10 Tips For Back To School Shopping At Goodwill

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From the Archives10 Tips For Back to school shopping at Goodwill

How far can you spread $100 on back to school shopping?  What if you shopped at Goodwill?  Well that’s just what I did and I’ll tell you how well I did and give you some tips.

Here’s what I got:

12 Shorts
22 Shirts
2 Dresses
2 Jackets
1 Skirt
4 Pants
= 43 Items (All for under $100)

1.  Give yourself time – If you are heading into shop for your kids clothing, make sure you give yourself enough time to go through the racks.  You need to go through each hanger because you never know what treasure you will find in between other things.  Sometimes the racks are so full, its quite a job to go through them.

2. Head straight for what you need – If you headed in for items for your daughter, don’t get distracted by the women’s section.  Go to your daughters section first, so you don’t get distracted and run out of time (see tip #1).

3. Grab a cart or basket – It’s easier to go through the racks if you aren’t holding onto items you’ve already chosen.  It’s also a good idea to put items in your cart that you are on the fence about.  This way you can decide before checkout if you really want that item.  If you leave it on the rack and decide to go back and get it, the item maybe gone.

4. Try things on – Don’t just assume they will fit.  Have your kids try things on if they are with you.  If you don’t plan on bringing them, take their measurements and take a tape measure with you.  Sizes may vary at the stores and items sometimes shrink.

5. Look for multiple colors –  Items in Goodwill are sorted by color.  If you find an item that fits in one color, check to see if they have the same item in other colors.  This happens to me all the time.  (See the blue and green shorts in my picture)

6. Look for off season items – If you’re shopping in the summer, don’t be afraid to look for winter items or even Holiday clothing.   Everyone else will be looking for winter clothes in the winter and you’ll already be done!

7. Check quality on items – Look over the items and make sure there are no stains, or at least ones you care about.  Kids need play clothes, so it might not matter if there are a few.  Look for rips in the fabric.  Check for missing buttons.  Sometimes clothing has extra buttons sewn into the item, so it may just be a quick fix.

8.  Ask about discount days – In my area, Goodwill gives seniors 10% off on Mondays.  So shop with Grandma :) . Some stores have 50% off days or discounts on specific color tags.

9.  Shop the Boutique rack – Ask your store if have a specific rack with items with the original tags still on them.

10. Look and look again – Goodwill employees are always putting new items out and customers put things back.  If you don’t see the item you are looking for, walk back by and double check before you leave.  All stores are different, and you maybe successful at one and unsuccessful at another.  Merchandise changes daily so go often.

I’d love to hear your best tips and successful shopping trips!

Here are the 2 Local News Segments I did on Goodwill Shopping:
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  1. says

    My Goodwill tip is shop out if season, because the deals and variety are better. I shopped for school uniform pieces and jeans in May, and I found some awesome deals at the thrift store.

  2. Kristin says

    Best find was buying a disabled child feeder seat for $10 worth $300 retail. Was perfect for my disabled son to use and saved me a ton!

  3. says

    My Tip: shop for christmas gifts year round! you never know when a kids favorite character or special toy will turn up. found HUGE yo gabba gabba stuffed toy for only $3 regularly $30 and boy was our little one surprised christmas morning!

  4. Judy says

    I joined your newsletter, and liked Goodwill North Florida’s Facebook page! Tip: When I shop at Goodwill, I always look for the discounted color barb of the week. The specific color is posted at the front of each store. Anything with with that colored barb (plastic tag) is 50% off.

  5. Jennifer Barber says

    I always take in a bag of items to donate and get a coupon for 20% off entire purchase!

  6. Leslie says

    I always shop Goodwill for organization storage especially for my son’s room. I also get baskets to wrap gifts in instead of a gift bag or paper :)

  7. says

    Best videos ever!! Bravo! Here’s my comment… and my tip for shopping at Goodwill and actually finding something you need is: Have 6 children. Then you’re bound to find something in at least 1 kid’s size! 😀 Seriously, though, my chances are dramatically higher of scoring a great deal… hehehe

  8. Belinda says

    The Goodwill at Oak Leaf is my favorite. On my recent trip I found a Barbie bike with the doll seat for $4.99! It looks brand new. It was only missing one pedal but that is a very inexpensive fix. I also bought a large silk poinsettia after Christmas and only paid $0.99. This would of cost $30 in a store at Christmas. I can’t wait to display this on my porch this season.

    I love taking my Granddaughters to Goodwill. I give them a limit to spend before we go in the store. It is amazing how much they can find. We have a rule when shopping at Goodwill. Whoever grabs the item first gets it. Now when we are traveling, they will spot a Goodwill in a second and beg to stop and I am only too happy to oblige.

    Shopping at Goodwill is a valuable lesson for my Granddaughters. I’m teaching them how to be thrifty and I know it will come in handy when they have children of their own.

  9. craig n. says

    My tip, avoid the toy section if your kids are in tow. They will always find thingS to add to your cart. smh