How to Shop the New Housing Works Buy the Bag

Posted On Wednesday, December 5th, 2012
Filed Under: How To, shopping, Thrift Stores

Last week I told you about the new Housing Works Buy the Bag location. The thrift store used to offer select dates for this awesome sale {$25 for a bag full of clothing}, but now they have a stand alone location that’s open five days a week. Needless to say I was super excited to hear this sale is now being offered year round and throughout the week.
I went to the press preview and the space is definitely different from the warehouse feel of the previous setting. A new layout and even new bags means your strategy has to change a bit.
Keep reading for a complete rundown of the new Housing Works Buy the Bag shop, plus some tips on how to get the max amount of items in your bag.
If you ever visited the former Long Island City location, it was pretty massive, hot and kinda dark. The Brooklyn space is smaller, but bright and airy and there’s AC for the summer months.
The bins of clothing aren’t as deep and long either. This is a good thing and bag thing. Since they’re not so massive, it doesn’t take as long to dig through them, but that also means less merchandise on the floor. But the Housing Works staff is always great with replenishing the merch.
And they have a few tables where you can take a breather and sort through your clothes before checking out.
But what I’m really excited about is the new bags. Previously, they were the size of large brown grocery bags, but now they’re bigger! Bigger bags equal more clothes and accessories you can stuff in them. The only rule Housing Works has in terms of bags is that the handles have to touch. In the past, shoppers {self included} used to stuff them to the point that the bag was literally overflowing. No more of that.
{the new, bigger bags}
Though most people think the actual shopping part poses the biggest challenge, stuffing the bag is where the real issue comes in. Of course you can buy as many bags as you want, but there’s a science to how to do it so you get the most bang for your 25 bucks.
How to Stuff Your Bag
You know the new sorting tables I mentioned earlier? Use them. Separate your clothes in to three piles: don’t want, maybe and gotta have it.
Before tossing your unwanted items back in a bin, see if there’s someone near you who may want or like them. Just because something isn’t your style or size, it may be perfect for the next person. When you do this, people return the thrifting karma and bless you with their unwanted, yet awesome finds.
Now you have two piles left: the must haves and the items you want but can do without. Be sure you’ve checked everything for rips, stains and defects as all sales are final.
Starting with your must have pile, take the bulkiest pieces {sweaters, coats, large purses, etc} and pack them first. Roll them as tightly as possible and place in your bag. With every layer of rolled clothes, push down on your bag so you have a tightly packed base. Now you can move on to less bulky items and repeat the roll and stuff process. For silk tops and dresses, belts and ties, stuff them in any remaining spaces.
*Wrap it Up*
If you have more space in your bag, start adding pieces from your “maybe” pile. Or get back in the mix and keep thrifting until your bag is at capacity. Remember, the handles of the bags have to touch, so don’t pack too much.
*Rent Bag Space*
If you don’t have additional space but still have items you want, you can rent space in someone else’s bag. If you’re shopping with a friend, place items in their bag. Or if you see a stranger at the checkout counter and notice their bag hasn’t been maximized, politely ask if they’ll help you out. Most people will gladly do this for free {they have to pay $25 whether their bag is full or not} but it doesn’t hurt to offer them a few bucks as a courtesy. It’s a win win situation for all involved.
The most I’ve ever stuffed in a bag was 43 items, and it’s all about tucking and rolling.
During the preview, Housing Works gave us a complimentary bag that we were able to fill up and I found some stellar pieces. And when I say stellar, I mean Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Marc by Marc Jacobs {the tunic I’m holding in the photo below}, vintage threads and even an Oscar de la Renta men’s sweater {and you know I’m all about cute ways women can wear men’s oversized sweaters}. I found so much great stuff, I ended up buying another bag.
Be sure to check back next week for some of my finds from Buy the Bag and if you’re in Brooklyn, definitely check the shop out.

Housing Works 
Buy the Bag
159 28th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11232

Wednesday – Friday 12-6pm
Saturday 12-6 pm
Power Hour (Saturday Only) 11 am-12 pm – book your ticket online
Sunday 12-5 pm

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9 thoughts on “How to Shop the New Housing Works Buy the Bag

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