Mrs Williams

Charity Shopping!

on 03/04/2012

You may remember that my challenge for lent was not to shop. Well, its been a bit of a failure, and a real reminder to me of how much I buy, and how much I feel I need it. This is a challenge which will go way beyond Lent 2012 as I am challenged to massively reduce what I buy, and seek to find more creative ways to avoid the influences that make me feel i need ‘stuff.’ One of the reasons i’ve failed a bit with the shopping challenge of lent is that we are going to America in 4 weeks, and I have needed to buy gifts for our family over there to make up for Christmases and Birthdays since we saw them last. Whilst this fits into the ‘allowed during lent’ category, going to the shops, or even shopping online has created massive temptation for me. This combined with a mini adult-acne breakout during this lenten time has resulted in me doing some shopping, but just shampoos and make-up stuff, I have managed not to buy any clothes.

One of the things I specified at the beginning of lent was that I could shop in Charity shops. The whole concept of charity shopping sits so much better with me than giving money to the companies who make most of the clothes I like, not only stopping waste, opting out of the mass consumption of high street shopping AND finding a treat from someone elses cast offs, but also giving money to charity. However, the area I lived in up until recently, Shirley in Southampton, had about a million charity shops, but I never found ANYTHING I liked in any of them. So I’d all but given up on charity shops. But we’re off to America in 4 weeks, as I mentioned already, and since the sun has come out, I’ve realised that 3 years of uni has left me with NO summery clothes.

One of the issues is, as much as I wish I was, I’m just not quirky.  I have friends who can pick things up in a charity shop that looks like my great Gran donated it, and can wear it and look like they belong in a fashion magazine. I am not one of these people. I can’t pull off quirky. I also am terrible at accessorizing, I rarely remember to wear jewellry except my wedding ring and a watch, I never wear belts, and I have ONE handbag that I use with every outfit, so when I’m shopping, I need to find stuff that just goes together, without needing any quirkability to pull it off.

Then on Saturday, whilst up in Northampton visiting friends, we went to Olney in Buckinghamshire. Just as we were leaving, we popped into one last charity shop, and it was like a dream come true. Full of clothes I would wear, and set out in a manageable and non-jumble-saley way, I managed to get a skirt and a top for £10. The shop, for anyone who’s interested, was ‘Mercy in Action’  and if I lived any closer it’d have a role as a new regular for me.


The top is a bit odd, as it sort of ties up at the sides, so I’m still not massively sure how I’ll wear that one, but it looks pretty good with skinny jeans so I like it.

THEN, Lucy blogged about some excellent charity shops in Farnham, and my friend Chloe clocked it and suggested we pay it a visit. Cue me frantically writing 1000 words of my dissertation yesterday morning so we could justify a trip. Sadly Lucy lied and said it was in Hampshire when it is in fact in Surrey (to be fair, I had no clue) so it was a bit of a drive BUT, boy was she right about Farnham. Chloe and I had an amazing day in the sunshine wandering from charity shop to charity shop, snubbing our usual favourite shops for these second hand havens and, in every shop, laughing at the staff who invariably got VERY flustered when we wanted to pay by card…note to self, next time CASH!! Then, as if our day couldnt get any better we overheard a woman in one of the shops saying that if you want charity shops, you really ought to check out Godalming. YEAH WE DID, quick drive round Surrey and we found ourselves another little charity shop haunt.

So now I’m SORTED for my holiday, I’ve got a nice selection of bits and pieces, and my total spend for yesterday was £30! Not only that, but I realised the answer to charity shopping…rich people throw out nicer stuff! So if you go somewhere posh like Surrey, rather than scummy Southampton, the stuff in the charity shops is WAY nicer! And finally my charity shop curse is lifted, I can actually buy stuff in them!!

So here’s my excellent finds from yesterday (Cardigan, originally Monsoon, £6. Green top, originally Monsoon £5, Black and White top, originally Dorothy Perkins £4, Brown and Black top (modelled by me) originally Oasis £5, Colourful skirt, originally Bowden £6, Green skirt, my one attempt at ‘quirky’ originally Topshop, £4!)









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