How to find cheap designer clothes at charity shops & thrift stores

If like me you can’t resist a bargain when it comes to fashion, then a charity shop or two will have you feeling like a kid in a candy shop!

But lots of people I know (like my long-suffering boyfriend, George) won’t even step foot in one because they either:

  • A) don’t get the appeal
  • B) find it all a bit too much and don’t want to ‘waste time’ routing through everything.

I get it, it’s pretty hectic in there. But it’s all about knowing where to look and how to find the best charity shop stuff.

This is where I pick up most of my items to flip on eBay so trust me, I’ve done my homework on this one.

There are loads of charity shops on every high street and mine are always busy and I constantly see people donating, so there are tonnes of bargains to be had.

So no excuses…

Here are some of my top tips!

1.  Be prepared to rummage

Go with the intention of being prepared to sift through a lot of items before you find something you like.

Like I said, this is the part most people don’t like.

BUT… if you go in with the expectation and get stuck into those rails, you might just surprise yourself with what you find.

Think of it kind of like TK Maxx but for preloved treats.

I don’t know about you, but I love it when I find a little gem that’s been left by someone else!

2. Be on the lookout for charity shop sales

That’s right, even charity shops have sales!

They’ll sometimes have full-on half price off everything sales or have rails where everything is reduced to £1.

These are rare so when you do see one, make sure you take full advantage and swipe all the bargains.

They often advertise these in windows so keep your eyes peeled.

BONUS TIP – follow your favourite local charity shops on social media, as they announce events like ‘fill your bag for £1’ – so exciting!

Be sure to triple check your items, there is often a reason why they are in the sale.

Which brings me to my next point…

3. Don’t overlook ‘sad’ looking items in charity shops

By sad I mean those jackets missing a button or tops with a few makeup marks.

If you’re handy with a needle and thread or don’t mind giving your items a good scrub and some TLC, then charity shops will be a little goldmine for you.

4. Go at different times of the day

Different charity shops will have varying times where they restock the shelves and start reducing items so try alternative times each time you go to get a good idea of when they bring out the best stuff at the best price.

5. Explore different charity shop locations

You might think going to a posh area is better because they’re more likely to have designer goods, but these will probably be priced a lot higher.

In Surrey, Guildford charity shop prices are way higher than surrounding areas.

I saw a Whistles dress in there for £50!

So I tend to opt for areas in Hampshire like Aldershot or Farnborough and Basingstoke.

Broadening your horizons when it comes to charity shop hunting is definitely the way to go.

6. Don’t write off stuff without tags

I’m talking about both original tags and charity shop tags.

Items without tags could be worth a lot more, so don’t dismiss it if you can’t instantly recognise the brand.

Go digging for the washing label to find your brand and also look for 100% cotton, silk, and other quality fabrics.

Sometimes charity shops also accidentally forget to label certain items, but don’t rule these out either.

I’ve been to a couple of charity shops where they’ve given me an item for free!

I once got a Cath Kidston purse because it had been put on the shelf without a price label.

Now, don’t base your entire charity shopping experience around finding freebies, because you’ll be disappointed.

Not only are these rare occurrences, but sometimes the volunteers will label it in front of you when you point it out.

It does feel good when you find one, though!

7. Take your own bags to save time & money

I mention this one because some charity shops have started to charge for bags in my local area.

Yeah, it doesn’t cost a fortune but it all adds up if you’re going to multiple charity shops.

Even if they give out bags for free, they can get a bit aggy over giving away the nice big bags.

It can also take longer for them to bag stuff up, which can delay you moving on to your next charity shop to find more bargains!

I just find it’s easier to take my own and it means I can keep things nice and fairly organised for when I get them home to either wash and wear myself or photograph and sell on.

Extra tip! Never put it down

If you’re pondering a purchase, no doubt there will be someone sniffing around behind you waiting to inspect what you’re looking at.

Only put it back if you’re 100% sure you don’t want it.

Remember it’s ok to return stuff too, which is much better than FOMO on that bargain dress!

Final thoughts on charity shop bargains

Hopefully, I’ve convinced you to give charty shops a try.

Like I said, give it a go, find some fab bargains and have fun shopping guilt-free!

What’s the best charity shop bargain you’ve ever got? Let me know in the comments…


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