Charity shops and their sustainable treasures have exploded in popularity over the last while. For those who want to be the best-dressed while on a budget, here are some tips and tricks to help you find the perfect fit.


Check everywhere

Check all sections- men’s, women’s homeware, books etc. You never know what you might find; the bargains are endless and varied. So many people only look for clothes, but charity shops are also wonderful places to go if you’re looking to furnish a new house. A friend of mine recently nabbed a print worth upwards of 40 euro for a fiver in his local.

Make a list

Make and maintain a list of what you want. The wide variety of items can be distracting one you get in store and it can be easy to lose track of what you’re looking for. Charity shops are often slow burners, but more often than not it’s worth the wait for that killer outfit.

Bring a friend

Ask a friend to tag along and help you browse. So many of my best charity shop buys have been found by someone else for me. Two pairs of eyes are definitely better than one – just don’t bring too many people as they might snap up all the bargains.

Bring cash 

Depending on the locale, some charity shops won’t accept card, and there’s nothing worse than having to leave the perfect vintage dress behind in the store.

Location, location, location

Go local! With the recent market for vintage fashions some of the bigger, city-centre-based shops have hiked up the prices on their vintage-looking items. The best way to avoid this is to go to charity shops in smaller areas: my rural hometown has a couple of reliable ones that are barely ever frequented and stuffed with bargains.

It goes without saying that areas with multiple charity shops are worth visiting. More shops = more donations = more variety.

Wash everything

Always wash the clothes you buy. Most charity shops will do this when they receive donations, but it’s always good to make sure, especially in the current climate.


Charity shops are brimming with potential, but some of the items often come with little stains or damages that can’t be removed. Learning to upcycle will transform your shopping experience. If you like the fabric of a dress but not the shape, why not cut it up and sew it into a matching top and dress? Jeans can be turned into shorts, pillowcases into hairbands: the possibilities are endless. All you need is a sewing machine and a will to learn.


Give up

Don’t get disheartened if you don’t find what you want on the first go! You’ll soon get to know the best places around you for different items. It’s worth befriending the in-store volunteers, as you can even ask them to keep an eye out for you for a particular something.

Forget to give back

Make sure you donate your old clothes to your local charity shops. What’s not to love about giving back and supporting a good cause?

Check out Thriftify for all your online charity shopping needs.

Learn how to be more eco friendly with your wardrobe here.