There is literally nothing better than the euphoric feeling of satisfaction upon discovering a rare gem nestled in the back of a rail of old clothes forgotten about for many years.
Hi, I’m Katie. And I have a Charity Shop Problem.
It all started about 7 years ago, when I first moved to Phibsboro AKA Charity Shop Heaven. Until this time I had been naive (but broke) and felt that Charity Shops were nothing more than rubbish bins with a shop front, filled with useless tat and dead people’s suits.
While most charity shops do carry quite a large selection of the aforementioned, many now also stock large amounts of good quality, vintage and even designer clothes and accessories. Many a day have I danced through Phibsboro, having discovered a pair of never worn Converse, or Adidas Hi Tops. Ahh the sweet sweet taste of victory.
So, me being the generous one, I have decided to share some of my charity shop secrets with all you lovelies out there. I will bestow upon you all my knowledge of tricks I have learnt, and of course, what not to do (ie: buy everything you see)
1: Be patient
This is by far the single most important rule of charity shopping. There will be times where you find absolutely nothing. There are good days and bad. Good things come to those who wait. It may take a few trips to find something really special. Sometimes people (I know who you are)will attempt to hide the best things behind that horrific tweed jacket. This is all part of the game. Finders keepers, after all.
2: Don’t be put off by the colour co-ordinated rails or general disarray.
Yes, ok, looking at a huge see of mauve isn’t exactly anyone’s idea of fun. I personally despise the fact that most charity shops seem to love colour co-ordinating everything, greens on one rail, blacks on the other. I think skirts should go with skirts, jackets with jackets and so on and so forth. Don’t disregard one section just because you don’t like the colour. Sometimes items get mixed up and you may even find a blue mixed in with a turquoise (the horror).
3: Look in the guys section
I have found several great hoodies in the male section. A Small in Mens is like a Large in Ladies. However, the male section always tends to be about a tenth of the size of the ladies section. (Guys wear their clothes until they fall apart and then their Ma/girlfriend/wife will buy them more). So unfortunately for the gentlemen bargain hunters out there, the selection may be slightly limited, unless you fancy wearing a skirt (and who am I to judge).
4: Go to Charity Shops in posh areas
Sometimes when Phisboro won’t cut it anymore I brave the Southside and head over to Camden St and Rathmines where a plethora of bargains await. Here you may even find that perfect vintage designer dress for a fraction of the price.
5: Check the labels
This may seem like common knowledge to you but I have been stung several times buying a Penneys Tshirt for a 5er and then realising it only cost €4 brand new from Penneys. The entire reason I go to Charity shops is to get a bargain(oh and uh.. helping people and all that). This can actually happen very frequently ; charity shops are full of Penneys attire because people throw them out as quickly as they buy them.
6: Ask for assistance
For the most part, the people working in Charity are volunteers or on CE schemes, and tend to be a lovely helpful bunch altogether. So don’t be afraid to ask about the window display (they usually have a certain date that the items will be for sale), or any other questions. More often than not they are happy to help.
7: The best days are weekday mornings
Yes I know this is literally impossible for those of us poor suckers who are in work. But if you ever get a day off, I recommend hitting the charity shops as early as possible. I only really get to venture out on Saturdays or in the evening and a lot of the best stuff is gone by then. Saturday afternoon = Charity Shop Hell. Literally dozens of people squished into a tiny area frantically grabbing everything in sight. NO. Also, most Charity Shops aren’t open on a Sunday(FYI)
The days of being embarrassed that your dress came from a charity shop are long gone.I now proudly adorn my brand new Doc Martens, bought for a fraction of the price. It is with a great sense of pride I disclose the miniscule price of my River Island dress. There is no shame in a bargain anymore.
It is thrill like no other, the crack of clothes shopping if you will. However, you may want to make sure you have space for all said bargains. My bed room looks like a charity exploded in it and my addiction grows by the day.