Although you can find great stuff on Goodwill shelves most of the time, the best items are found after a restock.
Because it’s brand new inventory that hasn’t been picked over by other shoppers yet.
You might be wondering, when does Goodwill restock?
After years of shopping at Goodwill, I’ll share their most common restocking patterns and other helpful tips.
When does goodwill restock?
In my experience, most Goodwill stores are restocked when the store opens in the morning, and continue restocking through early afternoon.
This means the best time to shop Goodwill is from the time the store opens through early afternoon.
However, this does not mean you can’t find exciting items after that timeframe, it just means you’re most likely to find the newest inventory then.
I have found plenty of incredible items to resell at Goodwill in the evenings too.
There are some Goodwill stores that bring out items occasionally in the evening, but that’s not very common from my shopping experience.
Tactic for Success
If you are new to shopping Goodwill restocks, it’s important to always ask the associate before picking items from their restocking clothing rack or cart. Some shoppers swarm their restocking inventory without asking first, which associates don’t appreciate.
When do goodwill outlets restock?
Goodwill outlet stores or ‘the bins’ as it’s commonly called, restock a little differently from Goodwill retail stores.
Not only do Goodwill outlet stores restock more frequently, but they also have a more rigid process for picking restocked items.
When it comes to restock frequency, I usually see new bins rolled out about every 20-30 minutes from when the store opens to early afternoon.
Since there’s a lot more demand and interest for a brand new bin in outlet stores, you are typically required to stand a few feet back from the bin until it’s completely rolled out.
Bins are full of hundreds of fresh items, some of which are worth $25, $50, $100+ at times, so naturally there’s more eagerness among shoppers.
The nice thing about Goodwill outlet restocks are that they are more predictable than restocks at the Goodwill retail store.
But bring your boxing gloves, because bin restocks feel like a feeding frenzy at times.
Additional Goodwill Shopping Secrets
Once you learn Goodwill restocking patterns you’ll be on your way to finding more treasures.
But if you really want to maximize your Goodwill shopping experience, try out these shopping secrets too.
Get a coupon for making a donation
Some Goodwills will give you a coupon for your next shopping trip when you donate.
This is not a universal policy with Goodwill, it’ll be store specific. If you are a frequent donator, ask around at the Goodwills in your area to find out which ones offer this benefit.
Learn the sales
Turns out Goodwills have sales on top of their already low prices.
For example, some stores have 50% off sales during holidays.
The thing is, they don’t widely broadcast when these sales occur, which is why most people don’t know they exist.
If you never want to miss these sales, you can sign up for Goodwill’s email list, follow their store specific social media accounts, and ask the store associates.
Find the ‘honey hole’
If you are new to Goodwill shopping, you might not know that all the stores are not equal. In my experience out of 10 Goodwill stores one of those will have amazing inventory, and 2-4 will be pretty good.
So, make sure you try out plenty of Goodwills nearby to find that 1 in 10 or ‘honey hole’ as some resellers call it.
I found a Goodwill years ago that consistently has shockingly good finds. I can’t tell you why this specific one (which isn’t in a wealthy area) always has gems.
Here are a few things I’ve found from this store over the years.
How often do other thrift shops restock?
Most other thrift stores do not restock at the same rate as Goodwill, simply due to the volume of inventory Goodwill receives and sells on a daily basis.
There are other thrift stores that generate tons of business besides Goodwill, such as Savers, Salvation Army, and popular region specific thrift stores.
In these cases, they will be restocking often, but the restock patterns are less predictable in my experience.
That means you might have to do more thrifting trips to catch the fresh inventory, which isn’t a bad thing if you love thrifting anyway.
John-Paul Cody has been an avid online seller for years, across platforms including eBay, Mercari, Craigslist, and more. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from UNC Chapel Hill, and works in data analytics and marketing.