I first fell in love with charity shopping whilst I was at uni, before that for some reason growing up, it just wasn’t cool. But how many places can you get stylish clothes for dirt cheap whilst helping support local charities?!
Fortunately for me, my charity shop obsession began in a town called Farnham and for those that don’t know it, I often describe it as a posh coronation street, therefore, the selection of clothes are incredible. But when I first started out I found it all a bit overwhelming, there were clothes everywhere, in different sections, sort of like a miniature TK max (I can’t handle TK max) or a car boot sale held in a phone box…it doesn’t take much for me to feel claustrophobic. Luckily, I was with a good group of friends who had charity shopping down and were able to give me tips. 7 years later…there are a few things I’ve learnt along the way myself that I’d like to share with you.
SEARCH EVERY RACK AND INCH
And take a good look at everything and anything that catches your eye. The one thing with charity shops is they only really have one of something and you can be pretty damn sure that the brand it’s from no longer sells it which is why when you walk in there you have to be clever, start at one rack and search the crap out of it; if you see something and you think, hmmmm… take it out for a better look. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve been charity shopping with someone and they’ve found an absolute gem in the rack I’ve just been through; it’s painful. Trust me.
TRY BEFORE YOU BUY
Going shopping at in any high street shop stresses me out, mostly because all their sizes are so so different. You could be a size 10 in one shop and a size 20 in the other, so when you walk into a charity shop and they have 100+ brands on the rack, all in different sizes, you need to make sure everything you pick up fits. Sometimes I pick up a size 16 and it’s smaller than the size 8 top behind it.
DON’T JUST GO FOR THE CLOTHES
In the beginning this is all I would look for, it wasn’t until I moved in with my boyfriend that I actually started to pay attention to the wonderful knick-knacks, books and DVDs/CDs that charity shops have to offer and now I can’t leave the shop until I’ve scoped every single shelf. Once we were having a mooch around town and I dragged James into Waterstones because there was a new book I wanted, so I walked on in, paid £7.99 for it and walked out absolutely chuffed, that was until I went in the charity shop and saw they had it for £1.99 – lesson learnt. Oh and don’t even get me started on the CDs, James used to have a car that didn’t allow you to play music from your phone so one day we were moseying around charity shops and ended up buying some right gems, destiny’s child, romance soundtrack, backstreet boys, Hip Hop anthems, all for a £1 each.
Ok so you’d think this would be an obvious one but the amount of people I’ve seen go to the counter asking for money off because of a rip or a 2 for 1 bargain. It’s for charity people! I’ve literally stood there cringing and you can’t help but feel embarrassed for them; all eyes in the store suddenly turn and judge. Look, don’t get me wrong, we all love to haggle but if you find yourself out shopping and suddenly have that urge, stay clear of the charity shops and get yourself to the market.