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Top Blue Vanilla at New Look (similar) | Tapered Trousers St. Gemma’s Hospice Charity Shop | Shoes Primark (similar) | Watch Larsson & Jennings | Basket St. Gemma’s Hospice Charity Shop | Flowers Kate Mell | Photography Matt McCormick

Welcome to the 411 on how you should be charity shopping. There’s so many pre-conceptions about it that it’s time to dispel the myth. “Won’t they smell” (have you ever heard of a washing machine), “Someone probably died in that” (okay, a little grim but pretty sure they didn’t!) “They won’t have anything current” (you’ll be very surprised!) – these are just a few of the misjudged and scathing comments I’ve heard when I’ve told people who something I was wearing was from a charity shop. I think once people get over their repulsion of charity shopping with these handy tips, it might just make you think about your next purchase.

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    I have a nasty habit of picking up a million and one things. Most of which I do not need. If you find yourself in this dilemma (I think this applies to most shopping spree’s actually) head straight to a mirror, hold it up against yourself. Ask yourself, does it suit your skin colour and does it suit you? If you answer “no” to both of those, it does not move on to the next round of elimination. Hold it up so you can take a good look at it away from your body, ask yourself another two simple questions, is this a style you usually wear and finally, do you really, really, really like it when you look at it. If it passes those last questions put it in your basket. It is easy to get blind sided by cheaper prices so don’t let your house end up looking like a jumble sale by buying the whole store. Add a bit of thought process to your purchases.

This is one of the golden rules of charity shopping, chances are, you will find some absolute designer gems by heading to more affluent areas with charity shops. It’s not always a given but if you are happy to shop a little further away from your doorstep or are lucky enough to live in said areas, you will almost certainly find something that will catch your attention. I’ve walked away with many pieces that were originally from Reiss, Hobbs and The White Company to name but a few.

Yep, it sounds crazy but I visit my local charity shops pretty much every day, or every other day. I find these places such treasure troves that I like to make sure I’m not missing anything. You’ll find some stores have changeover days too, so they’ll be a lot more stock hitting the shop floors so try get in the know about which day that is and fingers crossed, you will find something you love!

Things won’t just jump out at you, I mean that would be crazy if clothes could jump, am I right? But seriously, if you wanna do this, you gotta get a little serious. Be ready to rummage through every rail and every rack, because that spectacular piece will be hiding and it will be waiting to be found and if it isn’t you who gets their grubby mitts on it, it’s likely it will fall in to someone elses hands later on!

Okay, this requires a little bit of imagination. Ever find something that’s not quite right? Well, why not buy it and make it right for you. That denim jacket that has some face, dimante applique on it? Pull it off and replace with some super cool patches – they are all the rage at the moment and you’d have a unique outfit that you made with your own fair hands? Paige is a great person to follow for inspiration in this department!

Getting your face known to the staff members and being friendly will only help you along the way. Strike up a conversation, let the team know what style and type of pieces you are looking for and sometimes, if they get something in they might hold it back for you to take a look at before it goes on the shop floor. Remember to be quick though as you don’t want them missing out on a sale, remember this is a charity shop after all and every little helps!

Yep, you heard me. Make sure you always check the housewares section too. I often find really cheap vases for my flowers. I’ve also picked up gorgeous artwork and prints that are still hanging on my living room wall, years later. I feel like they always have more of a story when they come from a charity shop! The cute little basket in these photos was only 99p and will look lovely on my window sill with fresh herbs and mint in it.

A lot of charities are jumping on to the good ol’ vintage fair. Everyone loves the word “vintage” and chances are the items have been picked out because they fit the criteria and have that bit of extra je ne sais quoi about them. St Gemmas Hospice is holding a Vintage Fair in Leeds this weekend which should be worth a punt at – I think there will be some really cool pieces to find!

You have to take it with a pinch of salt. Some days I walk out of the shops with bags full of high-end, designer stuff and other days I come away with zilch which leaves me feeling less than inspired but by not expecting miracles you won’t let it get you down. Just head back another day with a fresh outlook and get rummaging again.

Okay, I even did this once and I still bought something even though it only just fit. And, I mean it just fit (read: I’ll need cutting out of them next time I put them on.) Don’t make the same mistake as I did, you do don’t always need those Whistles, spotty cullottes (ahem.) just because they are £5. Be selective (see point 1) and only buy things that fit you or can be altered for a reasonable price.

and finally,

If you’ve got the bargain of the century, why not slip an extra £1 in the charity jar on the till. Every single penny helps. And also, remember to make regular trips to the charity shops when you have a clear out too. Please tick the gift aid donation box too! That helps them not get taxed by the government which means they get more money from the sales of your donations.

