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?