Did you know that besides the dozens of Goodwill stores throughout our area there are a couple other locations in which even greater treasures exist, sometimes for well under a dollar?
Welcome to the Goodwill Outlets — otherwise known as “The Bins”.
And I’m going to show you what’s happening behind the scenes — and just a fraction of all the fun things my buddies and I’ve found there.
Let’s step back for a minute.
As a kid, I spent endless hours beach-combing in the hopes of finding hidden treasures. In the winter it would be in Naples, Florida and in the summer it’d be on the beaches in Cape Cod.
Beach vacations would follow a daily pattern. Early each morning my family would walk the nearby beaches, and while my brother and sister would often scamper in the water, I’d have other plans. I’d often be found poking through driftwood, overturning seaweed clinging to strange objects, and occasionally digging under sand piles that looked unusually promising.
I was looking for some kind of lost treasure: a rare but intact shell, a piece of jewelry or perhaps a bottle with note inside.
I’d inevitably run into someone with a metal detector and I envied them their ability to hone in on something valuable fairly quickly, and I’d share in their excitement as the machine would start to ping and zero in on a target.
I’ve found the modern day equivalent of Treasure Island.
Welcome to the Goodwill Bins.
I’ve been shopping at these Outlets for over ten years but it was only fairly recently that I’ve had the chance to look behind the curtain. I’ve now been in the back room of a couple Bins locations, witnessing first hand how it is that the Goodwill Industries of Columbia Willamette (GIWF) processes the roughly 235 millions of pounds of donations it receives yearly.
I drop off stuff regularly at Goodwill drive-thrus, and I’m not alone; the average donor gives over 60 pounds a year, making our Goodwill stores the jewel in the nationwide crown.
The Portland area receives more donations than anywhere else, including such huge markets as Los Angeles and New York.
Friends all over the country who’ve visited me are shocked by our world-class GW stores and they always ask me: Why are ours so chock-full of amazing merchandise while their own stores seem sadly stocked in comparison?
I asked Dale Emanuel, the very knowledgeable and savvy head of the PR department, why our stores are so well-stocked with such fantastic merchandise and she said that they can point to three reasons.
One, so many people give so prolifically because of the convenience of the multitude of drop off centers throughout the area (surely your neighborhood has one, too). Two, this generous community buys into the reduce/reuse/recycle way of living and they donate because they are committed to this sharing principle (and recognizes the importance of keeping unnecessary items out of landfills).
And thirdly, donors give so voluminously because they’ve seen or heard what their donations do for their greater community and they like to contribute to that (and most donors are shoppers, too).
FUN FACT: Most regulars refer to the Outlets as the Bins. The first GW Outlet in our area was located in the old Pendleton Woolen Mills factory on Highway 99 and everything was wheeled out in enormous bins, and the name stuck with regulars. To this day, large blue rolling bins (measuring ( 9 X 4 ft.) are still used for everything but furniture, and filled with merchandise they weigh between 130-300 pounds a piece.
Here’s the geographic scope of our local Goodwill Organization; turns out there is a network of 160 autonomously operated GW chapters in North America, and our network covers 51 locations, including five outlets, boutiques and roughly 40-odd stores.
Think about that — over 235 millions of pounds of donations flood this system every year.
How do they do it?
Goodwill does a masterful job of trying to maximize the profit of every single item they receive because their outstanding free programs (serving thousands of people with everything from EISL classes, Job Placement and Training and so much more) are completely reliant on the proceeds from these donations.
GW takes those with barriers to employment (be it language, broken work record, lack of education, physical disability or other issues) and offers them a number free classes and services and then helps find them work. They also give generously to food banks, toy drives and other charities, be they at-risk youth, disaster relief or meal services in missions.
And what very few people realize is that not only does our Goodwill keep admin costs (including executive pay) so low — 95% of the proceeds from your donations go directly to their free programs’ operating costs — but they are also leaders in the world of sustainable operations.
GICW manages to sell, recycle or salvage about 85% of those 235 million pounds of donations, meaning that countless tons of discarded possessions are kept out of landfills. (Turns out our Goodwill is so masterful and thorough with their efforts that executives all over the world come to see the nuts and bolts of this operation in action.)
Clothes and various textiles that aren’t sold on the floor of the Bins are compacted into huge bales weighing 1,000 -1200 pounds each; these are then sold en masse for pennies on the pound and then the items often end up in Third World countries where manufacturing can’t keep up with customer demand.
(And no, I’m not on the Goodwill payroll to write about them; anyone who has known me for more than five minutes– or has visited my home –knows that I’m just a GW junkie and fan, especially that of the Bins.)
FUN FACT: There are 5 Outlet/Bins in our area. In order of sales volume they are: Milwaukie, Airport, Hillsboro, and tied for fourth, Vancouver and Salem. They are nearly 24 hour operations which employ almost 500 people, none of which are able to shop there, making sure that all these bargains are available to non-employees only.
I’ve been to the Bins hundreds of times, and I get asked about them all the time, so when I was invited to check the operations in person, I jumped on the chance.
One of those times I went to the Airport Bins alongside another blogger, Katy Wolk-Stanley.
Her blog, the Non-Consumer Advocate, is an addictively fun read and has all kinds of thrifty hints, glimpses of PNW living and pics of treasures she’s found thrifting.
I had a blast touring the facility with her, both of us asking questions and seeing first-hand how the operation at this location alone manages to process nearly 80,000 lbs of merchandise daily, again with the vast majority being sold, salvaged or recycled (and that includes defunct TVs, spare shoes, broken pots, an endless stream of clothing and textiles and pretty much else you could dream up.)
I loved hearing of her own successes shopping at both retail and Bin locations; one of her most recent Bins success was a $20 Dyson vacuum cleaner she cleaned up and then re-sold on CL for a $100 profit).
FUN FACT: Katy’s not the only one who sees opportunity here. Roughly 85% of Bin shoppers buy Bin items with resale in mind, be it on Ebay, Craigslist, Etsy, retail shops or to other sellers (supposedly some vintage shops are largely filled with Bins purchases!).
Think about that— so much of what you see in those blue bins have sufficient value that people make a living by re-selling it.
How does stuff end up in the Bins, you might be wondering?
I wasn’t really clear until I toured the facility, but here you go.
The majority of what you see at the Bins has just spent four weeks at a GW retail store (each Bins pulls from the stores closest to them) and hasn’t found an owner. Maybe it’s out of season, is perceived to be too spendy, is too common or it just didn’t get matched with the right new owner. So after four weeks it comes here– and it’s given one last chance to find a new home.
(The other two ways items show up at the Bins is when they are direct donations dropped off at that same location or occasionally they are items that come directly from another donation site elsewhere).
And when I tell you that you can find pretty much anything there, believe it.
Here’s another great example: look at this fantastic Dansk enamel pot my girlfriend Chrissy found at the Milwaukee Bins and brought home.
The average bin lasts on the floor just a matter of hours and then it’s moved out, with these items never to be seen by a GW customer again.
I found this pristine roll of vintage gift wrap and nabbed it just five minutes before it left the floor and disappeared forever.
Frequent bin rotation is part of the appeal here; a certain item may not be on the floor when they open at 8 am only to make a brief appearance midday. It could last on the floor for just seconds after it’s spied by a lucky recipient or if still in the bins after a few hours, off it goes back to the back room to be sorted and moved on to its final home post-GW.
That’s the thing about the Bins; market demand ultimately determines the value of a donation, and access to such is democratization and equal opportunity in action— just act quick because each bin is only on the floor for a matter of hours.
It’s also all about timing — if you’re standing in the right place at the right time, that one magic bin might be rolled out directly in front of you (or conversely, sometimes you’re forced to watch someone else get something crazy cool and valuable just seconds before you).
On that tour, Katy found these hand-sewn socks and vintage scissors.
Katy hadn’t brought cash with her that day, but I was all too happy to spend the 57 cents to treat her to the two items she found.
On another visit she found other items both for personal use and re-sale.
She found a vintage Brooks Brothers cap and a scarf that was also a beauty.
Katy is a clearly a clever shopper and has a great eye, and it was my pleasure to do a tour with her behind the scenes. (Girl, I can’t wait to go Binning again with you!)
Here’s what I found on the floor that day (many of which were brand-new and sporting labels from familiar retailers).
I also found a vintage doll’s crib that I just had to have– and looks great now corralling my succulents in my living room.
I also came home with an authentic French wool beret (I’d been kicking myself that I forgot to pick one up on last summer’s trip to Paris so the timing was perfect).
I also found some new clothes in my favorite colors, including this pristine sailor shirt from Garnet Hill.
I think these three tops ended up costing me $1.25.
FUN FACT: Here are the top 5 most donated items to GW: 1. Textiles (including clothes and linens). 2. Housewares. 3. Books. 4. Electronics. 5. Shoes.
Another tour had me visiting the largest Bins, the granddaddy of them all — the Milwaukie one (just blocks from Sellwood).
This time I made the tour with another new pal, the crazy creative blogger/designer/author Rebecca Ringquist of Dropcloth Sampler.
I met Rebecca through this blog and when we realized that we both love to thrift, I snagged an invite for both of us to see the backroom here. We left the main floor and headed back.
Here she is with Mark, one of the funny and friendly managers at this location.
It was fascinating to walk into the warehouse just beyond the floor and see the sorting, baling and organizing in action.
It’s a good thing they’re so organized; 7 days a week, 10 40-50 ft. trucks unload more merchandise for sale.
Rebecca too was mesmerized by both the enormity of the operation and the variety of the treasures headed out to the floor (and occasionally diverted to their online store shopgoodwill.com).
FUN FACT: Each Bins Outlet sees hundreds of customers passing through daily, and as many as 30-40 await by the front door of each before they open. Many of these regulars spend the entire day there or pop in and out multiple times daily, checking in with pickers who sort through items for them. They see so much volume that some Bins report a new sale (some of them hundreds of pounds in weight) almost every 90 seconds, round the clock, from 9-9 daily.
I had so much fun shopping alongside Rebecca and we both appreciate vintage so much.
She found a score of vintage activity books and encyclopedias — some of which will be used as inspiration for her hand-drawn embroidery samplers available on Etsy (you need to check these out!).
Don’t you just love this handwriting analysis?
Look at this very old children’s book she bought for her adorable son.
Lest you worry that I came home empty handed, allow me to reassure you.
I found vintage Japanese melamine platters, giant glass bottles for Kombucha making, scads of craft supplies, some clothes, shoes and loads of party and hostess items (the Bins always seem to have leftovers from parties and I snatch up these unused supplies for next to nothing).
All of this (and more!) for about ten dollars.
FUN FACT: Everything but furniture, books and glassware is one flat rate: $1.69 a pound with a huge price break of just 99 cents per pound for piles 25 pounds or greater.
You can combine weight with a friend or a stranger to get to that magic 25 pound weight discount as long as you use only one credit card (I bring cash and pair up with strangers to get the best deal).
Soft books are $1.29, hardcovers $2.49, magazines 39 cents and all glassware and breakables (like these French cafe au lait bowls) are a flat 69 cents a pound.
There is not one room in my house that doesn’t have Bins items inside it –and the treasures and highly useful items I’ve bought over the years are too numerous to mention (and so inexpensively purchased you’d want to weep with envy).
Everyone in my family regularly wears items I’ve found at the Bins (although Charlotte and I’ve had the most luck)
and I’m constantly using or sharing something I’ve uncovered at a Bin.
They’re been so many trips over the years.
When my kids were small it was all about toys and clothing
and magnetic letters and other small trinkets.
These days I look more for items to be used for entertaining and cooking,
appeal to my kids’ new passions (like this vintage football card I found at the Bins for Oliver)
or just for sharing with friends near and far.
So many of my friends shop at the Bins now that I regularly have a Bin and Lunch date with them.
My original Bin Buddy ten years ago was Elona. In addition to being a Cracker Jack yoga instructor and sex educator, she’s also masterful at looking at a mound of clothes and finding the most incredible clothes and accessories for herself and others here.
Look at her completely outfitted by the Bins and looking sharp for her 20th high school reunion.
And then there’s Chrissy, another Bin buddy who’s also been behind the scenes
and always finds all kinds of gorgeous things for her home there –not just the Dansk pot I showed you before but art
pillows, furniture and all kinds of interesting pieces that can be found in every nook and cranky of her house, too.
Yes, nearly every one of these thing was purchased by the pound here.
Just recently I went with yet another new friend named Ranya, who it turns out has bought almost all the furniture for her house from here.
We too shared lunch and hit the Bins. Shopping side by side, we both found things for one another.
I helped her find things for her small kids and she helped locate items that were useful
or just pleasing — to me.
Like this trivet that set me back a quarter (I recently saw a similar one retail for $22)
and these shoes that cost me about 5o cents (they fit Charlotte perfectly and cleaned up to near new condition).
People are shocked at the items I’ve found over the years at the Bins: cashmere sweaters, Coach wallets, brand new and in the box kitchen items, Anthropologie tops, you name it.
Of the countless acquired at the Bins, though, I’d have to say it’s some of those delightful vintage items I’ve found over the years that I most treasure.
Vintage board games.
Pristine boxes of greeting cards and stationary that somehow went unused and unwanted until I found them.
Look at these little lovelies
and so much more.
And so a jumbo-sized thanks to all my pals, old and new, who routinely shop the Bins with me and make picking so much fun.
Recently Katy found me this Bin treasure
and I shared with her another Bins find (she’s been looking for a pig cutting board and I had one!).
A big thanks to Dale (seen here trying on a Gap jacket to see if it might fit Charlotte) for all her time explaining how the Bins work and introducing me around.
Dale, like so many Goodwill workers, has been with the company for a very long time (21 years!) and not only does she fervently believe in their mission, but she’s an avid customer, too (she’s always showing me some stylish item she’s purchased at a store).
Speaking of which, one last FUN FACT: Did you know that in the interest of fairness to its customers, Goodwill Employees can only buy something on the retail floor after it’s been there for at least 3 days?
Another shout out to the employees who shared their time with me on these tours, explaining how things work and telling me their stories (I’ll never forget the story one employee told me about finding a Bible from the 1500’s — leather-bound and completely in Latin — in a donation box one day. It ended up on shopgoodwill.com and sold for thousands of dollars).
And lastly, thanks to all the Portland donors responsible for all those millions of items that one day ended up here– and not some sad, overstuffed landfill.
Thanks to you, I’ve been able to find all these lovely items for super-low prices for my home — and provided me with countless hours of fun in this urban treasure hunt.
Not been to the Bins yet but are interested in testing your luck finding a treasure of your own (like this giant vintage Santa)?
Shoot me off an email– I’ll make us lunch and we’ll Bin together.
Oh Sarah I so love your blog! I came for the recipes—- stayed for the fun too! This post is what I so love to read ( after the week we have had Nationally)…. I am ( we) are in the season of our lives of downsizing, and it has it’s elements of ” hard”. My husband and I went through the basement we called the ” first wave”, of clearing out and giving away. Reading here it gives me delight to read of my things I will be giving away, and others finding use for. We have been in our home fir 24+ years and we are moving to smaller digs ( can I hear a shout out of YES to smaller square feet and no more 2acres of landscaping/lawn mowing to do)…..just the feel good of giving away. I thought you would enjoy the other side of those of us who fill those bins….. with love! Have fun enjoying your finds and friends lunch time…. what a wonderful way to enjoy an afternoon.
Sarah Kline says
Cindy, thanks so much for chiming in. Thank you, thank you for the kind words and allowing me and readers hear the other side of the equation. I’ve toured Goodwill so many times and actual met some of the individuals whose lives have been changed by their programs. I will never forget the room of developmentally delayed adults in a bright sunny art room attended by teachers and trainers, and how happy they looked to be learning and doing things. Good for you for buying into the R/R/R life philosophy and congrats on the next chapter in your life!
Rebecca Ringquist says
Thank you so much for showing me the ways of the bins- now I’m hooked!
I grew up combing the shores of Lake Michigan, longing to find something interesting, but most often coming up with only small pieces of driftwood.
Imagine my delight to find myself now living not only near an ocean with actual seashells to find, but even better, near the bins, with their never ending piles of treasures.
I love it here. Truly, I am so glad to call Portland home.
AND- so glad to call you my friend!
PS- Plenty of magic in Lake Michigan too…just not the kind you can keep in your pocket.
Sarah Kline says
Thanks, Rebecca. I’m so glad to have found you– I adore you and so grateful our paths have crossed.
Laurie Romanaggi says
A whole new appreciation for the bins. Good read!
Sarah Kline says
Thanks, Laurie! I want to have YOU over for lunch:)
I’ve never been “binning” – if I lived in your neck of the woods, boy, I’d take you up on your offer in a sec! Thanks so much for the behind the scenes look; I have actually often wondered what happens to the ‘stuff’ we drop off at our local Goodwill and now I have a better picture of how it works. I’ve actually only visited a Goodwill store in the L.A. area once on a pre-Halloween search for costumes and was really pleasantly surprised at what I saw. Oh – and that little Santa sleigh with the reindeer that your friend Katy found for you? I still have my parents’ – and it comes out each Christmas; so fun to see that photo in particular, but also all of your other finds!
Sarah Kline says
Connie, you’d be fascinated by this place! And you have same reindeer? That invisible thread makes me so happy. Thanks for your 1,000 cents 🙂
My husband received that same Santa’s sleigh from his parents last year! It was used every year when he was growing up (he’s 38 now).
Oh, Sarah…….I love seeing what others find. Binning with you would be my dream! Why do I have to live soooooo far away? I’ve been weekend yard sales attending with a couple of buddies for years (probably getting close to 25 now!). We go regularly spring thru fall and I have found wonderful treasures thru the years, but am finding myself becoming more selective now. Hope your injuries are mending nicely. Love to read all your posts. Love from Southern Oregon……….Marie
Sarah Kline says
Marie, love to hear the stories of you and your pals weekend junking. Girlfriends are the best! Thanks for the good wishes. If you’re EVER in Portland, let’s do that bin trip!
Alas, nothing like this exists in my country. Pity, because I think it would be a great way for genuinely impoverished people to find what they need and avoid consumer debt (which is a BIG deal here, unlike thrift shops which are few, and a small deal).
Sarah Kline says
Hello Caroline! What country do you live in, if I may ask?
We are all such big fans of yours, Sarah! Thank you for your tremendous Bin Blog!
Please know your dedicated Outlet shopping helps us help thousands of folks who are grateful.
Looking forward to touring more of your friends. You are surrounded by the best.
Sarah Kline says
Dale, I had a blast touring with you and my pals. Thanks so much for your help and I know it’s not just a job for you – it’s an enduring belief in the work that Goodwill does. The fact that we can get slamming deals — and help support our community at the same time!– makes it all the more appealing for the rest of us.
Chrissy Clark says
Way to put this story together! You are an amazing photojournalist! Rock’in it Kline!
Linda MacKean says
This was fascinating and I hope one day to go binning. I live in Georgia and will try to find the closet GW outlet. Who knows what treasures I might find. Love finding your blog!
Sarah Kline says
Linda, thanks for popping by. Yes, bins — and I hope you score BIG with it. Thanks for the kind words!
Hi, I stumbled across your blog when I googled “Portland which goodwill has furniture”.
I’m new to Portland, but have already discovered the bins where I’ve found some awesome deals. My kids’ Halloween costumes cost next to nothing this year. (Hooray!) I’m going to have to be careful not to become a hoarder of bin finds.
What’s the scoop on furniture at goodwill? In my old town, the goodwill stores were packed with odd chairs and dressers and desks, and I made a mental note to myself to never purchase these things new. Unfortunately, I see almost no furniture at the goodwill stores here. Is there a store that specializes in furniture? Where is it?
