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Top tips for shopping in charity shops

Whether you’re new to shopping in charity shops or a seasoned second hand bargain hunter, here are some of our top tips for shopping in a charity shop.

There are lots of reasons to shop second hand. It’s environmentally friendly giving longer life to items that may have gone to landfill. It’s possible to find quirky interesting items that would be tricky (and expensive) to find in high street stores. Second hand items, especially furniture, can often be better quality than new items of the same price. It’s great fun, there are lots of bargains to be found and best of all you can feel good about treating yourself while raising money for a great cause.

Whether you’re new to shopping in charity shops or a seasoned second hand bargain hunter, here are some of our top tips for shopping in a charity shop.

1. Make a decision quickly

All items are donated so you only have one chance to grab that bargain. Make a decision while you are holding the item and don’t put it down until you are sure you don’t want to buy it. Once it goes back on the rail the chances are it won’t be too long before someone else snaps it up.

2. Try on anything you are not sure about

Often clothes can look very different once you try them on. Some items can look unappealing when on the hanger but when tried on can be surprising different and flattering.

Sizing on the garment may not always be accurate. Vintage items especially, can have sizing quite different to our modern sizes. It can be disappointing to get your items home to find they don’t fit.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Our staff and volunteers are a friendly bunch and happy to help with any questions. If you are looking for something specific we can put in a special request at our warehouse for you. We might not have it but we can certainly have a look for you!

4. If you are buying furniture or larger items, make sure you have measured the space correctly to check it will fit

Measure to ensure your new furniture will fit through all the doorways in your home. Don’t forget to measure any tight corners or narrow hallways. Take into account obstacles such as built in shelving or radiators. Remember to check the room is big enough. Large items of furniture can look a lot smaller sitting in our warehouse. We are able to reserve larger items for 24 hours if you need to double check.

5. Keep an open mind about what you are looking for

It helps to have a rough idea of what you are looking for but having an open mind about the details can be helpful. You might not find exactly what you are looking for but there might be something similar. If you are looking for a particular style of furniture in a specific colour, try looking for something that has the right shape. It’s easy to update older furniture with a quick coat of paint.

6. Grab a basket! It’s a lot easier to carry all those bargains!

It can be easy to end up with an arm full of items to take to the till which can be a bit tricky to carry through the shop. So why not grab a basket! It’s a lot easier to carry and is a much safer way to carry breakable items.

7. If you don’t see anything you like, pop back in a few days

Due to the nature of donated stock, everything in the shop can change very quickly. It’s always worth popping back to look through the new stock.

Don’t forget to have fun!

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