Friday, 2 May 2014

Charity Shopping Tips

Charity shopping is something that I love to do. I love to rake and rummage, pinch the sides imagine what it would look like with a couple of darts sewn in and tilt my head looking at the potential of an item. I am known by the volunteers who never miss me as I walk in, I take two or three reusable shoppers with me because I know that chances are I will leave with plenty. I actually quite like the smell of charity shops - it makes me happy, knowing that I am probably about to unearth something that I will love that someone else has forgotten about.  Nine times out of ten if somebody compliments my handbag/cardigan/dress/scarf my answer is 'thanks! charity shop!'. Yes, I love charity shopping.

So many people have said to me 'I never see anything in charity shops....' OK, sometimes I leave empty handed myself. But I know that when someone says it in that tone of voice that they aren't spending enough time properly looking and probably go in once in a blue moon. When I go into charity shops I never know what I'm going to leave with, but I have a list of items that I would like to find and that makes you want to dig, which leads me on to tip number 1.

Tip 1. Have an Idea of What You'd Like to Find.
I'm not saying 'nude, LK Bennett heels in a size 5' or 'a pink, Kate Moss for Topshop dress in a 10', I'm saying 'nude shoes in a size 5' or 'a pale pink dress' rather than a specific branded one. If you go in with too specific an order, you will always leave empty handed. But having a rough idea of what you are after will allow you to browse the rails and know if something is likely to be suitable at a quick glance.

Tip 2. Think About the Potential.
You need to be more flexible not just on the brand that you are after (you won't find that often at all) and when it comes to items of clothing being more flexible on size is great too. What if you fall in love with something that doesn't fit? If you love something that is 3 sizes too big, think, can you take it in? Could you restyle it into something else? Could it be worn oversized?
If it is too small, on the other hand but you really love the fabric, colour or print - think about what it could become. A bag? Could you use the fabric to embellish something else?
Love the shape but hate the colour? Why not dye it? I don't often wear charity shopped items as I bought them, something normally changes somewhere along the line.

Tip 3. Visit Regularly.
If you go into a charity shop once a month, chances are, you will never find anything that you are looking for. Think about it, they are not like New Look, Primark or M&Co as they don't get daily deliveries to keep there stock levels of top selling items up. So you never know when that pink dress that you are hoping to find might be on the rail. Pop in as you are passing for a quick browse, you might strike gold.

Tip 4. If You Want it, Get it.
If it's in a charity shop, once it's gone, it's gone. So if you see something in a charity shop window that you like, go in and get it. It probably won't be there tomorrow. I recently had this when I walked past my local Cancer Research Shop, there was a beautiful Prada bag in the window, my arms were full as I was carrying things down to my mum's shop (literally, three shop units down) so I thought 'right, you will be mine' I went back having dropped my things off and it was gone. Gutted doesn't quite cut it. I wish I had gone in while juggling all of the things I was carrying and bought it there and then.
Bearing that in mind, don't buy something just because it's cheap. If you only want it because it's a bargain then put it back. You'll regret the purchase, it will be pushed to the back of a cupboard. Someone else could have purchased the item and wore it or had it out on display, enjoying i far more than you while it is hidden as 'that bargain I got'.

Tip 5.  Wash Your Purchases.
Please. When you get your goodies home, wash them first. Look at the care instructions on clothes, wash them. Pretty china tea set? Hand wash it and dry it before putting it away or using it. Shoes? Antibacterial wipes are your best friend, the same goes for leather bags. It doesn't take much effort to do and even though you don't know who has owned the item before you, you know it is clean.

Tip 6. Have Fun!
Like I said, I love charity shopping. I find it great fun and adore flicking through the rails, elbowing people as they try and barge in (it happens, believe me!) and choosing item that I believe I can breathe a new lease of life into.  Enjoy searching for your hidden treasure. I would so much rather raid, dig and search for something than walk in, find it (and fifteen others the same) folded perfectly right where I'd expect it, it's no fun that way!

The only other thing I'd like to say, is that every so often, give back. I like to go through my clothes, shoes and bags every three months or so. Everything that I don't wear or no longer like goes (back) to a charity shop. So many people are descending upon them recently and it is important to help them out by giving them more stock. So please do. When you next go in and think 'there's nothing here I like' think about what would happen if everyone who visited handed a black bag of donations in - there would be an abundance of hidden treasure.

What do you think? Do you love charity shopping too? 

1 comment:

  1. I love charity shopping! Great post!
    Now following on bloglovin x

    Kate | Beautiboe


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