Incorporating the Simple Living Review, the Preparedness & Self-Reliance Review, as well as the Outdoor & Survival Review

Buying from Thrift Store and Charity Shop

Too many people think that they
HAVE TO HAVE this or that new.


Charity Shops, for instance, does not always mean that the things are post-consumer, that is to say that they have been used before. Many items that I have bought there for very little money were brand-new with their tags still in place. It is also now, it would seem, once again, becoming fashionable to buy at the likes of Oxfam and other Charity Shops, very much like it was in the late 70's, when it was also fashionable to wear military surplus and buy used – advertise as such – at the American store “Flip Clothing” in London.

However, I'd rather go to a store that is run for a good cause (yes, some of the money ends up in overheads, and I know that the goods are donated to the stores) than to go to the likes of “Flip” (don't even know whether they still exist). At least some of my money that I pay for the good that I buy goes to a good cause, unlike at the commercial secondhand stores.

I must say that I spend a lot of time and also money – but then it does go to a good cause – in such Charity Shops, especially as I do not have a TV and in order to relax I read. This is where Charity Shops come into their own with their books section and I have even found some books there being signed first editions and others that I had wanted to obtain for review for one or the other magazine I edit, such as one particular one about the Gypsies in the South of France. I paid less for it – well, near enough – then probably the postage would have been to send a letter to the publisher to ask for a copy for review. I must admit I am awful with books, I buy them by the ton, but then again this way the go to a good home – mine – where they will be read and often used further as reference, instead of ending up in a landfill site. Because, let's face it, not enough people even think of passing their read book on to another outlet so they can be read again (and again) by someone.

As far as clothes are concerned the only thing I do not purchase are Charity Shops is underwear and socks. I even buy footwear there most of the time but then ensuring that it is little or not worn, and often real bargains can be had.

Only the other day I bought a pair of lovely “Transport-brand” boots for £5 the pair and they are nearly new. If they have been worn then by a security officer, the are a patrol-kind boot, indoors.

The Simple Living Review would like to encourage people instead of buying new all the time to actually buy their clothes (and other items) used, often they are even new or as new, at Charity Shops, such as Oxfam, Save the Children, Cancer Research, for, while you are getting a bargain you are supporting a good cause. Our advice here goes even further then that is to use, ideally, more so even those Charity Shops that support local causes, such as in the North-East Surrey area where we are based, the St Raphael's Hospice Shops and those of the Children's Trust. Think local!

While there certainly are worthy causes in the Charity Shop realm – all of them in the main – it would be much better if we would support our local charities and their shops before we would the big national and even international ones. Think local!

© Michael Smith (Veshengro), January 2008

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