So, have I changed your mind about charity shopping? What’s the best bargain you’ve ever found when you’ve had a rummage in your local charity shop?

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20 comments so far.
  • St. Gemma’s Hospice

    We absolutely love this post Bee! We couldn’t agree more that there is an art to charity shop shopping and think you have covered it all here. Thank you for mentioning us and our Vintage Fair – we hope to see you there! Natalie x

    • I’m so glad you liked it! I wish I could have made it, but sadly, life got in the way. I hope it went well? Do you know when your next one will be?
      Bee xxx

      • St. Gemma’s Hospice

        Our next Vintage Fair is November 11th & 12th! We have four a year so we hope you’ll be able to join us at some point 🙂 You can always find the dates of upcoming fairs on our events calendar x

  • Laura Emilia

    Such great tips! I seem to always find something I love when I visit charity shops, so I’ve never understood why people wouldn’t like visiting them. My current challenge to myself is to not buy anything from the high street and move to buying second hand altogether. So far so good! xx

    Laura // Middle of Adventure

    • Nor do I?! It baffles me. Especially when I find those hidden gems each time. That is such a good challenge, let me know how you get on with it.
      Bee xxx

  • Jess Acorn

    I vary rarely buy clothes from charity shops because I don’t like that they’ve been someone else’s (I’m a bit of a germaphobe!) but I always head to charity shops on the hunt for books, I think it’s much better to buy them from charity shops than usual bookshops

    Jess |

    • Hey Jess,

      Totally get it – just give them a deep wash, on high heat and all should be okay 🙂

      After all, you don’t wash your books do you.

      I think you can pick up some fab books. My local sell them for 50p and I’ve got lost in so many good books thanks to that!

      Bee xxx

  • I’ve never found anything I really like in charity shops, but I love rummaging around in their homewares section! I know some people who have found lots of lovely things in them, so I think I’ve just been unlucky. Like you say, I think it’s a good idea to go regularly, as I think the great stuff goes really quickly x

    Jenny | LuxeStyle

    • Aw that is a shame – have you any other different ones you can go to? I bet you’ll be surprised what you can find when you delve a little deeper. You really do have to make frequent visits in a bid to not miss out.
      Bee xxx

      • The ones close to me are rubbish but we’re moving to a nicer area soon so hopefully I can visit them more often! xx

  • I love this outfit on you Bee!
    I do love a charity shop sometimes, though for me it’s glassware I really love!
    I do like having a scan through the clothes though!
    My friend and her husband had St Gemma’s pins as the wedding day favours as they live near it in Leeds!
    Great post!
    Holly xxx ///
    LATEST ///

    • Aww thank you so much gorgeous. I’m pretty much in love with it too.

      That is such a cute idea! I noticed another charity that did that.

      Bee xxx

  • Sophie

    I haven’t been to a charity shop in years, but going into uni it doesn’t seem like such a bad idea when I’m trying to save money. And I’m definitely going to take these tips with me x

    Sophie’s Spot

    • YES! That would be such a good way to save money, and if you get creative, you could totally make outfits your own.
      Bee xxx

  • I love shopping in Charity shops – you truly can find a bargain, these are great tips. I totally agree with point number 10 though! When things are so reasonable, it’s easy to get carried away and buy things that don’t fit. I’ve picked up way too many things that are too big in the past! At least it all goes to charity. My friend once picked up a Michael Kors dress for £15 in a charity shop in London – bargain!

    Suitcase and Sandals Blog XX

    • It really is, you need to be selective, don’t just buy it cos it’s cheap. Think tactically. You are giving back but you also don’t need lots of tat!
      That is such a bargain. I bet she cherishes that dress.
      Bee xxx

  • Andini Ria

    Such great tips! I really want to get back into charity shopping, found some real gems in the past. Those trousers seem to fit your perfectly, love this outfit and these photos <3

    Andini xx | Adventures of an Anglophile

    • You really can find some bargains. You should get back in to it. And thank you, they were 99p and I wear them all through spring/summer!
      Bee xxx

  • I live a charity shop spree as you never quite know what you’re going to find and often you can pick up some amazing items, even still with tags on!! Alice xxxx

    • I am so with you on that. It’s always such a treasure trove isn’t it. You never know what you are going to find – it makes It all the more exciting!
      Bee xxx



I'm Bee. 27 year old who is finally starting to understand herself. A Scorpio that's too nice to use that sting in her tail, regularly found searching for holidays or online shopping. Happiest when being fed, travelling & spending time with Mr C.






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