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Thrift Shopping: Yay or Nay?

One SpunOutter writes about charity shop finds and thrift shopping

Written by Lisa Brennan and posted in opinion

This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for please contact

"My research showed a pair of jeans averaging to cost five to six euro"

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The number of Irish people shopping in charity shops is steadily on the rise, and who can blame them in our current economic state?

In March 2013, unemployment was calculated to be 14.1% - a truly shocking statistic. Yet I cannot help but wonder why more of us didn't shop in thrift shops during the Celtic Tiger. My mother and I often engaged in shopping trips whereby we sought a grand quantity of books, clothes and toys for no more than fifteen euro.

Perhaps it's the stigma that comes hand in hand with second-hand goods. But are the Irish population still feeling that stigma? And more importantly, can we afford to anymore? There are numerous advantages that come with visiting charity shops on a regular basis, the blatantly obvious one being the highly economical prices.

My research showed a pair of jeans averaging to cost five to six euro, and some good coats could be bought for little more. Books for all ages and children's toys are wonderfully affordable, and a variety of designer goods are often donated. Clearly, we as a nation can no longer afford to enter the likes of Brown Thomas and leave with a full outfit, but we can still remain stylish by mixing sale items, Penneys’ clothes and thrift shop garments.

Sure if it's good enough for Macklemore...

My own aunt once got a full outfit for a wedding in Oxfam, shoes and all! A maybe not so obvious advantage is the beautiful antiques that one can find in the vast majority of said stores. These range from fine china sets to cutlery and from masonry to ornaments. These may not be appealing to young people, but they sure do make fantastic presents for parents birthdays and, of course, Mother’s day and Father’s day. If you're worried about eating with cutlery and plates, you can always sterilize them when you bring them home.

We are continuously encouraged to give to the poor and help the less fortunate. Some people seem to be unaware of the fact that this doesn't have to be donating money. You can clear your wardrobe, bedroom and rid yourself of dust collecting piles of old schoolbooks for free whilst simultaneously aiding the life of somebody else by donating.

One no longer must face the direst torment of paying atrocious fee's contributing to landfill and incineration levels. This supports the trend of reduce, reuse and recycle so it's a real pleaser with environment conscience individuals. And can you see the bonuses adding up yet? All that new space in your wardrobe and bedroom makes room for new clothes!

I recently bought twelve books from the Darren Shan collection for five euro in a thrift shop in Kilkenny. It's safe to say it provided reading material to last me for the summer. Earlier that day I began my search for a pair of black converse. I was willing to pay up to and including fifty euro for said shoes, and found a perfect pair in a local store. I tried them on and discovered to my dismay that they were only available in the size above mine.

I was raging and it failed me to find the same trainers for a reasonable price anywhere else. Until I tried the same charity shop. It was my lucky day and I found the same pair, but in my size, for twelve euro. I didn't even try them on; I just paid and left the shop with the biggest smile on my face! My personal experience of charity shops has been absolutely incredible. I highly recommend you try it out!

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Published July 23rd, 2013
Last updated October 27th, 2015
Tags thrift shopping shopping charity
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