Why don’t more people shop at charity shops?
I never really understood the charm of charity shops until I started going in them. For so long I’ve always thought of them as a place full of old and used clothes that nobody wants anymore, as well as junk that people didn’t want anymore. Although this was a pretty big misconception on my behalf, many of us still think this way. In a world where we are constantly buying into the latest fashion trends and fast fashion is a massive issue, why aren’t we doing more to help the planet and also giving our money to charity shops which give money to those in need?
I won’t lie and say I never buy anything new anymore as this would be a lie, as well as being plus-sized can make it hard to shop in charity shops, however, cutting down the amount I buy is a start and I’ve found that thrifting (as our transatlantic cousins would say) is actually really fun. I have actually been thrifting in America when I visited Pittsburgh and whilst I was stateside I met up with Nicki. From shopping alongside someone who was a pro, it was clear why people do this on a regular basis, whether it’s for fun or to get some new wardrobe staples at a fraction of the cost. Plus they’re usually in huge places with rails and rails of clothes.
In America, thrifting is usually seen as something cool and exciting, especially when you find huge discounts.
In the UK shopping in a charity shop doesn’t really have the same vibe about it, most people would stick up their nose at the idea of even going into a charity shop let alone wearing items from one. So I am here to debunk some charity shop misconceptions as well as share with you my top tips for finding some bargains.
The clothes are dirty and well-loved:
Walking into a charity shop and browsing the rails, you’ll be surprised at how many items look completely unworn or are actually new with tags in the shops. Oh, and those clothes which are worn are still in great condition. Charity shops aren’t just full of old junk, they’re usually full of hidden gems. Most of the charity shops I’ve been in are filled to the brim with Topshop, New Look and River Island clothes most of which appear to be completely new.
I know when I donate to charity shops, I’ve either gained weight, changed styles or ordered something and it did not fit and me being me, forgot to return it. So I’ve literally on tried it on and hung it up in my wardrobe and left it in there. Until a few months later when I decided that my wardrobe needs a huge overhaul and I stop hanging on to those bits that I’ll probably never fit into.
Although some of the items in charity shops are obviously worn, they can be higher-end pieces, even some designer. Recently I found some FCUK jeans in a charity shop for £1, as well as seeing brands such as Ralph Lauren, Armani, Kurt Gieger and Lindybop all at reasonable prices. Doing a quick search of the designer items you can find some of them were originally £100+, so getting them under £10 is an amazing deal.
I never find anything good in my charity shops:
Obviously, as charity shops rely on donations it does mean that stock is usually completely random. Living close to a charity shop means I can pop in quite often to check the stock. The way to get the best items is to go in as often as possible and don’t be afraid to search all of the rails. I usually head towards the shoes first as well as the £1 rail as you never know what might be within.
The clothes are old fashioned:
Of course, some of the clothes are going to be for older people as it depends on who donates items. However, I’ve seen some online stores like Boohoo, Missguided and Misspap in charity shops, every time I visit. It’s a great thing that the shops have items for different styles as it allows more people to shop there.
Finally, a few tips I’ve learned from regularly shopping in charity shops:
- Only buy things you really want, as tempting as some offers can be, if you’re not going to wear it, it is pointless spending the money on it.
- Thoroughly browse to find the best items, as you never know what might be hidden away.
- Chat to the staff, it can often go a long way when looking for items as they’re more likely to keep things aside that you may want to buy.
- Check the charity shops eBay pages, British Heart Foundation, Red Cross and Sense all have their own online stores where you can get bargains just as you would in the shop. They tend to sell more rare/vintage items on their eBay store.