10 tips for buying in charity shops

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shopping in charity shops - small change

if you’ve been reading this blog for a while or know me in person, you’ll know i love charity shops. i buy pretty much all my clothes in them (undergarments etc aside, obviously) and a lot of things for around the home too. as well as helping charities it lessens waste, and you can often find interesting and unique items. not to mention bargains are often to be had. i thought i’d compile a short list of 10 tips for buying in charity shops to help out any people that are new to using them.

1. go in regularly

especially if you live in a town or city as stock will be rotated and changed quite often.

2. look thoroughly

sometimes stuff can get buried and i’ve often found something amazing just by taking a little more time to look. things are not always going to be well organised so be prepared for a rummage!

3. go in with an idea of what you want 

but be prepared for the eventuality of not finding it. if you know what you want, you’re much less likely to buy things you don’t need. charity shop shopping can get expensive quickly, too!

4. be realistic 

that dress that’s too big, that item that needs a bit of a clean up/fixing …are you actually going to do it? if there’s doubt in your mind, don’t buy. i can guarantee it will sit there doing nothing until you decide to donate it back.

5. be open minded

sometimes something may not be exactly as you imagined, but if it works for you, it fits in with your tastes, and you love it, get it. i find this to be especially true with furniture and storage items. stay open minded.

6. be prepared to leave with nothing

it might be a case of wanting something but not finding it, that things are out of your budget or you just don’t find anything to your taste. as with any kind of shopping, sometimes you will be leaving empty handed.

7. try things on

like in high street and other shops, try things on. it makes sense and you’re less likely to waste your money. think about how items go with your existing wardrobe/your home if you’re buying homeware.

8. sizing

remember that most vintage and older clothing is sized differently to how it is now. just because the label says it’s a few sizes bigger than your normal, it may just fit you perfectly.

9. explore! 

charity shops in smaller villages, further out and in a different area to your norm are much more likely to be cheaper and because there’s less competition, you are generally more likely to score a fantastic bargain.

10. give back! 

clothes you don’t wear any more, or clothes that don’t fit? homeware items that no longer suit your style? donate donate donate! remember to make sure your items are clean and in good condition first.

10 tips for buying in charity shops was last modified: April 8th, 2017 by laura redburn
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11 Comments

  • Reply Polly 04/03/2015 at 16:57

    great tips! I love hunting out a bargain in the charity shops

    • Reply laura redburn 14/03/2015 at 08:53

      it's an awesome feeling when you find something fantastic for a great price!

  • Reply Slummy single mummy 04/03/2015 at 18:43

    I love shopping in charity shops and give masses away to them too, but do find it a bit sad how things have developed. When I was a teenager we could go into a charity shop, fill a bag for a pound, and come out with some amazing retro finds. Nowadays everything feels so expensive and all the decent stuff is in boutique vintage shop for crazy prices!

    • Reply laura redburn 14/03/2015 at 08:55

      i understand that some charity shops are going to charge a bit more, and i'm happy for more money to go to them (as long as they do go to the charities obviously) but i totally see and agree with your point. some are definitely overpriced, and especially the more boutiqey ones!

  • Reply Jess @ Along Came Ch 05/03/2015 at 18:40

    Shopping in charity shops is my favourite thing to do! I love finding granny skirt bargains. And get excited if we go somewhere with lots of new ones. I definitely need to leave some things though, I have a huge pile of clothes that need adjustments! x

    • Reply laura redburn 14/03/2015 at 08:58

      haha, i do too! if we or i am going to a new place i always google to see what charity shops are going to be there :D and yeah it can be hard ..especially if something is otherwise perfect for you. i've learned that unless i desperately want something that's a bit big/long i won't take it home. or if i can't stop thinking about it and end up going back, ha!

  • Reply Fiona 07/03/2015 at 12:04

    Great tips! Charity shopping is one of my favourite pastimes. I'm lucky because we live in a village that has one AMAZING charity shop (everything is so cheap) and a few really good ones, and not many visitors so I always find treasures! x

    • Reply laura redburn 14/03/2015 at 08:59

      they are the best! we have quite a few in my area of cardiff, and there's one on my road that's one of my favourites ever!

  • Reply Kathryn 07/03/2015 at 12:09

    I still love finding a charity shop bargain although I use them more for hunting out vintage finds but I always donate all my unwanted gear – it just makes sense. Great tips x

  • Reply laura redburn 14/03/2015 at 09:00

    ooh yes i always seek out vintage (or really well handmade) stuff where i can. there never used to be much around here, but in the past few years it's increased. always found amazing stuff when i was little. wish i could go back in time, hmm….

  • Reply Victoria Green 23/10/2015 at 15:55

    Really useful tips! Charity shops are great way to provide interesting things for my home and to help fighting the waste as well! I just can’t understand why people throw away so much valuable stuff that can be reused and recycled!

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