Shopping Second-hand this Autumn – Blog by Havens Hospices Volunteer Helena Davis

With the world engaged on sustainability, being more eco conscious and making small changes to their lifestyles, I wanted to take the time to talk to you about something really close to my heart, ‘shopping second-hand.’

I was raised by prolific preloved shoppers so it’s not much of a surprise that I have become somewhat of an advocate for buying things second-hand – encouraging others to donate or sell on items they no longer want or use instead of sending them to landfill.

I have fond memories of visiting the local charity shops with my Nana as a child, but if you’d asked me back then I’d have still been praying no one from school saw me stepping into one with her or my Mum. I am beyond pleased to see the teenagers who venture into the Havens Hospices Shop where I volunteer and finding all kinds of unique treasures.

Shopping second-hand isn’t just about being sustainable or eco-conscious. For some, it’s about the thrill of the find, or having a top from the 90’s that no one else has in their closet anymore, or outright just the price point. Whatever the reason, it’s great and we need to do more of it to reduce waste.

Touching on that point, I love finding clothes that are normally out of my price range or from a brand you can’t get your hands on easily and I think this is one of the main reasons I really got into shopping second-hand. It gives me a blank canvas to affordably play with new colours or styles without committing to a second mortgage in the process.

Shopping second-hand is also a great way to support charities – when you shop, you give money to the charity and when you donate you give them the goods to sell to others to generate those imperative funds.

Some of my favourite preloved pieces came from charity shops. For example, a Kemi Telford leopard print skirt that cost me £10 from my local Havens Hospices Shop and I’ve worn repeatedly all spring/summer 2021.

One of the earliest items I ever shared on my Instagram page was a pair of Wonder Woman Converse that I paid £3.50 for in the same shop, and I still adore to this day.

Possibly some of my most exciting finds also came from charity shops – a vintage Yves Saint Laurent handbag for £20, or £3.50 Chloe high heels still in their original box with dust bags. I even support charities online by browsing their eBay or Depop pages, snapping up things like my Nintendo N64 for around £50.

There is something for everyone, no matter what you are looking for, I would welcome the challenge from you to find it second-hand!

So if I’ve got you itching to go and give second-hand shopping a try, here are my top three tips for shopping in your local charity shops:

  • Make a wish list of items you have in mind – don’t be too specific, but things like “Navy blue coat” “White trainers” or “Tan handbag” will keep you on task
  • Check all the sizes – don’t just look at the size 12 rail, check items marked Medium or the sizes either side of yours as different brands can come up generous or small and you might just find something awesome that could work a little oversized
  • Be open minded – you never know what item might catch your eye that you wouldn’t normally try because it’s a daunting colour or style. This is your opportunity to try it for very little outlay and you never know, you might end up loving it!

Helena Davis – Volunteer at Havens Hospice Shop Witham & Preloved/Second-hand/Charity shop blogger @MrsD_Preloved_Finds

We would love to see your second-hand finds, please follow the @HavensHospicesShops Instagram page and use the #HavensShopFinds on your posts

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