How To Shop Goodwill Outlet Store

Discover how to save money and score amazing deals when you shop Goodwill outlet stores. Plus, you’ll learn how to avoid common pitfalls too!

How To Shop Goodwill Outlets Like A Pro

If you follow me on Instagram you know how much I love to thrift. I discovered a few months ago about the Goodwill Columbus Outlet store. I have been to the one in Nashville when we lived there and the one in Cincinnati. Shopping at Goodwill Outlet stores is what I like to call an experience. 

Keep Your Cart Closeby

When you walk in there is a sign with rules of conduct. I have been to this location twice and everyone has been well behaved. However, I always have my cart close by because sometimes people will shop out of your cart if you just leave it unattended. 

The Cost of Items is Based on Weight

The cost of your items is based on weight, as you can see in the pricing noted in the picture below. I love getting my coats from there and so my items are usually a little pricey since coats weigh more.

On my first visit, I got 9 items for $29. For my second visit, I spent $32.

Toss Items You Buy Into the Dryer

I am terrified of bed bugs, so all the thrifted items I usually bring back home I toss in the dryer for 20 minutes and then I will sort through what needs to be washed and what needs to be dry-cleaned. 

The posted code of conduct from a Goodwill outlet store

The price of items at Goodwill stores

Look for the Blue Bins

Each Goodwill Outlet location is going to be different, the only common thing is that all items will be in blue bins.

The Goodwill Outlet in Columbus has clothes, toys, books, furniture, toys, and other household items. Its all tossed in the blue bins and you dig. I usually spent approximately 2 hours a visit.

The bins are switched out every 15 minutes and there are rules when it comes to the switch. We all stand to the side and then we wait for the employees to tell us to go ahead and start going through the newly rolled out bins.

What Kind of Things End Up at Goodwill Outlets?

I asked what kind of items usually ends up at the Outlet and I was told its usually stuff that does not sell at a regular Goodwill store. I think that a lot of these things are things that are overpriced.

Goodwill Shopping for Possible Resale

A lot of people that are there are people that are sourcing for resale. They either resell online at Poshmark, or have Instagram resell accounts and one lady that I spoke to during one of my visits resells at local second-hand stores like Clothes Mentor. Most had been there since opening and were still there after I left. They dig through the bins and wait around for the next batch of bins to come out.

A blue bin from Goodwill full of shoes

A blue bin at a Goodwill outlet full of clothes

Goodwill Shopping Tips

After shopping at the Goodwill Outlet, I’m thrilled to share some of my best tips with you. Read them and follow them. It will save you lots of hassle and time.

#1 Wear Gloves

Wear gloves!!! I cannot stress this enough. You have no idea what you may run into in these bins. My very first trip to an outlet store I did not have gloves nor did I know it was a thing. But don’t fret, there are people in there digging without gloves. So, if you forget your gloves, you won’t be the only one.

#2 Wear Comfy Clothes

Second, wear clothing that you can easily try on pieces that you come along especially if you are shopping for yourself. I usually wear a pair of tights and a t-shirt. It makes it easy to try on my coats, jackets, and skirts. These are the items I am usually on the hunt for.

#3 Keep Your Cart Close To You

Keep your eyes on your cart. Like I mentioned above, some people will shop out of your cart if you are not careful. I always have my cart right next to me when I shop.

#4 Plan To Spend Lots of Time Here

Clear your schedule because the Goodwill Outlet store is unlike any other store. I have to be in the mood for the Outlet store and not have any other plans for the day. I usually spend approximately 2 hours.

#5 Know the Rules

When bins are getting switched out they come around and take away a row of bins, which means you stop shopping out of those bins and then they bring out a fresh set of bins.

Ask other shoppers what the rotation schedule is. The Columbus Ohio location is every 15 minutes but some days it may vary.

You will notice people sitting around waiting on the bins to be switched out. They usually will hang around in the area that the bins will be coming back. I linger as well and find a spot to park my cart so I can claim a spot as soon as the new bins come out.

Do not toss stuff at other people as you dig through, people are very sensitive about their personal space.

Also, wait until you get a go-ahead to start digging through the bins. If you are aren’t too sure what to do stand back and watch the veterans a few times and then jump in.

A pile of clothes from the Goodwill shopping outlet

A pile of toys from the Goodwill Shopping Outlet

What Is the Best Day To Shop Goodwill Outlets?

There isn’t a specific day that is better than any other day. Since they rotate the bins every 15 minutes, every day is a good day to shop!

More Money-Saving Tips

I love sharing how I save money. Here are some more of my best tips!

Tips ti thrifting like a Pro - How to Shop Goodwill Outlet Stores


  1. Jackie
    October 12, 2021 / 8:07 pm

    Went to one for my first time in west Virginia loved it and got amazing things but can’t find any here can you help me to find one closer I live upstate NY saratoga springs by Albany thank you

    • Beverly
      October 25, 2021 / 9:15 am

      I looked in your area and did see any close to you. One bloggers that I follow KarenBritchick does a lot of thrifting and vintage shopping around the NY area and I know she has done some youtube vlogs when she is outside of NY.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *