Not too long ago, Rhonda "discovered" the Goodwill Outlet Centers, fondly referred to as "The Bins." As you can see above, stuff is indeed loaded into blue bins on rollers. The bins are the last stop for items donated to Goodwill but did not sell in a regular Goodwill Store. Because Goodwill gets so many donations, I believe that some of the things that end up in the bins never go to a store but rather go directly to the bins. If you looked at the link above, you will note that whatever you find is sold by the pound. Most amazingly to me is that there are three Outlet Centers in Denver that are open 8 to 8 six days a week and 9 to 6 on Sunday - and - a new row of bins is rolled out every 15 to 30 minutes! There are two main sections of bins, one for clothes and the other for miscellaneous stuff, and I do mean miscellaneous!! After the bins are picked over, the next stop for all of the stuff is either a recycling center or a landfill.
The first point about the bins is that it is a very sad commentary on consumerism in our society. While some of the stuff is worthy of being pitched, there is so much stuff that clearly has utility. Indeed, we have seen many things that are brand new with their original labels and price tags. It would take way too long to list all of the various stuff that ends up at the bins, and sadly a lot of useful stuff gets rolled away.
The second point about the bins is that most of the "shoppers" are resellers who are there many hours per week. We have chatted with a few of these denizens of the bins, and they generally have specific things that they are looking for. Most resell on eBay or Poshmark, but some have flea market booths or consign with resale shops. For Rhonda and me, it is pretty much a scavenger hunt! And a good Mennonite one at that since it's $1.49 a pound!! Much of what we get is for family and friends, but we do find some nice resale items, such as Longaberger Baskets and high-end sports equipment. I keep my eye out for the latter because Play It Again Sports and the Boulder Sports Recycler are good places for sales. Here is a great tutorial for how to shop at the bins - and one point that I would add from our perspective, don't try to compete with the "pros" who make a beeline for specific items - the shoe grabbers are the worst!!! We generally wait for the initial madness of the dash to a new set of bins settles down, and then proceed to dig through - heaven knows that there is plenty to dig through! And there can be some interesting findings at the bottom of the bins - I once found a Walmart gift card that had $25 on it!