Know Before You Go – Goodwill Clearance Center


As if my thrifting addiction couldn’t get any more serious, I recently discovered my love for Goodwill’s Clearance Center, aka, the bins. It was my second time shopping there, but the first time actually going with a fellow thrifter. To sum it up, I had a blast and found some amazing pieces. 42 items to be exact and paid only $34. Yup, less than $1 per item.

While shopping at a clearance center might not be for everyone, I think it’s always a good idea to give something new a try. Fair warning: Goodwill’s Clearance Center is much different than their regular retail stores. Below are some big differences that can help you get a better idea of what you’re in for.

You shop by the pound

Unlike the usual Goodwill retail stores, the Goodwill Clearance Center sells merchandise by the pound. Clothes, shoes, and accessories are $1.29 per pound. Depending on what you buy, some deals are better than Goodwill’s Thursday dollar tag sale. A sleeveless silk blouse can weigh less than half a pound. Banana Republic blouse for pocket change? Yes, please!

They’re called bins for a reason

Yes, everything is placed in bins, no, merchandise isn’t organized by style, size, or color like retail stores. That means you’d be doing a lot of digging, picking, tossing, and hunting. 95 percent of the items you pick up might be duds, but the 5 percent you find might be pure gold.

Tip: Safety gloves come in handy. I picked mine up at my neighborhood 99 Cents Only store. For a complete list of my thrifting essentials, click here.

Constant Rotations

Since merchandise is placed in bins, employees rotate (refill) bins, so there’s constantly new inventory making its way to the floor. Older bins are taken to the warehouse in the back and replaced with new bins with new merchandise. You can expect a rotation every hour and a half.

If you’ve ever shopped at Last Chance in Phoenix, you can probably imagine the anticipation for the new goodies. In my opinion, what’s meant for me will be there when I get there. Remember to be kind and courteous to your fellow thrifters. No pushing, please.

Their hours are different

Most Goodwill locations are open from 9 am to 9 pm, so don’t be caught off guard. Goodwill Clearance Center is open from 8 am - 7 pm Monday through Saturday, and 10 am - 6 pm on Sunday.

While veteran thrifters say there’s no slow time when shopping at the bins, a little bird told me that Sundays 10am-12pm are the slowest. So, if you’re available then, I would totally recommend it.

Be patient

This should go without saying when shopping second hand, but patience is critical when shopping at Goodwill’s Clearance Center. Keep in mind that most merchandise you’re going through were items that failed to sell at Goodwill’s retail locations, so items with defects, stains, and missing parts are common. Just keep hunting.