16 June 2012

HOw I charity shop..

As promised in this post here are my tips for successful charity shopping taken from my experiences of shopping and actually working in these amazing places..

Some of my favourite charity shop jewellery finds.. And each piece cost me under £5 !!

Where to start..
Ok, so you want to try charity shopping but haven't a clue how to.. My first tip is start with the accessories. Charity shops stock endless amounts of unique, one off pieces at teeny tiny prices. Sometimes you don't even need to go into a shop to get a feel of what they have to offer. Both the amazingly good and amazingly bad window displays are constantly being added to as people buy and also donate different items. With endless supplies of scarves available from as little as pennies they're perfect for either wearing as a scarf, a headband, tying round your bag or using it to add a customised pocket to your plain t-shirts. Before you know it, you've started to charity shop..

Getting to know your charity shops (Yes, really)
We all know of a charity shop that doesn't have the best reputation. Maybe it's in a not so nice part of town, or there are just a few sad coat hangers and a faded picture in the window. Until you go in, you can't be sure you're not missing out on a host of vintage treats. Did you know Urban Outfitters donate to charity shops?
Yep, it's quite well known that in a nicer part of town you'll probably find some nicer bits and pieces.. But you might also be faced with a higher price tag.
Regular visits to your local charity shops gives you an idea of what they sell and how often they update their stock. The ladies at the shop I used to work in were obsessed with Marks and Spencer, slapping the highest price tags on and refusing to reduce M&S items because in their opinion 'you can rely on St. Michael's.' At the same time, they weren't so hot on 90s Topshop and Miss Selfridge..

A few of my local (and favourite) charity shops

Budget
Just as with high street shopping, it's good to have a budget when charity shopping. It'll help you work out what you really want, if you really will wear it and guaranteeing the overall satisfaction of getting a real bargain. Don't forget to leave a bit of money spare if you don't have the expertise or inclination (like myself) to customise clothes. Leave it to the professionals (for only a few extra pounds..)

Have something in mind
I love finding something that I can go into a high street store and say 'I found something just like that in a charity shop for a fiver!' Other times High Street stores serve as inspiration before starting your charity shopping. Looking at Topshop today; the 90s are making a comeback, grunge is big, you're a weird if you don't have tie-dye in your wardrobe and pastels are the colours to wear for summer.. I guarantee if you know what you're looking for, you are more likely to find it, or versions of it, or at least find items that will work with what you already have in your wardrobe..

Customise and accessorise
Need I say more.. ?!

Look through EVERYTHING
When I'm charity shopping I head straight to the dress section. They are my charity shop weakness. But I don't just look through my size. I start from the smallest and end on the biggest. So many times I've found something a little bit too big and rather than putting them back on the rail I've stuck a belt on, wore oversized or cut up and customised. Same with smaller sizes.. 'Er, hello. My tummy is meant to be on show..'
And don't just stick to the women's section. Get amongst the men's.. Men's items are usually cheaper as it's harder to sell, but if you fancy an oversized t-shirt or shirt this is the section you head towards.

Patience..
Unfortunately, not every trip to your local charity shops leads you to find oodles of vintage one-of-a-kind pieces. But give it a bit of time and you'll never be able to walk past them again without popping in..

At the moment my charity shopping inspiration is coming from Laila at The Kittens Whiskers..


 She has a wicked sense of style with the ability to mix her charity shop finds with the rest of her wardrobe, leaving me with mega wardrobe envy.

SO, have you found these tips helpful? What are you charity shopping tips? Who (or what!) is your inspiration at the moment?

23 comments:

  1. Nice read. I'm useless with charity shops. I need to give them more time!

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    1. That was my problem.. Now, I usually set aside an afternoon every month or so. That way I look forward to it and save all my spare change!

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  2. great post! Very helpful :) i want to shop in charity shops more! x

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    1. Defo give it a go.. Just finding one item makes it worth it!

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  3. A really good post! I'm so rubbish at charity shopping, I always give up but you have re-inspired me :) xx

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    1. Wow.. Big like! Just to warn you.. It's addictive! Haha.

