As some of you may know I love, love, LOVE bargain hunting. So I thought I would share my top tips for finding those hidden gems when you are shopping in a charity shop.
1. Make sure you have enough time to have a good rummage. It can take upwards of 45 minutes (depending on the size of the store) to have a proper look through all the rails.
2. Most shops put out new stock on a daily basis. Mondays in particular are great for new stock as all the items donated over the weekend will have been processed and be ready to hit the shop floor. Mornings are probably your best time to grab the goodies – after 10 am but before the lunchtime rush.
3. Make friends with the staff/volunteers who work in these shops. Get to know them and more importantly, let them get to know you. You may find that they start to put things aside for you that you could otherwise have missed.
4. 50p baskets can be gold mines. You never know what you might find in there. Chances are you will have to elbow your way to the front but it’s worth it, I promise. Recently I have found an abundance of Yankee Candles, Soap & Glory Minatures (brand new), an Emma Bridgewater tin & photo album and perhaps the bargain of the century – a gents Terre D’Hermes deoderant spray which retails at around £20-25!
5. Talk to the sales assistants. The good ones (you will quickly realise who they are) will know their stock and will be able to point you in the direction of the designer labels, the sale rails and any other items of interest.
6. For every item you purchase donate one back. If you buy a book, hand one you have already read back into the shop. Changing the accessories in your living room? Donate your old items. It reduces your guilt over spending money you probably shouldn’t, keeps your clutter to a minimum and it’ll help raise more money for the charity – win win!
7. High quality jewellery/homeware items are usually kept in the glass cases either within the counter or free standing. These may be locked but don’t be afraid to ask to see anything, the person at the till will be able to open them for you.
8. Try before you buy. Most charity shops now have an in store changing room allowing you to test run you items before you take them home. However, if you do buy something and later change your mind you should be able to return it to the store for a full refund as long as you keep your receipt. Double check in store for the returns policy.
9. If you are looking for something in particular and don’t see it on the shop floor just ask. Charity shops are not like other retail shops in the respect that all of their stock isn’t on the floor at any one time. They are constantly receiving donations of new items so there always products waiting to be processed – what you’re looking for could be one of them!
10. Not all the items in charity shops are second hand. There are a lot of brand new items in there too. Some charities receive end of line stock from retailers such as Tesco and TK Maxx. This stuff is still has the original tickets and can be from high end designers, I’ve seen Vera Wang, Ralph Lauren and Michael Kors to name a few.
So there you have it, my top tips. Once you get the hang of it shopping in charity shops can be great fun and extremely rewarding. You can find exactly what you’ve been looking for and you’ve supported a charity in the process. Surely that can’t be bad?
What is your top tip for shopping in charity shops? Let me know in the comments.