Clothes by the Pound at Queens Goodwill Outlet Center

I hit one of the Thrifty Fashionista‘s stellar Vintage Pop-Up Sales last week, which will henceforth be announced here as they happen. The Thrifty Fashionista and I obvs bonded over our collective love of thrift and our similar notions of what constitutes cheap; I was impressed by both her sifting abilities and the way in which her merch was priced. Girl’s got a fab eye, fo sho. I bought two uber versatile wrap tops and spent under twenty bucks, but that’s another post for another day.

Today’s subject matter deals with the most epic thrifting tip I’ve ever received. Thrifty Fashionista gave me permission to share it with you, but it comes with a catch: It’s for thrifting pros ONLY.

I’m not saying this to exclude you newbies out there – I’m saying it to protect you. For to embark on a quest of this magnitude unarmed with extensive thrifting experience is to throw yourself to the secondhand shopping wolves. Unless you’ve clocked at least 50 or so hours of down-and-dirty digging, don’t even think about it. You will traumatize yourself, and possibly never thrift again. It’s an overwhelming test designed to break you – the LSAT of thrift stores, if you will.

It’s the Goodwill Outlet Center in Queens.

Thrifty Fashionista sums it up as “like the Housing Works All-You-Can-Stuff Bag Sale, but calm” – agreed. The lack of people-related insanity’s a plus, but the act of sifting through the astronomical amount of material castoffs will drive you crazy regardless. It’s just a matter of when.

So. Why put yourself through the hell of hauling ass to Queens and digging through bin after bin after bin of crappy castoffs? This is the place where donated clothing goes to die. What could possibly make the experience of shopping the most unwanted of the castoffs worth your time and energy?

Pop Quiz time:

Eight pounds, exactly. Do I know this because I personally weighed it and/or have a knack for guestimating numbers? Nope. I know this because the Goodwill Outlet Center prices ALL of their merch BY THE POUND.

I didn’t just find an almost-new American Apparel top, a J.Crew seersucker blazer and a seventies-era Bloomingdales fitted polo tee; I found mind-bending wares from decades back, the kind of things that masquerade as “vintage” and get marked up 900% by greedy Manhattan vendors.

All told, I got eight pounds worth of kickass, original stuff for less than the price of one Forever 21 top. Marinate on THAT for a hot sec.

Stay tuned for an extensive list of Goodwill Outlet Center survival tactics; also, a photographic barrage of all the fab stuff I found. One woman’s trash…

(Okay fine, I won’t subject you to another cliche. But it’s true! Eeek!)

Comments

  1. Molly says

    Totally OT question:

    I have a cashmere sweater I haven’t worn in a couple years b/c it has two holes in it, and I don’t want to splurge to get it fixed. What I really want to do is chop it up into a super-luxurious scarf, but I’m afraid it’ll unravel even more. I remember your cutting the bottom off a cashmere top, so I know you’ve done this. How’d it work out?

  2. says

    Back in the days before Williamsburg was hipster central there was a mythical, mystical place called “Domsey Discount” that sold clothing by the pound. It was so much fun to dig and find treasures. It closed about mid-90′s and I can’t tell you how many beautiful things I still have from there. I also can’t estimate how many flea market vendors and vintage shop owners I used to come across there (I’ll not lie, at one point I was one too, but by the time I opened my shop Domsey was gone.) But you are right, you really need to be seriously thrift attuned in order to brave the bins!
    Cheers!
    Suzanne

  3. Jamie says

    Cheap Jap,

    I must say I am a bit offended by this post, being not only a bargain shopper, but a slave to fashion and contrary to popular belief, a Queens native. I am not saying it’s not a hassle to get to some parts of Queens, but Long Island City? Come on, in the name of fashion a quick ride on the express train isn’t exactly what I would call “hauling ass”. I do, however, appreciate the shout out and all the bargain hunting you do!

  4. says

    The Salvation Army in Richmond Indiana was a small version of this. Every Tuesday, the single employee would bring out a bunch of barrels of stuff and dump them on the floor. Everything was a quarter too.

    Sometimes I would go instead of attending the weekly faculty meetings!

  5. Dee says

    Ok Seriously Meghann and Cheap Jap we need to plan a serious day out for just thrifting and then you can both do a fabulous post on it :)

  6. Jessica says

    Another store that does this (or used to? i don’t know..) is one in Boston called the Garment District. They would throw loads of clothes on the floor and you’d look through it all.. definitely a little dirty and weird but fun nonetheless!

  7. Kelly says

    Been to the Housing Works monthly sale before and it was a bit stressful/dirty, but sounds like treasures can be had. Thanks for the info. Definitely want to check it out.

    But, can we please stop acting like Queens is a dreaded no-man’s land 100 miles out of the city? As a Queens native it’s a little annoying. Long Island City is 1-3 stops past Grand Central on the 7, about 10 minutes max from the city, 20 with walking. I’d be happy to live that close to work/school. I get off on the last stop on the 7, and then some. It’d be much appreciated not to call a trip to Queens a trecherous treck.

  8. reccionista says

    i have scored so many great deal like 4 pair of vintage salvatore ferragamo kittten heels, sam eldson pumps, two prada skirts,and my greatest find a vintage LV clutch. i love love this store but i learn that there are certain days to go there because these are the days when you find great treasures. this store is not for the faint of heart you have to be a die hard thrift store shopper.i was a little sad when this store became discovered by so many people, but i am happy that people can get great deals for a great price

  9. reccionista says

    i notice a few mistake in my comments sorry i was writing to fast the best days are on a thursday and a saturaday new bin are always coming out the bins that customers are always watching for are the shoes and hand bags this is when the claws come out and it is not a pretty sight lol.

    • Cheap JAP says

      GREAT TIP – i always wondered when they put out the new shoes and bags! thanks so much for sharing! you will now have good shopping karma for LIFE. :P

  10. Valleygirl973 says

    The Immigrant problem is over the top they are animals in there!!!!!! IT’s not worth it I’d rather shop in Macys

    • Cheap JAP says

      exqueeze me? immigrant “problem?” yes, some of the peeps who shop there are of hispanic descent, and yes, they’re usually badass thrifters. they’re also really nice, if you check your haughty american arse and give them the time of day. thrift is about thinking and shopping outside the box. if you’re offended by the presence of people who don’t look, act and talk like you, you have two choices: go to macy’s, or grow up. i highly recommend choosing the latter – it’s better for your shopping karma.

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