If you’re a hardcore thrifter, you must visit the Goodwill Outlet. It’s a shocking departure from a typical Goodwill retail experience and not for the faint of heart. But if you don’t mind digging through mounds of clothes in a cold warehouse, you can score some AMAZING deals.
The Burlingame Goodwill Outlet is an enormous warehouse tucked behind a Public Storage building in an unglamorous, industrial part of town. Noisy forklifts zip around moving massive bins of merchandise, and you have to be careful to stay out of their way. Instead of nicely arranged clothing racks sorted by color, all the clothes are dumped into enormous blue bins. It’s up to you to wade through these unorganized pools of clothes. This isn’t the kind of leisurely shopping you do with the girlfriends on a Saturday afternoon.
Goodwill Outlet’s rock-bottom pricing makes up for the absence of ambiance. They sell by the pound at a whopping $1.79 per pound. Be still my beating heart.
I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and selection of the merchandise. In my digging, I came across clothes in great condition by Banana Republic, J. Crew, and other well-known brands. Goodwill Outlet stores serve as the liquidation centers for Goodwill retail stores, so you will find a little bit of everything. I did come across some well-worn, sweat-stained, crust-covered garments, but that was the rare exception.
The staff and fellow shoppers were super friendly. It was obvious many of the shoppers sell on the second-hand market. They knew exactly what they were looking for and efficiently worked the bins. I overheard two millennial gals trading tips about renting booths at the local flea markets. By the time I got there at 11 am, many shoppers already had garbage bags full of goodies. Many Goodwill outlets are shark tanks, but you won’t find any competitive shopping at Burlingame.
Here are some helpful hints for shopping at the Burlingame Goodwill Outlet:
- Bring shopping bags. Goodwill Outlet doesn’t provide carts, baskets or bags. Shopping by the pound gets heavy. The pros bring big, black garbage bags.
- Every 15 minutes, the staff hauls out new clothes in big cardboard bins to replenish the flat blue bins. Everyone helps to unload the cardboard bins.
- Give everyone their space. When a new cardboard bin rolls out, some shoppers get excited and swoop in. Take turns and give each other a fair shot. There’s plenty to go around.
- Grab anything that has potential. Once your bag or arms are full, move off to the side and evaluate your haul. Return your rejects to the blue bins.
- Wear a jacket. That warehouse is freezing!
It’s easy to get carried away because everything looks like a bargain when you shop by the pound. In a frenzy, I started stocking piling a bunch of kids clothes for Trevor. Never mind that they weren’t his size and it would take years for him to grow into them. It’s only $1.79 a pound! I quickly sobered up and put it all back. At the end of my visit, I bought 3 items I knew I would wear with regularity.
I always wanted a down puffer jacket but wasn’t willing to pay full retail price. This jacket is by Halogen, a popular brand usually found at Nordstroms. I’m thinking of reselling this on eBay in the winter for a nice little profit.
This blue dress is perfect for our summer vacation. I swear it’s brand new.
Check out this slouchy sweater. It’s hard to tell in this picture, but this sweater drapes beautifully on the body and has a luscious hand feel.
All this only cost me $3.76! And they take credit cards!
As pleased as I am with my score, this experience reminded me how wasteful our society can be. It’s one thing to read about how much the average American consumes and throws out, but it’s quite another thing to SEE it stacked sky high in a warehouse. Most of what I saw at the outlet was apparel, and it’s disturbing to see perfectly good clothes tossed aside.
If you’re an extreme thrifter and enjoy the thrill of the hunt, Goodwill Outlet is an excellent place to find some dirt cheap treasures. Bring shopping bags, wear warm clothes and give yourself plenty of time. Your persistence will pay off.Follow my blog with Bloglovin