Sarah Kline says
Hello Lisa, and welcome to Portland! That’s a good question, and I’m not sure I know the answer. A couple stores have a few pieces of select furniture, mostly chairs, small tables– look in the back at the NE store on Broadway or the Superstore on Grand. I think that most of the furniture goes to the Outlet Bins, and I think the best for that is the one on Ochoco (Milwaukee) or in Hillsboro (they tend to have a bit, I think). I think it probably comes down to space. Here’s a tip — search for free items either on Buy Nothing on Facebook or log into Nextdoor (in whatever neighborhood you’re in) and request a certain piece of furniture; Portlanders are an amazingly generous group and I have a friend who outfitted her entire Mt. Hood lodge with free furniture or that she’s picked up at Bins and on-line. Best of luck and thanks for stopping by!
Thanks for the advice and the welcome! Hopefully I’ll find my place in Portland. So far, my favorite thing has been the weather. I just went out for a walk and I think the next thing I purchase needs to be better rain gear!
Sarah Kline says
If you already love the weather, Lisa, you should be in good shape! As for rain gear, I’d recommend you hit either the Goodwill on NW 22nd (I’ve found some great clothes there), a consignment shop (I like Here We Go Again and My Girlfriend’s Closet) or even Costco if you have a membership; I bought Hunter Boots and a great raincoat there last year that I wear ALL THE TIME. Feel free to email me if you ever have a certain question about Portland or food — my two big loves 🙂
Sue Hirshbrunner says
A regular to the bins here in Tennessee, I came across your blog when I was doing some searches on the bins. As a long time thrift store junkie, and a ten year veteran of volunteering at a local thrift/food bank for over ten years, I was eager to see some behind the scenes at Goodwill info and especially the “behind the scenes Goodwill outlet-the bins”. Sad to say that I will have to continue to look for that because there sure wasn’t much of that here. There were stories of your thrifting adventures, those you go thrifting with, and pictures of your various Goodwill finds, but there was sure wasn’t a lot of information about “behind the scenes at a Goodwill outlet”, and there for 61 pictures posted throughout the article, and only 6 of them were from “behind the scenes”.
I enjoyed your post, especially the behind-the-scenes part. I am a Bins regular, making a living sewing toys and accessories using textiles I find at the Bins (you should see my stash of cashmere sweaters!). I am constantly thrilled at the amazing textiles I find! And as you mentioned, it’s pretty incredible how many folks make a living through Bins resale. There is a hard-core group of regulars I see EVERY time I go there. & yeah, my house and wardrobe are filled with Bins scores, too =^.^=
Please, please….it’s Milwaukie, not Mikwaukee.
Sarah Kline says
Thanks for catching that — this one is a tough one for me to remember and autocorrect doesn’t catch it, either. I appreciate the reminder!
Where to begin? My Husband and I have been in the area for about 18 years- but had never seen or heard of “the bins” until a couple of days ago.We were on Airport Way, had just finished an errand and hit terrible traffic heading toward I-205 and my Husband suggested we go to the
Goodwill Donation Center( aka ‘the bins”). I had no IDEA IT WOULD CHANGE OUR LIVES FOREVER! THANK YOU< PAUL!! WE are avid Treasure Hunters and have spent many hours scouring thru Antique Stores, Thrift Stores, Garage Sales, and Churchy Rummage sales with great delight! BUT- We had NO IDEA of the treasures within–and I am not simply referring to the material goods. We met the most funny, kind, and interesting people! The "bin" element was off-putting at first and just plain confusing-but an EXTREMELY kind, wonderful Person, Ann, gave me a very thorough – but quick- Intro to "The Bins". First, the name–"the bins", how things worked, what to do when the Staff yell "TABLE", the concept of "bundling" with another shopper, etc. It was like being shown Mecca or Valjalla for the very first TIME!! We ended up being there 4 hours– I had no idea because I had quickly gone into an altered state and was unaware of time- or day- or location? WE TOTALLY SCORED!! My first treasure was how I met dear Ann? I was talking