Last updated on February 4th, 2020 at 03:20 pm
Do you step into a Goodwill store and become immediately overwhelmed by the selection? How do you find the best deals in a sea of stuff? This 3 part series will provide you with Goodwill shopping tips that will help you find the best deals every time you shop Goodwill.
Goodwill Shopping Tips: Get The Best Deals With This 3 Part Series
(Links in this post are affiliate links. I will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking those links. See my disclosure page for more information)
I have a love-hate relationship with Goodwill. My love for it is location dependent. Certain Goodwills I find to be well organized with plentiful finds at great prices–these are the ones I love. Other Goodwills are poorly organized, with pitiful finds and high prices–these are the locations I hate.
However, over the years I have learned certain thrifty tricks that have allowed me to find deals even in the so-so Goodwill locations.
6 Goodwill Tips That Will Help You Find The Best Deals In Every Store
1. Try out a few locations
Don’t just try out one Goodwill and decide that we Goodwill lovers are crazy, because you may have hit a bad one.
I find the ones in or near bigger centers have a much better selection than those found in smaller towns. I also find that with few exceptions the long-held thrift store tip of the richer the surrounding neighborhood the better the thrift store items is indeed true.
However, the Goodwills in big cities and richer neighborhoods tend to have higher prices, so it is a bit of a trade-off.
2. Be prepared to spend at least an hour or more inside the store
Goodwill is not like the mall; you cannot go in go straight to the blouse rack, go straight to your size, go straight to the color you want, go straight to the changing room and finally straight to the register to pay for your item. In and done is not a term you can use to describe Goodwill shopping. Goodwill shopping is more like hunting, it can take time to find and hit the target but when you do the pay off can leave you with a thrifty high that will last for days.
Most Goodwills are organized first by item (all the jeans together, all the skirts together…) then by size, and finally in some stores (but not all) they are organized by color.
If you can afford to spend extra time in Goodwill, don’t just look at the sections that are marked as your size–often great items will end up in the wrong size area.
Trust me when I say that 90% of the time your extra time spent shopping will come back to you in dollars saved over buying at the mall.
3. If you see an employee bringing out a rack from the back, go and take a look
I often find the best stuff on these freshly bought out racks and the employees never mind me taking a look through–some have even said, “Go ahead, the more you buy off it the less time I have to spend emptying the rack.” However, commenters on this article have informed me that in some areas you cannot go through the racks that are being brought out. I say give it a try–if it isn’t store policy to hit the “new to the store” racks, the employees will let you know and you can follow the rules from then on.
4. Grab a cart–you are going to need it
I often think to myself when I am pressed for time, “I am just going to look through…this time so I won’t need a cart,” but then within minutes I find myself walking across the store with several items in my hand to go and get the cart because there are several more racks of items I want to look through.
5. Go down each aisle so that the front of garments are facing you
I find it easiest to sort through the clothes if I go down each aisle I am interested in with the front of the garments facing me.
I then shove the clothes as far back as they will go on the rack and quickly thumb through them one by one.
If I am in a hurry, I scan the rack with my fingers stopping when I find something that catches my eye, but often this approach causes me to miss great stuff (which I see later when a person behind me snatches it up).
6. Don’t be afraid to put sizes you think won’t fit in your cart
These are secondhand clothes, they may have shrunk or stretched or have been altered. Plus–clothes sizes these days are not at all regulated. My wardrobe is made of three different sizes of clothing, all that currently fit. I am beginning to learn what brands seem to be generous with their sizing, meaning I will wear a size smaller than normal, and which ones are a bit skimpy, meaning I will wear a size larger than normal.
Now that you have a mound of clothes in your cart, it is time to find out what to do once you hit the dressing room.
Read The Rest Of The Goodwill Shopping Tips Series
For a list of 52 different websites, apps, and stores our thrifty family uses to help us keep our expenses low, click here to visit our Thrifty Tools Resource Page.
More Tips To Help You Save Money On Clothing & Other Expenses
How about you? Do you have any tips for shopping Goodwill?
Looking for ways to save and earn money? Join the Thrifty People Of Snail Pace Transformations Facebook group.