Advanced Thrifting 101: Ten Tips for Shopping a Goodwill Outlet Center
Tackling the beast that is the Queens Goodwill Outlet Center requires more than some serious cojones. Employ the below tips, and increase your chances of survival.
1. Defensive Dressing
Clothing comfortable/casual enough to get dirty; walking shoes; a hands-free bag; you know the deal. I donned a fanny pack for the occasion, and it felt AWESOME.
2. Engage Your Inner Hypochondriac
I usually hand-sanitize before, during and after advanced thrifting excursions of this ilk – that is, until I happened upon the phrase “rubber kitchen gloves” in the Comments section. If I had any common sense, I’d have thought of this myself; I don’t, so I’m eternally grateful to the gal who wrote in. Effing brilliant.
3. Anticipate Navigational Difficulties
When you enter the realm of the 7 train and have trouble differentiating your left from your right (also a slight case of dyslexia), getting lost is all but inevitable – the Maps app on my iPhone didn’t do jack in terms of helping me find my destination. I had to ask three or four people for directions before I finally got to the Goodwill; I highly recommend those with similarly sub-par navigational skills do the same. Don’t be shy.
4. Use the Carts
The grocery store-esque shopping carts, that is. Wheel it down the aisle, park it near whatever bin you’re pulling from, and toss your goodies in as you find them.
5. Seven Minutes per Bin, MAX
To effectively sift through a deep, large bin of crumpled castoffs, one must plunge her arms into the bottom of the stuff and yank in an upward direction. The plunge/yank move ensures you get a look at most of the stuff in a given bin, and seven minutes is more than enough time to denote the ick from the SICK. Once you’re through one bin, move immediately onto the next. There are about twenty massive bins to choose from: Strength stamina, and time must be budgeted accordingly.
6. More is More
You’re not going to remember everything in your cart while you’re still in sifting mode. Anything that grabs your eye is a YES – for now.
7. Denim is Heavy
As previously mentioned, clothing at the Goodwill Outlet Center is priced by the pound. I recommend avoiding the denim section on your first visit for this reason. An extra pound might not add much to the monetary cost of the excursion, but remember: You’re carrying your finds back on the subway. A bag of jeans is a lot less fun to cart around than a bag of shirts. I’m just saying.
8. Know When to Call It A Day
After an hour and ten minutes of hunting, my strength started to wane. I had a cart full of stuff, but I’d only gotten through half the clothing bins, and I hadn’t even touched upon the shoes/bags/accessories section. No matter. This is the most exhaustifying kind of shopping there is: It’s muy importante to wrap it up before you start to lose your mind.
9. The Final Sort
Right before you check out, go back through every single item in your cart and check for damages: holes, stains, unraveled hems et. al. Toss the No’s back into the nearest bin.
10. Victory Jig
Unload your haul into the scale at the register. Marvel at your thriftastic handiwork. Jump up and down upon seeing the final total. Well done you.