There used to be a real stigma about shopping in charity shops as people thought it showed that you were poor. It is more fashionable now with people being more aware of sustainability and looking after the planet. I have shopped in charity shops all my life. It is good for the purse, saves things going in landfill, and saves natural resources, and it helps some good causes and the people who benefit from them. There is nothing better than the buzz you get when someone admires your outfit and you know it only cost £3. The cost of everything is going up and people are now resorting to going to charity shops who might not have thought of going before. One of my friends asked me to go with her last week as it was her first time and she was nervous. These are some of the tips I gave her.
1. Go with a list of what you need and try to stick to it. It is so tempting to pick a few extra things that you like and then you get to the till and you have spent an extra £10.
2.Check the item you are buying, looking out for stains, broken zips, missing pieces, missing buttons etc.
3. Look for quality items. Sometimes you will see supermarket clothes that are nearly the same prices as they were sold for. Not everything is a bargain
4. Visit frequently if you are looking for something as they put new stock out every day.
5. Look for items with the labels cut out. Shops like M&S donate new end of line items to charity shops and ask that the label is cut out so that people can’t take some thing back to a M&S for a refund.
6. Visit charity shops in good areas. When I volunteered in a charity shop all the quality items received were sent to the posh areas. They do charge more, though. Some people make money by selling good quality items on Ebay that they have bought at charity shops.
7. Make friends with the staff and ask them if they have seen what you are looking for. Mine always tell me about things that would be good for my grand son.
8. Always wash clothes first before wearing. Some charity shops have a musty smell and if you put bicarbonate of soda in your wash this should get rid of it. I also disinfect and wipe down toys.
9. You can now shop online at charity shops eg Red Cross, Sense, Oxfam if you don’t fancy visiting one. I don’t think I would, though, as half the fun is looking round.
10.Volunteer at a charity shop if you have the time. You will often get a discount and see stock before it goes out. I got 25% off and got a beautiful ski jacket and some baking equipment.
11.Get to know the charity shops in your area. They are not all the same. Some are better value, and some specialise and sell electrical items etc. We have a shop near me where everything is under £3. I have had some fantastic bargains from there, including a wooden rocking horse.
12. Some people say to always visit on a Monday or Tuesday as the stock will be better as people are more likely to have a de-clutter at the weekend. I have not tried this theory as I only usually visit if I am walking or driving that way.
13. Go with an open mind and think outside of the box. I have bought curtains and made other things out of the material, and bought cardigans but put nicer buttons on. I have bought cheap glass vases and decorated them with glass paints to jazz up my home, or give as gifts.
Charity shops and car boot sales meant that my children could have good quality clothes when they were younger, the best toys and books, and despite being on a brilliant wage, my eldest still shops in them first before looking elsewhere. It makes sense and is contributing to a better world. Don’t forget when you are decluttering, to make room for your new purchases, that it is good to donate back to the charity shops too, especially if you are like me and are not courageous enough to sell on line.😊