Things you get to buy by the pound: fruit, veggies, candy, meat… clothing? Clothing! This past weekend, B and I took a trip to have a new adventure: to find out what the deal was at the new Buy The Pound Goodwill warehouse in Gorham, Maine. I have been reading news bulletins from Goodwill about it for the past month and a half as they geared up to open the facility, and I have been so excited to check out how it works. Plus, you know it’s going to be an adventure. When B found out there was a bunch of books up for the snatching, he was in, too. Cue a Saturday day trip!
We arrived at the center around 2 PM and didn’t drag
ourselves myself out of there until around 5 PM. I had no idea we had been in there for so long! In those hours, though, I came to the realization that someone who is new to the thrifting game should go in with some tips… some major tips, if they want to find the goods and survive.
Tip #1: Be patient. This is such a big one. The clothes (men’s, women’s, and children’s), the bed linens, random scraps of fabric, everything cloth related is thrown into big bins with no system of organization. You have to dig, people! You can’t just stay on the surface and expect to find the great clothes. Most of the time, the clothing that’s on the top has been picked over by everyone else who has come through, and if it hasn’t been snatched up yet, there may in fact be something wrong with it. Maybe not, but it makes you wonder why no one else wanted to pick it up. The shoes also aren’t tied together, which can equal lots of time trying to find the matching shoe. I decided to give up on that when I couldn’t find a match to the coral pump I had in my hand. Be patient, dig through the bins, and know that your effort will probably be rewarded!
The bins! So much clothing!
Tip #2: If you like it even a little, grab it (politely, of course!). If you like it, put it in your cart (see tip #3). Things go so quickly and can get piled under clothing so fast that you can totally lose all of the clothing you thought you liked. If you like it, put it aside for yourself to try on later.
Tip #3: Get a cart. In the typical Goodwill or Salvation Army stores, I try not to get a cart. It encourages me to pick up more than I want to. At the Buy the Pound store, however, a cart is a must. They weigh your purchases in a cart, so you have to have one at the end anyway. A cart is also great because you can throw anything you like into it and try it all on at the end. It was also super helpful to get a second cart when trying on your finds because then you can put everything you liked into the new cart, throw what you didn’t into the bins, and keep what you still have to try on separate from everything else. B was the genius who thought of that one!
Tip #4: Be polite to the other Buy the Pound shoppers. Now, this should be a life rule anyway, but the other shoppers can be a real asset when it comes to shopping a store where clothing is all mish-mashed in bins. I was asked if I wanted to “rotate” or “switch” so many times while checking bins. If you are working on digging beside someone else, instead of butting into their space when you’re done, you can ask if they want to switch places with you. You get a new location without being awkward about moving into it. The other shoppers can also tell you what looks good on you (they did) and you can return the favor (I did). You help them, they help you. Everyone wins!
Tip #5: Bring a cross-body purse and don’t wear your coat in. These two pieces will keep your hands free, which is important since you’ll be digging through bins with both hands. You want to make the search as easy on yourself as possible. When you go to try on clothing, not having a coat will be helpful so you don’t have to lug around other clothing. Plus, you may get a little warm when you’re digging if you have a jacket on.
Tip #6: Bring a friend. The one real downside to the Buy the Pound warehouse is that there aren’t currently any mirrors or dressing rooms for people to try on clothing. The sales person did tell me that they were going to hang some mirrors, which is super helpful, but it’s also great to bring a friend. While the clothing is super cheap, you want to know that you’re bringing home clothing that looks good on you. B was such a help on this, and he is getting really good at communicating what he likes and what he doesn’t like. Make sure your friend is honest!
Need a friend? This guy would like to be yours!
Tip #7: Make sure you give yourself a couple of hours. I honestly lost all track of time when we were there. You get so into the digging that you never think to look at a clock. Leave yourself more time than you would typically give yourself at a standard thrift store. It’s not organized, so make sure you leave some room in your schedule.
Tip #8: Bring hand sanitizer or wet wipes for after. Yes, this sounds a little gross, but think about it. These clothes may or may not be washed before they make it to the warehouse. (Don’t freak out, you can wash it when you get home!) Since you’ll be digging through huge bins, your hands may get a little dirty. Have some way of washing them back in your car, and you are good to go!
With those tips, you could find some excellent pieces! I definitely saw a bunch of true vintage pieces, and I even picked up a couple. This is what I found and snatched up:
Free People Blue Button-Up Mini Skirt: Retail: $78.00Vintage Lora Lenox Black Structured Medi Dress: Retail: ~$50Just look at the adorable ruffle detail on the hip!True Meaning Tan Tweed Jacket: Retail: ~$90(No Brand or Tag!) 1980s Purple Dolman Dress: Retail: ~$40New York and Company Black and White Stripped Hoodie Pullover: Retail: $34.95Kilburne and Finch Brown Geometric Tie: Retail: ~$15.00Cream Crocheted Sweater: Retail: ~$20Judy Bond Jewel Tone Green Blouse: Retail: ~$25Savannah Petites Navy Blue Blazer: Retail: ~$30 (Forgot to take a picture! Oops!)
Nan Hadden Studio Plum Cropped Cardigan: Retail: ~$30Alfred Dunner Petite Sweater: $37.00Like the cream colored sweater, this sweater also has a great knit pattern to it.Banana Republic Black Tie Sweater: Retail: ~$50Mossimo Pink Sweater: Retail: $17.99Gap Orange V-Neck Sweater: Retail: $26.95L.E.I. Silver Pants: Retail: $21.88Colorifics Purple Clutch: Retail: $33.95 (before having it dyed!)Nine West Yellow Leather Purse: Retail: $79.00 (See above)
Gray and White Tote: Retail: ~$15.00 (See above)
Assorted belts: Retail: ~$15.00 each – Retail: $60 TOTALBooks! Frankenstein: Paid: $0.25 / Retail: $6.99, The Canterbury Tales: Paid: $0.25 / Retail: $8.95, The Body of Christopher Creed: Paid: $0.25 / Retail: $6.95, Antigone: Paid: $0.25 / Retail: $6.99, and The Norton Introduction to Literature Anthology: Paid: $0.50 / Retail: $70.99 – Retail: $100.87 TOTALSo what did we pay for all of this? Drum roll, please!
TOTAL: $15.45! That’s it! Just $15.45! The clothing, belts, and purses weighed 10.5 pounds, so we got it for $1.29/pound. While this location doesn’t take the Goodwill discount card, you can’t beat this type of deal. Let’s compare, shall we?
Goodwill Total: $15.45 Retail Total: $855.59
I think this new Goodwill location is a winner! Have you visited a new Goodwill location lately?