Our junk shop Christmas

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One mans trash is another mans treasure!

This year I’ve convinced my family to try a new challenge with me. Instead of buying brand new presents we’re buying our gifts second hand!

Christmas is a teeny weeny bit of consumer driven madness don’t you think?. I mean I love it, I really really do, but there just always seems to be for me anyway a big ugly Christmas hangover. Not just from the alcohol and sugar but from the mindless buying. Last year all that was left after the turkey, chocolate and wine was a deep sense of guilt. Guilt that everything our family bought wasn’t really needed. Guilt that my savings had taken a hit and guilt that my parents and sister had spent their money on stuff for me that I didn’t really need. 

I thought I’d write a little guide as to how it works just in case you fancied going second hand sifting this year too. Here’s my why’s, how’s and where’s of Christmas bargain bagging.

Why shop second-hand?

  • Used items are nearly always cheaper.

  • You can find some high quality stuff.

  • The carbon footprint is nearly zero considering it’s already been consumed.

  • It’s amazing how many items you find in charity shops with the label still attached!

  • If buying from a charity shop your money has gone to a better place! I mean who wants to line the pockets of Phillip Green?

  • Your items have a story. They’ve already been of use to someone else before they’ve met you. What a helpful item!

  • The gift hunt is quite fun! You never know what you’re going to find!

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Where to shop second-hand?

  • Charity shops – My sneaky top tip with charity shopping is to head to where the money is! Who wants second-hand Primarni from the local heart foundation when you can make a weekend of it and head to Harrogate for some used L.K.Bennet? Do not despair if you’ve only got time for the local high street. There are plenty of hidden gems in most charity shops.

  • Facebook – Keep your eyes peeled for things popping up on Facebook Marketplace. It’s best to search locally and don’t be specific on items, you never know what you’ll find.

  • eBay, Gumtree etc. These are useful if you’re looking for something specific. They can be more expensive than the local charity shops and the rush of eBay bidding is highly addictive! (Last year after a £250 Paypal bill later and a room full of used stuff from The White Company I realised I needed to curb the Ebay fun.)

  • Antiques shops – Not for the faint hearted, items can be rather pricey. There are some pretty good ones out there you just have to find them.

How to shop second-hand?

  • What to do if you don’t like a second hand gift you’ve received or it doesn’t fit? Donate it back to charity! Both you and the buyer have done a nice thing that you can feel good about.

  • Never head out with a specific item in mind. You’ll only be disappointed

  • Be willing to give things a spruce up.

  • Wash and clean whatever you bring home.

  • Be prepared to find loads of things for yourself! Especially if you’re looking for gifts for others. Sod’s law.

  • If you’ve got size 8 feet like me you won’t find many shoes, likewise trousers can be tricky if you’re tall, small or oddly shaped.

  • Stick to jumpers, tops and coats if you’re buying for others and can’t try on.

  • I’m sorry but it is never acceptable to buy second hand bedding or underwear! Somethings you have to buy new!

Written with love

Old Mother Hubbard