to my Husband-when a flash of beautiful vintage cotton caught my eye. Ann was holding up this stunning 50's cotton table cloth– with a stunning pattern of Shirley poppies and wildflowers in soft shades of pale blue, primrose, and lt green. I was mesmerized! I have been using/collecting these table cloths for decades–it is getting harder and harder to find them-and they are usually really expensive. Ann put down the tablecloth and turned a way. I zoomed over and asked her if she was still interested in it? She said no, but smiled and gave it to me–and off we went– she became so excited when she heard I was a newby? I felt like I was at the Rocky Horror Picture Show for the first time when they ask–"Are there any VIRGINS in the House?" Ann was so kind and generous–checked in with me periodically–and she showed me her treasures- an incredible find was when she spotted a set of Vintage Christmas themed Cookie Cutters, probably from the 50's, STILL IN THE BOX!! Stunning–she saw them, picked them up and noticed the "Star" was missing? She dug further into "the bin" and VOILA–found the STAR! Amazing. Ann is a PRO== with a practiced and cultivated eye–for sure! I was learning from the Best! My Husband is a BRILLIANT Hunter of treasure- he found a Vintage Version of the ARABIAN NIGHTS. published in 1936, with gorgeous, lusciously colored illustrations. This very version was the one HE READ as a BOY!! Such treasure!! We found all sorts of wonderful stuff–he also found a Victorinox 1923 backpack–almost new– for about a dollar. New, these packs run about $250-and have a lifetime guarantee. I DID miss-out on some BRAND NEW Chuck's Hi-Tops–grrrr- but that was the real turning point in the trip because it was my first experience with the custom of "new bin" coming–I smartened-up FAST! Those brand NEW black&white classics will haunt me forever–but–it is good to have SOMETHING to be searching for? That elusive agate? The ultimate oak dining room harvest table? Crazy. I found so many of my favorite kinds of things–vintage dish ware, silver, a 30's vintage hand-carved lamp of Carrara Marble from Italy, MORE vintage cotton goods, books, glassware, plus CDs, DVDs, of favorite music and films. But the very best part– was the lovely People we met– like Ann, Jodi( Staff– she pretty much runs the place? When heading to check out–a very kind woman who was with her Mom, asked if we wanted to bundle our orders? I was so EXCITED!! Ann had told me of the practice–but to be so lucky on our very FIRST VISIT?!! The Mom and Daughter were so KIND and FUNNY! It was a total hoot! We were overwhelmed by the checking out process, the weighing, paying, subtracting, and all at the very end of the day. But, The Mom &Daughter explained to the Staff we were first-timers and everyone slowed- down and helped us through. The most special moment was when the Mom asked me–"Did you enjoy yourself?" I exploded with happiness and said" OMG–YES!! This was so much FUN!" She responded by saying that was great and that she looked forward to seeing Us again! So wonderfully kind. It has been a few days now– but we are still a glow from our adventure– our FIRST ADVENTURE exploring, "The Bins." Next stop : Milwaukie! Can't wait!
Alan Chapman says
Great post and please keep posting a helpful article like this! Thank you, cheers!
Dawnel Hess says
As I read this wonderful post and think about the amazing treasures I will find today at the outlet! I once found a scarf that retailed for 180.00 my mouth almost hit the floor. There are some amazing things to be found at GW if your willing to look and have an open mind. Thank you for this wonderful post, I would love to have a buddy to have lunch with and dig the bins. Email :Dawnel_hess@hotmail.com
Sarah Kline says
Thanks, Dawnel and I’m glad to hear you’ve already known the wonder that is the Bins! I’d love to meet you and catch a Bins trip with you — I’ll be in touch soon!
I don’t understand why Goodwill is not consistent with prices throughout the US.
In the Atlanta area blouses and shirts are $6. Shoes $5. Books $2-$3. Etc.
Christine Coning says
Love your post. I come to Portland once a year to visit my son. I live in Florida. I end up at the Milwaukie bins once a day while I’m there. It’s definitely an addiction.
I found a NWT Lafayette 148 blazer MSRP $749
Found Rothys I sold for $90
Always finding amazing treasures!