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Articles > Money November, 21, 2019

Are charity shops worth your time?

Maaria Bhatii
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As an avid shopaholic (yet also a broke student), I have had to cross the road to stop myself entering shops with beautiful clothes, delete emails from my favourite brands, and put the majority of my money into my savings account so I can’t easily access the money for luxury things. Could charity shops be the way forward for me?

Before I moved to uni, I only went to charity shops for the books, barely giving the clothes a second glance. Yet the prominence of charity shops and my introduction to ‘thrifting’ through youtube as well as my uni’s culture, has shifted my view entirely. Some of the clothes in charity shops are so good! Not only do they have such cheap clothes but a lot of the garbage clothes are sifted out so that only the ‘good’ quality remains behind (though there are the occasional yellow armpits and coffee stains). Of course the clothes are still second-hand but sometimes this can be a good thing!

Clothes and shoes have already been broken into and softened for the next owner. Also, a lot of the clothes that do show wear and tear are easily repairable i.e. if there’s a bit of dirt, wash it off! If the pants are too long, fold the ends! If the waist is too big, sew it to fit better!

Many of the clothes in these shops are pretty unique as well. If you have a ‘quirky’ fashion sense, you’ve probably already seen the wonders of charity shops or you just dish out on designer brands who have piggybacked off this thrifting trend. If you’re going for a night out, a formal, or some other fancy event, a lot of charity shops carry great stuff for much cheaper than the original retail price which can really stretch out your maintenance loans. My housemate even got a game console from a charity shop that works perfectly.

Moving away from the more superficial stuff, charity shopping is great for the environment! When you donate/buy from charity shops, it stops a vast amount of perfectly good clothing from going to landfills and reduces waste generally (e.g. plastic, paper and metal). Your carbon footprint is lowered as it stops the waste of energy and resources on the production of new clothes. It helps water preservation, which is extremely high in clothing production e.g. growing 1kg of cotton requires 5,300 gallons of water – this doesn’t even include the processing and printing of the clothing.

This also doesn’t take into account the manufacturing, packaging and transportation. On top of all that, chemical pollution is a big by-product of cotton farming which includes a lot of pesticide use causing soil acidification and water contamination. Textile manufacturing processes also use harmful dyes and crude oil by-products.

If you read the whole thing, congrats! You’re my favourite person ever! Just kidding, but I do think that thrifting is good in so many ways. It’s cheap, accessible, unique and environmentally friendly. What more could you want?! I do hope I have convinced you that charity shops actually are worth your time. Maybe next time you see one, instead of dismissing it, you’ll give it a chance.

Happy thrifting!

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  1. Demi Harwood

    I agree with this post, charity shops are an amazing idea, it helps the environment by not requiring further production, it means you save money whilst supporting a charity and you find unique clothes instead of wearing the same jacket everyone who shops in new look is wearing that season. I used to volunteer in charity shops, they wash, iron, steam the clothes and if they’re bad quality they are thrown away.

  2. Nanna Marge

    No, they supply ppl on benefits

  3. Asiya

    100% agree!
    I purchased 15 tops/dresses for £15 last month from traids charity shop. All of them were from either Zara, Next and H&M hahaha. Love charity shops.

  4. Billy Hendren

    I agree with you 100%
    I’m a big fan of Family Guy, and my dad, who absolutely loves going into charity shops bought me a few DVDs and box sets Which were part of an offer (5 for £1)

  5. Numair Khalid

    I think it’s vital that we pride ourselves in looking through charity shop searching for the best buys. Some items were f clothing are obviously an exception but it’s in fashion lately all the vintage sweatshirts and hoodies that are coming into fashion. In terms of the environment too I couldn’t agree more with the fact that these mass produced clothes have seriously harmful affects on our world.