Wednesday, August 28, 2013
How to succeed at the Goodwill Outlet
I just arrived home from another fabulous, yet exhausting, trip to the Goodwill Outlet. While I was there I tried to keep a mental checklist of do's and don't for a newbie heading to the Outlet for their first time. So, here is eight tips I think will help anyone who is looking to make their first trip a success.
1. Dress the part. By this I mean, dress down. Often, I head over to Binwill (my friends and I's pet name for The Outlet) first thing after my kids head off to school. I pull my hair back in a ponytail, dress in sweats, or an old t-shirt and jeans and wear a cross body purse. I pack a water bottle, a few snacks, and a pair of gloves. Binwill is dirty, dusty and kinda gross, so I don't wear anything I cherish. Also, I usually shower after I get home.
2. Go with a friend, or two. One of the keys to keeping your costs as low as possible is you need to have your purchase weigh more than 25 pounds ($.89 a pound). And, like today, I was able to do that on my own (26 pounds!), but often I don't quite reach the 25 pound mark on my own, so if I go with a friend they will allow us to weigh our stuff together (but pay separately), ensuring that we get the biggest discount possible. Also, it is way more fun to be their with a friend so you can show each other weird (or today, gross) stuff you find and laugh about it together.
3. Prepare to be a bit aggressive. Now, I'm not talking about pushy or mouthy, I just mean prepare to be firm. Don't back down if you see something you want. Be confident, yet kind. You are going to be in a semi-melee at times when the new bins are brought in. So get ready to dig deep in the bins with the big dogs. Don't shy away, just get in there and mix it up.
4. Try to keep a close eye on your cart. Now, there is an unwritten rule at Binwill that you don't ever take anything out of anyone else's cart. And, for as long as I've been going I have found this to be upheld quite nicely, but the employees at Binwill often find unattended carts and will give a holler to see if they belong to anyone. If no one responds the quickly dump all the contents into a random bin and put the cart away. This happened to me today! It was mortifying!!!! All of a sudden I couldn't find my cart. So, I asked someone and he told me that he had just dumped it. So, I ran over to the bin and frantically scooped all my stuff up. I got very lucky that it was all there (some of the people around it helped my find everything). But, I could have easily lost out on all of my treasures had I not noticed as quickly as I did. Be careful!
5. Check out the furniture section in back. I see some amazing stuff back there more often than not. If you are in need of a dresser, desk, coffee table, chair, etc...look back there. The stuff is cheap and would be perfect with a nice sanding and paint job.
6. When a new row of bins are being brought in don't touch them! This is a huge rule at Binwill. All of the new bins have to be put in place before any shopper touches anything inside them. You can look, but you can't touch. If you try to touch you'll most likely be called out on it.
7. Don't come shopping with one specific item in mind. Most of the time if you are looking for one thing when you go, you will never find it. Just go with an open mind and you will be surprised how much you find that you need. It is weird. Also, if you are looking for one specific item, be sure to tell your friends you are shopping with, so they can look for it too. Just today I told my friends I was looking for white binders and thirty minutes into the shopping trip, we had found at least 12 of them.
8. When you get home make sure to sanitize. I always throw any textile item in the washing machine and wash on hot. Anything I get that is non washable, I wipe down with a Clorox wipe.
Good luck my friends! I find Binwill to be an amazing treasure hunt every time I go.
PS- A bunch of us are headed to Binwill next Wednesday (Sept. 4th) if you want to come along! We'll probably head over once we get the kids off to school that morning.