a shopping buddy. This is important to cover the most area in the least amount of time and provide some comic relief.
- Wear gloves. Some of the bins are very dusty or contain objects that may have sharp edges. The cashier has gloves at the register if you forget to bring your own pair.
- Have an open mind. There are many types of people in the Goodwill Outlet. In my experience, the Outlet regulars and Goodwill staff are extremely friendly and complimentary of each others’ finds.
Have you been to the Goodwill Outlet? Do you have additional tips? Leave your tips in the comments below.
Here is my cat, Gracie, fully accepting my purchases and initiating them into my wardrobe by spreading his cat hair on them.