Woman shopping in charity shop

NLWA's expert gives us the inside scoop on charity shopping

Charity shopping is a great way to pick up some unique and special finds, but it can be a bit of a minefield. From knowing where to look, understanding returns policies or tailoring your search, a bit of experience and insight can go a long way. 

Headshot of a woman called Naomi

Introducing Naomi, North London Waste Authority’s behaviour change officer! She has heaps of experience and nifty tricks that make it easier to find high quality, unique or useful items, while avoiding depleting the earth’s natural resources. She shared some of her top tips with us below!

Naomi says:

  1. Don't go to the charity shops with an exact idea of what you're after, head out with more of an open mind. 

    Think to yourself, I need jeans, a dress or a jumper, instead of a specific style. This also applies to household items, books, accessories etc.
  2. Charity shop shopping can be a fun activity, so I tend to hit up a few in one go. I think when charity shops are clustered together you can find more treasures.

    So do your research in advance and choose a high street with a couple of charity shops close by. Some examples are: Traid, Crisis, Oxfam, Cancer Research, Sue Ryder, Mary’s Living & Giving shops, Shelter Boutique, British Heart Foundation (they have furniture and home shops too), Mind, All Aboard, Marie Curie.

  3. Charity shops offer returns. With limited dressing rooms you can sometimes find yourself in a bit of a pickle if you’re not able to try before you buy. 

    So check with the cashier and find out what the return options are. Usually it's 14 or 28 days. The best thing about this is when you return the items they go back on the rail - not like when you order online, where some returned items end up being chucked out.
  4. Go to charity shops in different areas – you’ll often find a diverse range of styles or types of clothing, depending on the people in the neighbourhood. Some charity shops might have more formal or designer clothing – though sometimes these shops will hike their prices up!
Woman looking through clothes rails in a charity shop
12 June 2024