21 Reasons To Love Charity Shops

1. Old ladies.

Between the staff and the patrons, a healthy proportion of charity shop folk are (generally) cute old ladies. For the most part, they will be so delighted to see someone young that they will either fawn all over you, throwing compliments left, right and centre or tell you exactly how best to sew and alter the clothes. Watch out for the mean ones though, and excuse them, we all have bad days.

2. Cheap clothes.
Perhaps the most obvious but you’re never going to pay more than a tenner, and that’s for a coat. You’d be mad to spend any more.

3. Supporting charity.
Another obvious one – spending a few squids equals more of the charity’s work happening, yay!

4. Gas fights.
Sometimes, but only sometimes, if you’re very lucky you will get to witness two snarly customers fighting over the one garment. Enjoy, until it happens to you.

5. Colour blocking.
Some charity shops place everything of the same colour in the same place which makes it really easy to buy your whole outfit so that it matches and is all the same colour. Obviously joking, but it does help you to filter out those murky grey satin blouses. Ignore and avoid, at all costs.

6. The element of surprise.
You never know what you might find – going through that door in no mood for a trawl through reams of clothes, you just might come out with your new favourite garment.

7. You don’t have to be dolled up in your best Topshop rig out.
Nobody cares how you look in charity shops. I’m not saying we should all look tip-top while shopping high street but we’ve all got “that” look from that overdressed sales assistant; you know the one.

8. It’s not just about the buying. As this list exhaustively reveals.

“Love this, where’s it from?” “Oh, charity shop.” Nonchalance is key.

10. Memories.
I can’t remember most of the times I have bought anything in Topshop, and admittedly, there have been a lot, but you will almost always remember your charity shop times and purchases. For some of the other reasons listed here.

11. Books, books, books.
Just like the clothes, some may freak at the thought of owning a second hand book but frankly I like it. And who has the dosh to be forking out for new releases these days? So long, Easons. Even better if they have a note or inscription, you can have a little imagine about who might have thumbed those pages before they were yours.

12. Junk.
Look around and be glad that you don’t own it. Most of it. Then buy some.

13. Community spirit.
Support local trade! Phibsborough (scoff all you like) has an excellent array of charity shops and is a very nice place for a stroll around.

14. They don’t play horrendously loud “urban” music.
I enjoy it as much as the next person, just not when I’m despairing over the price of that dress you’ll wear once but just need so that you’ll have something new for the next night out. “Miami to Ibiza” in December Topshop, really?

15. They don’t like using electricity.
Hence the dressing rooms are dimly lit, meaning you always look gorge.

16. The bric-a-brac is the best.
Browse that retro crockery and dream about the deadly apartment that you’re definitely going to own in the future because there will be loads of jobs when you graduate.

17. They sell clothes I would describe as pleasantly awkward. Fix them, it’s not that hard.

18. Failures.
Sometimes they can’t be fixed. Or you just can’t make that absolutely massive jumper work. An XXXL does not make you look smaller it would seem, you just appear to be drowning in oversized vintage Nike.

19. They usually come in threes.
Browse all of them in one swoop while you’re in the mood!

20. You could find loads of dosh in a set of curtains.
Remember that? Staff in the Rathmines Barnardos were shocked to find a large sum of cash hidden inside some curtains earlier this year. Granted, the owner of the cash came back and claimed it but you never know…

Everywhere. Not those new slick ones but the best kind, baubles, sparkles and excess wool everywhere. Real geansaís.

Happy shopping!

Claire Healy

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