It can be hard to get your head around the old image of charity shops – but they aren’t just filled with the smelly, worn out, crappy castoffs that people often imagine them to be. When I was at school, you could be bullied and picked on for going into a charity shop, even if you were just donating. Being seen in one was a big no-no! But after the recession hit, when people couldn’t afford to be so frivolous, spending loads on high street brands or designer labels, the humble charity shop had a surge in popularity and I for one, can often be found frequenting them.
Since having Dexter I found so many things in our local charity shops that I might not have otherwise have been able to afford for him. Lets face it, kids are expensive and it all adds up! In the last three years we must’ve owned about 15 different sleep bags for example. These normally retail from anything from £15 up to £35 which is crazy when you think how fast children grow.
Books are always a bargain and we are currently on the lookout for Julia Donaldson books as Dexter has really become a fan of the Gruffalo and the Room on the Broom of late. We are specifically after the scarecrows wedding and stick man but any of the Julia Donaldson books we find a sure to be a bargain and in good condition. My sister would like to own all of the Harry Potter books to so I’ll be keeping my eye out for those too. I’ve already managed to find her a first edition hardback copy of The Half Blood Prince for 49p.
Some of my favourite bargains so far have been toys for Dexter. We’ve had many construction vehicles, puzzles and even a tub of soldiers all in very good condition and all very much loved by Dexter. And whats great, is when he’s outgrown them, we can re-donate everything and another child can get some use out of them too.
Last week, I visited the charity shop that I don’t often get the chance to go to and actually managed to get myself two pairs of trousers, two tops, two cardigans and the bargain of the day – which was a Griffindor Harry Potter cape that was originally from Marks & Spencers for Dexter – all for the grand total of £7 that makes it just 1 pound per item! Where else can you come out with that many items with change from a tenner.
Not only where are they cheap, really good quality annnd have been looked after, they were also from some of the top High Street stores. The blue corduroy trousers for example were from Next. The light linen trousers were from M&S and the patterned top with the blue neckline was from Sainsbury.
I very much doubt that I would’ve got just one of those items for the £7 I spent today had I bought them from new.
Charity Shop top tips!
Now I’ll admit, obviously not everything you buy from a charity shop is going to be amazing so I do have a couple of hints…
- When buying books just have a quick flick through the pages to make sure they’ve not been scribbled on or torn.
- When buying trousers check the crotch area for wearing and the same around the ankles and make sure buttons and zips and that fastenings work.
- With tops, check for staining from make up around the collars and or staining or wear around the armpits
- When buying toys make sure there is nothing broken or sharp that could hurt your child and where possible check that things are working. (You may not be able to do this if it’s something that requires batteries)
- Be prepared to rummage – The layout of a charity shop is one thing that can off and put people off everything is normally arranged in size order or colour however people might not be willing to search and therefore might miss some hidden gems!
There is a whole lot of potential just waiting to be discovered in your local charity shop. Most things are a great deal cheaper than in your high street shops and if you have a home project, or a costume to make, they are absolute goldmines!
Not to mention, the money you spend in them goes towards helping some fantastic charities.
Go and have a rummage and see what you can find. I challenge you! You’ll come out feeling good about your purchases because you’ll have save yourself some money, but also donated to worthy causes at the same time!
Found any great bargains lately? Let me know. What’s you’re favourite Charity shop find?