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  4. The ladies at the shop I used to work in were obsessed with Marks and Spencer, slapping the highest price tags on and refusing to reduce M&S items because in their opinion 'you can rely on St. Michael's.'

    It's like this in almost every charity shop! (or at least it used to be...) I remember when I was young my mum would see designer stuff she had donated going for like £1 and m&s stuff for like £5 and it would upset her because they could get so much more for it. I once got a miu miu top in a charity shop for £3 because they didn't know what it was. Alot of charity shops are more savvy these days esp. as they aren't run entirely by retired ladies anymore, quite a few young girls i know work in them too, to get first dibs on the best goodies.

    where I live it's quite a well to do area so the charity shops are quite expensive (£15 for a topshop dress, which is cheap considering how much it cost new, but back home it would cost £4) so i'm asking around about nearby towns that i can get the bus too where they might be a bit better.

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    1. Oh yeah, totally agree! The more well known charity shops (Oxfam, Cancer Research etc) know what they're looking for now. To be fair, the local charity I worked for was starting to have a list of labels to look out for and enlisted the help of an antique dealer to look through their crockery. They may not have got as much as it was worth but they got more than what they would have guessed. I guess you just have to take charity shops for what they are; an outlet to raise money for causes that aren't getting the funding. If you get a bargain out of it then it's a bonus!

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  5. great post :) i love just taking a day to myself to browse the charity shops. the blue stone piece of jewellery is beautiful! x

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    1. Aw thanks.. Yeah, the blue stone bracelet is this werid Aladdin style charm bracelet. Only in a charity shop !!

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  6. I am a massive charity shopper! I spent £40 the other week and came home with one almighty haul (that's hoping to take some photographing!!) alot of the charity shop ladies are getting obsessed with writing ridiculous prices on Primark clothes! I generally have a rule to refuse to buy Primark but I do have a few exceptions in my wardrobe. These charity shop ladies are getting too label savvy these days!

    Jenni x

    Bowsbanglesandbakes.blogspot.com

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    1. Yeah, I think different people have different expectations from their charity shopping. I don't personally go for Primark either but it's great for the shops to be getting on trend pieces and able to create a jazzy window display that might just encourage someone who wouldn't usually shop there to go in. I heart label savvy old ladies.. They know their stuff !! Haha.

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  7. This is a great how to, haven't checked out any of my local charity shops but I am going to take your tips and head out next weekend :)

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  8. I used to be pretty apathetic towards charity shops, until I stumbled across a few brilliant finds - now I love to have a browse! x

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  9. Great post! Your tips are so helpful! I am a new convert actually. Don't know why as I do really love to rummage.

    I agree about how gratifying it can be to find something similar to what's in this season for like 10% of the price. I also agree with others when they say that charity shops have become more savvy when it comes to selling and pricing what is in this season. You can see this in the window displays and websites.

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  10. I LOVE charity shops! Amazing the stuff you can find for ridiculously cheap prices :)

    xo

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  11. These are great tips! I didn't know that UO donated actually until this week when a local Barnados had a load of UO and Cheap Monday jewellery in. For 98 whole pence each I got 2 rings and some earrings!

    Laila x

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  12. This is a great post! I'm absolutely useless at charity shopping I always wonder how people find such amazing things. I guess it takes a lot of patience! I didn't know UO donated to charity shops either, will have to keep an eye out! xxx

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  13. I think your tips have just about covered everything! What a good post, I hope it encourages people to get bargain hunting! Lauren xo

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  14. Aaah brilliant tips! I love a good rummage through charity shops (my local ones are AWFUL though!) ♥ Claire @ Jazzpad

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  15. Those jewelry are charity finds? And under £5, nonetheless! Your charity shop skills are truly amazing. Thank you for sharing your tips, and I hope those will help people out there who consider themselves unlucky when it comes to hunting good items in charity shops. Have a good day!

    Norman Watkins @ eBay Giving Works

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