Thrift Like a Pro: The Best Tips to Score Big at Goodwill & Thrift Stores!

Goodwill Thirft Shopping

Shopping at Goodwill and thrift stores can be a great way to find unique, one-of-a-kind items and save money. But if you don’t know the tricks of the trade, it can be easy to get overwhelmed and miss out on incredible deals. Follow along and learn to thrift like a pro with the best tips to score big at Goodwill & thrift stores!

Know What You’re Looking For

Before you even step foot in the store, try to have an idea of what kind of items you’d like to look for. Do you need some new clothes? Are you on the hunt for Pyrex and unique decorations? Knowing what type of things, you’re looking for will help you focus your search and quickly spot anything that catches your eye.

Bring Cash

Most Good Wills and thrift stores are cash only, so it’s important to bring enough with you to cover your purchases. Some places may accept credit cards, but cash is always the safest option. Furthermore, bringing cash will help ensure that you don’t overspend on impulse buys.

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Nothing Good at Goodwill

Gorgeous Saturday here in my neck of the woods and nothing sounded better then hitting a couple thrift stores. I usually don’t go to thrift stores (maybe once in a great while) as I have found in the past 2 years or so that the quantity and selection of items has been getting smaller and smaller so it is usually not very productive for me as I go with product sourcing in mind for my various online antique and collectibles stores. Today, sadly was no exception. I think it has been at least 6 months since I went to the local Goodwill in my area and although the furniture area seemed pretty well stocked and the isle that has year-round Christmas items seemed stocked with the same items I swear I saw over a year ago there was not much else. Yes, the place was packed and lines were long at the checkout but, for me, nothing on this trip. How has thrift store shopping been in your areas? Are you finding goodies regularly or do you tend to have better luck elsewhere? Please write me and let me know –

GW Boutique – Goodwill’s Luxury Designer Boutique for Fashionistas

I love to go on treasure hunting excursions as much as the next person at thrift shops, flea markets, antique malls, junk shops etc.and if I can discover bargains and fresh finds in the process then an even bigger YIPPY to me! I still get surprised however when I bump into a fellow thrifter and talk about the neat item I just won online at the Goodwill and they look at me with the expression of “what”?

I then proceed to explain that most of the Goodwill locations around the USA participate in online auctions via the Goodwill at Shop Goodwill. It is actually super cool that you can sit in the comfort of your own home and shop a bunch of Goodwill locations across the country! To get started all you need to do is register on the Shop Goodwill website and instantly you have access to over 32,261 items (at the time of this posting) and categories like Clothing, Collectibles, Tableware & Kitchenware, Transportation, Seasonal & Holiday, For The Home, Books Movies Music, Crafts & Hobbies, Glass, Computers & Electronics, etc. You can find all sorts of designer brands, high-end porcelains and figurines, even MAC Computers! Find something(s) you like, place your bid(s) and Good Luck!

On March 19, 2010 Goodwill Industries opened a specialty store targeting Fashionistas on a budget to shop in a boutique setting called “GW Boutique” that will sell only “Gap-quality and higher” clothing. GW Boutique’s already have opened in three other locations across the country – Manhattan, Portland, and San Francisco and the March 19, 2010 opening of its first Texas location (close to me) located at 750 Main Street, Keller, Texas.  The Keller location of GW Boutique will sell items at price points of around $25-$30 with brand names of Gap, Louis Vuitton, Coach, Dooney & Bourke, D&G, Dolce and Gabbana, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, St. John Knits and more!

The particular day I walked through the new GW Boutique (a week after the grand opening) the store was crowded with lots of female shoppers varying in age and there was a rather long line of women waiting to get into the dressing rooms. Everyone’s hands were full of clothes. The clothing racks were full of merchandise in a variety of sizes and sorted appropriately by type. It seemed that there was a particularly large selection of jeans with multiple racks of denim. The quality and condition of the clothing was not quite what I was expecting especially after the glowing reviews the boutique received touting the high-end designer brands.  I did find many Ralph Lauren dress shirts and Ralph Lauren sweaters though all were rather well-worn and faded. There were also plenty of items with labels from “EXPRESS”, “N.Y.C”, “New York & Co.”, and “Layne Bryant”, not exactly what many would consider “Gap Quality” or “Better”. I think the important thing to remember is that all the clothing is donated and that GW Boutique is still a thrift store with a boutique image but that there are some really good items and bargains to be had if you spend a bit of time sorting through the merchandise.  Goodwill Industries says they will sell the top 1% of their donations at these specialty shops – GW Boutiques.

David Cox, senior vice president retail sales and marketing says that all proceeds from sales at the GW Boutique will go to support Goodwill’s charitable mission.

View images of the grand opening fashion show here.