How to Thrift at the Goodwill Bins


Assault by grandma is a common occurrence at the Goodwill Outlets in Orlando. However, following this guide can help save you the humiliation.

The Goodwill Outlets, or “the bins”, is basically a Goodwill on steroids. You can find clothes, shoes, books, appliances, and all the usual stuff found at a Goodwill- after some digging. Instead of racks of clothes in organized sections you’ll find giant bins full of crap. However, every now and then you can strike gold. Why go through the trouble? Well, at just around $1.69 per POUND of clothes, you can save pretty big.

My first tip is to develop a strategy. There are a lot of bins to go through, and after a while the contents all start to look the same. When you first walk into the store you have to look around and get a good sense for the flow of the store. Map out what order you want to go in before diving in.

My next tip would be to time your arrival properly. The bins are changed periodically throughout the day. So if you plan your arrival properly, you can allow yourself to go through the old bins and it’s new replacement in the same trip. Getting access to fresh bins is important because since no one has gone through it yet, it’s more likely to have nice brand name items.

Another thing to keep in mind is to search all the sections. Many are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of clothes, that they forget that the Goodwill Outlets offer other stuff as well. I personally managed to snag a Chanel handbag from the bag & luggage bins, and many of my friends have found Vans and Nikes in good condition in the shoe bins. Just be patient, and willing to go through everything.

My last piece of advice is to go with a friend- who isn’t the same size as you. If you guys tag team the store, you’ll be able to search more bins before the vultures (middle aged women) descend and take all the good stuff. And with them being a different size, you guys can both keep an eye out for stuff for the other person without affecting your own haul.

The Bins is a good place to find vintage or unique clothing items for cheap. However, it can be easy to get distracted or be too slow and miss out on great pieces. Junior Gabi Bakker stated that “every single time that I’ve been there, I fainted. The most recent time, I fell to the floor and had to have my friend carry me to the bathroom.” This shows just how overwhelming the store can be. To avoid mishaps like this and ensure the best haul, follow these simple guidelines.