My First Trip to the Goodwill Marketplace, and Some Thrifting Tips

by tatiana on September 1, 2014

My First Trip to the Goodwill Marketplace, and Some Thrifting Tips | tatianajimenez.com

As many of you might know, I’m a big fan of thrifting. The love for digging for treasures started sometime around high school in Victorville, California where I grew up. This was before you could buy things online, so my options fashion-wise were limited to the mall in my hometown, or traveling to the Inland Empire or LA for more unique finds. Instead, my sisters and I would head over to our favorite thrift store (which has been closed now for about 5 years), which was huge and was the source of many amazing finds — items I still have and wear today.

In college, my thrifting adventures continued in Orange County, at shops like ARC or Lincoln Thrift (now closed). I found that the pricing at stores that were not Goodwill or Salvation Army tended to be a lot lower. Once I moved to San Francisco, my cravings for a day of thrifting didn’t quite go away, but my trips were less gratifying since shops in the Mission were highly picked over and items were pricier, and in my opinion not worth it.

Stephanie & Melissa of The Fashion Citizen

Stephanie & Melissa – The Fashion Citizen

Fast forward to about a month ago. I discovered The Fashion Citizen on YouTube and could not stop watching their thrift haul videos. Through these videos I learned about Savers, and the concept of a Goodwill Marketplace (also known as Goodwill As Is, or by-the-pound stores). I traveled to Berkeley with a friend to a newly opened Savers and found so many great pieces that I felt back in my element.

Last weekend I traveled down to Southern California for a wedding, and I had a day of free time, so I decided to check out the Goodwill Marketplace in Santa Ana (Orange County). Goodwill Marketplace is where Goodwill sends all of the pieces that did not sell in their stores. There are two sections: one side is for auctions (they auction furniture and large bins of items, kind of like Storage Wars), and the other side is where you can buy items for $2.50 a pound.

My First Trip to the Goodwill Marketplace, and Some Thrifting Tips | tatianajimenez.com

It’s important to note that this is really a place for serious thrifters. I know a lot of people who don’t have the patience to go to a regular thrift store, to go through racks and racks of clothing to find gems. This place is probably a nightmare for those folks — but so much fun for me! When you walk in you’re greeted with about 20 bins filled with clothing. The clothing isn’t separated at all, in each bin you’ll find a melange of mens, womens and childrens clothing. My strategy was to start at the beginning and look at every piece on my left and then toss it to the right.

My First Trip to the Goodwill Marketplace, and Some Thrifting Tips | tatianajimenez.com

I even stumbled upon some nice vintage pieces. Check out those tags!

Here are a few tips for shopping at a by-the-pound Goodwill:

1.) They pull out fresh bins every half hour or so.
If you’re a newbie (like I was), and it’s crowded, I would recommend NOT trying to look through new bins when they’re first brought to the floor. There were a lot of women who looked like they would shank a bitch for a lightly used J. Crew sweater. Take advantage of checking out all of the other bins during this time.

2.) Food and drink aren’t allowed inside.
But you’re going to get thirsty, especially if you’re there for two hours like I was. I’d suggest bringing a water bottle in your purse.

3.) There are no fitting rooms.
This is how I ended up buying some pieces that didn’t fit me. But really, everything is so cheap, that I wasn’t too bummed out about it.

4.) If you see a potentially cute item, just grab it and edit your basket down later.
If you see an item you like, chances are it won’t be there for very long. Throw it in your basket and think about it later. I initally grabbed around 30 items and then edited down to 16.

5.) Like going to any thrift store, thoroughly inspect your items.
Sometimes, thrift finds ARE too good to be true. Always be on the lookout for broken zippers, missing buttons, or tiny holes.

6.) Hand sanitizer is your friend.
I was really bummed that I’d switched purses before my trip and didn’t have my hand sanitizer with me. The clothing you’re going through is sometimes not clean. Also, many hands have been all up in the bins. ALSO, you might come across a questionable crusty substance. But don’t let this deter you! Just push it aside and keep digging. Like I said earlier, this kind of thrifting experience is not for everyone.

Here’s a quick Vine video I put together with my finds at the Goodwill Marketplace. A few of them I picked up for my more fashionable (and thinner) sisters, but I’m mostly stoked about the rad blue floral dress and sweater I found, and the burnt orange skirt. For the 16 items I found, I paid $18. That comes to about $1.10 a piece. Not bad! It would’ve been a lot less if I didn’t buy those jeans that ended up not fitting, but that’s ok.

Do you have any favorite thrift stores in Southern California or the Bay Area that I should check out? Let me know!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

taria September 2, 2014 at 8:53 am

I still miss American Way. Never been to one of the Goodwill Marketplaces. Looks like a lot of crazy fun!

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tatiana September 2, 2014 at 10:23 am

I do too! That was my favorite thrift store in the high desert. They also had a nice selection of vintage patterns. :)

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