Sunday, 8 March 2015

Making Second Hand Work For You.

For quite a few years now, I've been a bit of a charity shop junkie. It helps that my business requires me to regularly be on the hunt for new stock, and often charity shops are my destination of choice. It means that over half my wardrobe and probably over half my house was found in charity shops, and it used to be a lot more than that until I started buying a few new pieces. So across the way I've learnt a few tips to make second hand really work well for you.

K E E P  A N  O P E N  M I N D
This is probably the most important point for me. You can't walk into a charity shop the way you can with a high street store, with a particular thing in mind and expect to find it every time. Of course you can have a wishlist, but it may take several attempts, or even months, to get what you're after. You should also keep an open mind with what you do find available; love a candlestick holder but hate the colour? A gorgeous blouse but it's a little too big? Both those items can be easily altered and revamped if you're willing to put in a little effort.

V I S I T  O F T E N
I manage to get pretty good stuff every time because I visit several charity shops at least once a week, and go to the same towns that I know work for me every few weeks. Don't expect to go once every six months and leave everytime with lots of goodies, you need to put the effort in. I'd also recommend visiting perhaps mid week on a Tuesday or Thursday; if you get in first thing Monday morning the chances are they haven't managed to restock after the weekend. Also, look out for vintage, antique or junk shops in your local area.

D O N ' T  B E  A F R A I D  T O  R U M M A G E
Charity shop workers are crazy people who like to proudly display all the latest Primark dresses but hide away all the good stuff thinking no-one will be interested in it. Purses and bags are often shoved into big baskets, the same with bargain bins, so have a little dig around and you might find something perfect.

A S K !
Most stores do have stock in the back that they don't have room for yet, so if you are desperate for a new chair or something specific, there's no harm in asking. I've asked before and have been invited to rummage around in the back, leaving with some buys whereas I otherwise would have left empty handed.

L O O K  O N L I N E
Of course, second hand isn't all about charity shops. A lot of fantastic furniture can be found on Ebay, Gumtree, Preloved, or even Freecycle. Keep certain pages bookmarked and check back every day or so to see what new has been added.

Do you buy second hand clothes and homewares? What are your tips?

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  1. Talisa Lauren Tossell11:59

    Keeping an open mind is the biggest point!


  2. Great tips! I love a good rummage through charity and second hand shops - have found so many gorgeous vintage pieces that I wouldn't have found anywhere else and at such bargain prices! x

    Evelyn @ We Were Raised By Wolves

  3. What a great post! I used to thrift shop a lot, & found a ton of old cameras & cool clothes that way. I haven't in a while, mainly because I don't have as much time, but this really made me want to. I think your tips are fabulous, & especially love the first one: I actually get excited by the possibility of alteration, of doing something really unique with a piece.

    Sofia |

  4. Having a good rummage often does uncover the real gems, I agree. I need to make more time for having a look around, I used to go all the time xx

  5. This is such a great post. I completely agree with eBay - you can find some gems on there!
    Elise @ Elise Dopson

  6. I'm forever window shopping charity shops for my hypothetical house, I feel the need to not just have Ikea flatpack everything.

    I used to volunteer in a charity shop and they always had more clothes than they could put out, definitely worth a rummage and a chat with a sales chap x

    Amy / srslylou

  7. Laura Rose21:53

    I love hunting in charity shops! there's a great one near my house and I got 4 chairs for £20 that were just like some John Lewis ones at £80 each! great post!

    Rose and Weston x

  8. I do love a good rummage, yet I never find a thing. Think I must be doing it wrong haha. Might have to stick to online!

    Annabel ♥
    Mascara & Maltesers

  9. Anna09:47

    in love witht this room :) I never buy on those places but I've always wanted to!! in Spain there are not so many places tho...

  10. I need to get back into the swing of visiting charity shops more. Great post :)

    Have a great day,

    Ashleigh x

    Being Ashleigh - Lifestyle and Fashion blog ♡

  11. Great guide - online is such an amazing place to look.

    Lizzie Dripping

  12. I definitely agree with your points. Its not as simple as a regular shopping experience but you can find such standout pieces if you're patient enough.


  13. Such awesome tips. I definitely lake in patience, need to try again! x
    Madeleine, The Daily Mark

  14. Thanks Madeleine, glad you enjoyed it :)

  15. Absolutely! It does take a lot of patience, but I've found such great items with just a bit of persistance.

  16. Thanks Ashleigh, glad you enjoyed it!

  17. Aaaah that's a shame! I'm sure there's some good vintage shops dotted around though.

  18. Aaaah that's a shame! Yeah online is great if your local or relatively local shops aren't fantastic.

  19. Aaaah that's amazing! I think my best buy was probably a vintage Ercol chair for £17, it would be at least £200 on ebay!

  20. Yeah, I love IKEA but it is nice to have a good mix of old and new!

  21. Thanks Elise, glad you enjoyed it :)

  22. You should, but I'm definitely lucky that my work requires me to always be in and out of vintage, second hand and charity shops!

  23. Thanks Sofia! I haven't been doing much clothes alteration recently but I have just bought an old vintage trolley that I need to revamp and turn into a bar cart :)

  24. Thanks Evelyn! Exactly right, there's no better feeling than finding a really great bargain.

  25. Love this! I find so many pieces that are dupes for what is on the high street in charity shops

    Charlotte - styleaked

  26. Great tips! I've had a few rummages in the back rooms of charity shops before (with permission, I didn't just sneak in, ha ha) and found some great bits! x

  27. Yeah absolutely, new furniture styles are usually inspired by certain eras, so finding the original is usually going to be better made and save you some pennies, too!

  28. Haha, I always have a good stare in to see if I can spot anything, hoping they'll invite me back!


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