Advanced search

Whether you’re a beauty novice or a confirmed fashionista, this topic is for consulting Mumsnetters on all things style-related. Plus, check out our Swears By page for the inside track on the next Mumsnet must-have.

Charity Shops - good tips?

(38 Posts)
ZeldaWasMyGransName Thu 30-Mar-17 18:30:55

In the market for some new bits and I know some people have found things they love in charity shops.

I like the idea of not buying new and that I might save some money, but wanted to know if anyone had any good tips on how to find stuff, sorts of things to look for?

BurningViolin Thu 30-Mar-17 18:46:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DelphiniumBlue Thu 30-Mar-17 18:51:56

I've charity shopped for years, and the only tips I can give are to go with aN open mind, be prepared to spend time going through the rails, and to return home empty- handed.
I find I might visit maybe 20 shops, or 4 shops 5 times, to get 1 item.
Go to the shops in upmarket areas to get more interesting finds, although you will pay more for them.
Check garments carefully for stains and holes.
Wash items carefully / treat for moths if wool before putting them in your wardrobe.

usefultoken Thu 30-Mar-17 18:55:55

I get most clothes from charity shops and often friends will say 'yeah I went and had a look but didn't find anything'. I think the reason I do is that I go in them far too regularly, usually not looking for anything in particular. I might be able to think 'ok I need some trousers' in a very general way but not be too specific. So I browse regularly and buy things I love/know will be useful. I like that I can buy things that are not the latest fashion too. Good luck! And don't be put off by the scruffier looking shops, they are full of bargains and everything can be washed!

usefultoken Thu 30-Mar-17 18:56:45

Tut, strike through fail!

scaredofthecity Thu 30-Mar-17 19:00:26

Definitely need to go regularly. Sometimes you can find a shop with someone who is the same size and has a similar style and donates often. This means a steady stream of clothes! But unfortunately isn't that easy to find.

MrsMoastyToasty Thu 30-Mar-17 19:01:36

Make friends with the staff and volunteers. One of my friends works in our local charity shop and she's keeping an eye out for school uniform and a particular design of crockery for me.

TondelayaDellaVentamiglia Thu 30-Mar-17 19:07:00

yes, go in often...and look properly.

And know your shop labels....don't get suckered in for paying OTT for a Primark stretch tee....but £7.50 for a pair of Louboutins***...YES PLEASE

* true story ...dd's best friend was very pleased with them since they didn't fit me or her. And the soles were virtually unmarked.

Jayfee Thu 30-Mar-17 19:09:23

rich areas are classfied by the charities as platgnum apparently and prices are higher

MarklahMarklah Thu 30-Mar-17 19:13:01

I go once a week to ours. Some weeks you get lucky and it's all Hobbs, Monsoon, Phase Eight and similar, other weeks it's all Sainsbury's & Primark. I tend to chat to the people who work there, and I know someone who works in one - she keeps an eye out for school uniform and things for an elderly relative of mine.

Some of ours are more 'upmarket' than others, but the one that's most "jumble-saley" has the odd gem. I bought an LK Bennett cardigan in there about 18 months ago, for 50p. It was the previous seasons design, and the virtually identical one that I looked up for the current season was retailing at £90.

If something is in bad condition and you want it, ask if they'll consider reducing because of that. Don't expect them to barter on every item and don't ask for a discount on multiple purchases.

Volontaire Thu 30-Mar-17 19:26:01

I work for a national charity.

We don't price clothing differently in affluent areas.

Don't ask for a discount - clothing is sold 'as seen' and won't always be perfect. It also looks really bad - very few people ask a charity for a discount and you'll just cheese the staff off.

Butter the staff up a bit. New stock comes in daily - hourly - and if they know what you are looking for they might keep a look out for you.

Happy hunting!

ZeldaWasMyGransName Thu 30-Mar-17 20:15:27

Thanks so much all of you, great tips! Will start having a regular mooch round the local ones...

Greenvalleymama Thu 30-Mar-17 20:19:12

I would have a good look at your whole wardrobe and decide where the gaps are, then get stuck in! There's no point buying another winter coat if you don't need one, even if it is only a fiver.

I usually have a vague idea of what I'm looking for, the past few weeks I've been on the lookout for a spring jacket (machine washable) and a pair of sandals (preferably leather). I found a navy boucle Zara jacket for under a fiver and some silver Avarca style sandals which look unworn for £3.

