Charity shopping was one of the things I missed most when Ireland went into lockdown. As you all know, I spend an inordinate amount of time browsing and trying on clothes and looking for bargains.
As I moved house just before lockdown, I didn’t even have a chance to visit the charity shops in my new neighbourhood.
So as soon as I heard they were reopening, I was ready to go check them out. Previously, I’d lived on the northside of Dublin and although I’d frequently been charity shopping on the southside, I wasn’t as familiar with its offerings.
My first day back at the shops was a little disappointing as there are strict limits on the numbers that can enter at any one time and I had to queue for a few. Staff were meticulous about reminding customers to use hand sanitiser which was great but like other shops, you can’t try anything on at the moment. I wandered around the shops around Meath Street and Thomas Street but left empty-handed. Not all of the charity shops opened on June 8 so I didn’t get to visit them all.
However, a few weeks later I had a successful thrifting spree in the fantastic Simon Community shop on Thomas Street.
It was a Friday and there were a few customers browsing but I didn’t have to queue. I immediately noticed some great stock, including a beautiful blue Sandro dress.
However, as I couldn’t try things on, I had to judicious about my selections. I spotted a really cute floral Nasty Gal blouse with fringing on the sleeves and back.
It was a size 12 but looked small so I knew it would fit me.
It was new with tags on but was only €7. I’ve already gotten loads of wear out of it which is great!
Using my investigative journalist skills (lol), I found it on the Nasty Gal site and it had been €28 full price so I got it for a quarter of that!
Here I’m wearing it with my favourite Topshop jeans, an old wicker bag I found at home and my Doc Martens.
I also spotted a brand new F&F bra with tags on in my size for €5. The original price was €12.50 so a good bargain!
I know some people wouldn’t even consider buying a bra in a charity shop but this was brand new and I’m trying to avoid buying new where possible.
I was also tempted by a white denim overall dress but when I turned it around, I saw some marks on it so I left it.
When I was going up to the till, I spied an adorable belt with a gold Scottie dog buckle and three little dogs on the side.
On the inside, I saw it was marked real leather in French and I could tell it was really nice quality too.
It didn’t have a price on it but when I brought it up to the till it was €1!
Unfortunately, when I got home, one of the dogs fell off the side but I’m going to find a way to reattach it because it is the cutest belt ever!
My total was €13 and everything fit well. The belt is a little small but I will wear it around my waist with a dress rather than jeans.
I visited again recently and there was even more gorgeous (and new) stuff, including an Urban Outfitters keyhole 90s style top and pleated skirt that I may go back for.
I also nipped into the Vincent’s shop on Meath Street which was closed for longer than the others and I saw a brand new tie-dye print slip skirt from Penneys.
I’d been looking for a slip skirt for ages to wear with Doc Martens. It was a size 12 and still had tags on, originally priced at €14.
I’m a ten but I thought it looked small and as it was only €5, I decided to get it.
It’s ever so slightly large for me in the waist but fits well in the hips. I don’t have any weddings this year thanks to Covid but I may wear it to an upcoming barbeque.
There lots of charity shops in Rathmines but I visited at the start of June when they weren’t all open. Rathmines tends to have some really nice stock compared to the city centre and I admired some skirts in Oxfam but as you couldn’t try anything on, left them behind.
I did pick up a holographic sunglass sleeve for €1 which was great because I lost the one my Ray-Bans came in (typical I know).
I will be back to Rathmines another day for a proper shop.
My blogging pal Ama and I decided to meet up for a charity shop crawl of the Camden Street area which was so much fun. If you can rope a friend into charity shopping, it’s much more enjoyable and also you have someone else’s advice.
We popped into a few of the stores, including Liberty, Enable Ireland and the Irish Cancer Society. Ama was on the hunt for a formal bag and struck gold – we saw a beautiful pink Karen Millen bag that was in excellent condition. It was €15 and in really good nick so she was delighted with it.
I was tempted by a gorgeous Zara long skirt and a real leather Tommy Hilfiger 90s style one with a slight side split.
But the Zara was too small and the Tommy Hilfiger one had a damaged zip so I reluctantly left them behind.
Ama was a good companion for charity shopping as she reminded me I didn’t need more skirts anyway! Check out her blog here.
I spied a Humans of New York book for €10 that I was very tempted to buy but I had no cash and the shop didn’t have a card machine. Now, I’ve noticed a lot of more charity shops take card these days but it’s still worth bringing cash in case they don’t.
Instead I merely bought a few wooden clip hangers for a mere 10 cent each as I don’t have enough at home for the giant skirt collection!
You can’t try on clothes at the moment so only buy something if you’re pretty sure it’ll fit and check if it’s possible to exchange if not. I know some stores are offering exchanges at the moment because of this.
Bring cash and cards, some charity shops still don’t have card machines.
Be prepared to queue, most charity shops are quite small and have strict limits on the number of people who can come in. I’ve never had to queue longer than five minutes for any of them but some may be very busy.
Wear a mask and use hand sanitiser – every shop I’ve been to have been asking people to sanitise their hands which is great to see.
And finally – be patient and don’t give the staff hassle, remember the charity shops took a massive hit when they closed and are only getting back on their feet now. So, don’t haggle with the staff and be respectful.