Friday, 7 October 2011

One big dress-up box...

“Everything I buy is vintage and smells funny. Maybe that’s why I don’t have a boyfriend.”

Lucy Liu

It all began in the Summer of 2009 when I lived near Ecclesall Road and had very little to do. Essentially, I got fat and bought stuff. But as any Sheffield student knows, one of the best charity shop trails is on Ecclesall Road and I would often partake in a stroll along the Golden Mile and check out the goods. Starting with Cancer Care Trust move on up to my favourite, Marie Curie Cancer Care then on to Help The Aged, cross the road to St Luke’s and back over again for Oxfam. Bosh.

Then it clicked. 

I have lots of free time and I love charity shops. I’m going to volunteer. And before I knew it, I was wondering why I hadn’t decided to do it before. Every Saturday afternoon I would rock up to the charity shop and get ready to find some bloody brilliant stuff. Oh- and for anyone who thinks charity shop work is easy, or not worth it please keep reading. The first thing that really struck me was  just how busy this shop is, sometimes with over 50 bags and boxes of donations being left in one day. The next is just how high the standards are. Two thirds of donated goods are thrown away or ragged, though they still get money for the discarded clothes. Thirdly and most importantly, the people. The two managers, to this day, know exactly what I will like and often save things to one side for me (even though they think I am truly bonkers). They are two of the most patient, thoughtful and downright lovely people I know. Plus we’ve got banter.

It is in this shop where I have purchased some my many second-hand goodies. One of the best best being my Jones’s sewing machine (£3).

All Saints keep your hands off.

The ultimate purchase I have made was 3 bin bags of vintage clothing for a jaw dropping £20. Where I would usually wish I was a size 10 and pretend to wear these items before ragging them, one of fellow volunteers suggested I hoard it all and sell it. So I did, well, I am doing. I have made £84 so far on eBay and I still have bundles to get rid of. There’s a little bit of charity shop guilt, so I’ll give a percentage of the funds back. Check out this dress I sold for £14 that otherwise would have made the rag bin:

My point here is that Charity Shops are incredible. So incredible I’ve given them capital letters. If you have a few spare hours, go and volunteer in your local shop, not just because you’re “doing a good thing” or you feel you should, but because you get the first pick of everything that comes in and you meet loads of really gre-…well you meet people.

Keep tabs.


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