Look out for quality timeless items, but you can also have some fun and try things that you might not go for if you had to pay full price. Always try things on

I have four or five that I visit regularly, and I usually come away with something (I buy for myself, and my three children). The kids clothes are usually Next/ M&S quality and usually look as good as new. I don't buy anything stained or bobbled etc. I also buy things for the kids a few years ahead if they're staples like jeans or M&S uniform, and stash them away.

One tip is to check how things are washed, if they're handwash or dry clean I'll only buy if I absolutely love them.

The great thing is that even if you make a mistake, you've only wasted a few pounds, and you can pass them back to the charity shop with a clear conscience!

BellonaBelladonna Thu 30-Mar-17 20:54:32

I go for items that are more seldom worn eg dresses. T shirts, jeans or knits almost never have much life left in them but jackets, bags, dresses, some shoes are often better.

You do have to pop in often. Sometimes you get lucky and catch them qhen someone stylish, rich etc has just donated.

I once followed someone in and bought all their nursery pictures and maternity clothes. Ive had boden tops, jigsaw dresses, whistles jackets and a ted baker jumpsuit with labels!

LoupGarou Thu 30-Mar-17 21:48:34

Yy to going to an affluent area. Also try a suburbs area where "keeping up with the Joneses" is the norm, those shops tend to have a higher turnover of almost new and last season stuff. I'm in the US though, so perhaps that one only works here.

LoupGarou Thu 30-Mar-17 21:55:32

Also yy to making friends with the staff, a few years ago I got talking to the manageress of my favourite thrift store (small independent charity) and I offered to redesign their website, facebook page and design a social media marketing campaign for them for free as they had been worrying about it.
I enjoyed doing it and it was nice to help them out and it worked amazingly well. So now in addition to browsing a great store I get a coffee morning in the staff room included smile

TinfoilHattie Thu 30-Mar-17 23:05:58

I'm a charity shop volunteer and agree with a lot of what's been said already. The place I volunteer is in an affluent area and we have some lovely things donated - quite often see Hobbs, Cos, Boden etc but we get our fair share of crap donated too. It's very hit and miss. Some days it will be bag after bag of lovely things, other days all rubbish. And there is no pattern to it!

Visiting regularly is the key, and getting to know staff if possible. Or offer to volunteer yourself.

MikeUniformMike Thu 30-Mar-17 23:17:43

Go little and often. Look in affluent but not touristy areas.
Or if there's a crummy town near affluent areas. Often things are donated unworn because they're the wrong size. Jeans are a good example but there will be dozens of low rise skinnies or bootcuts in very expensive makes. I get most of my clothes in charity shops but I do make the odd mistake - they will take things back with a receipt though.

motherinferior Fri 31-Mar-17 08:13:06

Be flexible about making alterations - either on your own (taking up hems, removing details you don't like) or by getting it done professionally.

ChishandFips33 Fri 31-Mar-17 08:46:49

Wear easy to put on/take off clothes and shoes! Makes trying things on less hassle

Wombat45 Fri 31-Mar-17 09:07:51

Be flexible about sizing, as it can be quite variable. I suspect items that aren't "true to size" are more likely to be given away to charity shops when they're nearly new. So If you see something you like that's a size above or below your usual size, try it on to check.

For example I'm usually an 8/10 but I saw a size 12 dress reduced from £6 to £3, tried it on and it fitted perfectly.

AgathaMystery Fri 31-Mar-17 09:14:26

I volunteer in a very posh charity shop. I got some BNWT White Company PJs for £6 last month!

My tips are to go into every charity shop you see. I literally cannot walk past one. Ever.

If you are after designer/nice things then you will prob start to notice that some charities are starting to have shops that are much more posh. The shop I work at won't stock any clothes from Next/Primark/H&M etc. Those clothes go to another branch. So try finding a premium shop!

cherrytree63 Fri 31-Mar-17 09:18:04

Nearly all my clothes are from charity shops!
Salvation Army have a loyalty card, they stamp it when you spend £5 or donate a certain amount.
Ten stamps gets you £2 to spend in the shop!
Yes to trying affluent areas. I've been told that Mondays are the best days as WAGS buy new clothes at the weekend and take their old stuff in on Mondays.

Trills Fri 31-Mar-17 09:27:22

I'll second looking at a greater variety of sizes than you usually expect.

Learn what something that fits you looks like, and ignore the label.

getdownshep Fri 31-Mar-17 12:49:45

Nearly everything I have on today is from charity shops. Suede vintage pencil skirt £4 and wool St Michaels jumper £2.
I never spend more than five pounds although I got a pair of Russel and Bromley boots for £10.
I only buy leather, silk, wool or cashmere as I can't afford these in real lifesmile

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: