Why Charity Shops?
Charity shops are underrated. I didn't pay them any mind for the longest time, until I started collecting CDs. I realised that if they price all of them at £1, gems might just be hiding in there. Soon enough my collecting expanded into flipping. They were basic £1 to £10 jobs, but they showed me the potential. Then I took more of an interest in the books, and then it all escalated.
Charity shop treasure hunting works because people are constantly giving their things away. Some charity shops are overrun with goods, and they have to redistribute to others. With that quantity of items, there has to be flippable value nestled somewhere within them. Unlike boot sales, you can visit these every day and there's no off-season.
What Should I Look For?
Books. Non-fiction, particularly academic textbooks.
DVDs. Box sets. Foreign language.
Music. Niche genre albums.
Clothes. Designer. Extreme sizes.
Sports equipment. Good condition.
Electronics. Good luck.
Board games. Sealed. BOLOs.
Video games. Sealed. Retro. BOLOs.
How Do They Price Their Items?
Each will depend. Some do things in a very rigid and clear way, especially for media. e.g. £1 per CD, 50p per DVD or 3 for £1 and so on. Most clothes will be individually priced, based on the condition and label.
Charity shops with more time on their hands will price based on second hand eBay values. If your nearest one does this, the expensive option is to move. The less expensive one is to look further afield.
Higher-than-average pricing may not always be an issue though. Just because it's not going to sell for profit on eBay doesn't mean it won't on another marketplace, you may get more for your money on Gumtree, Facebook or Amazon instead.
There is so much opportunity, and you have to have your smartphone at hand to double-check your purchasing decisions beforehand.
Which Charity Shops Should I Go To?
As I discussed previously over at Life of Man, it benefits to find areas where affluent individuals live. People living well undervalue their goods all the time. They might have a stash of their old science textbooks from uni that they can't be bothered to send to Music Magpie. They'll donate designer clothes after wearing them once. They will empty out their lofts and just sling retro toys away.
The particular charity makes a difference too. Oxfam is usually expensive than the rest of the market (although the website has been known to do great 50% sales in the past), and British Heart Foundation has its moments. Luckily, charity shops tend to clump together in town centres, so be sure to explore them all, if you're ever in the mood to dig. There's Salvation Army, Sense, Mind, Sue Ryder, Cancer Research UK, RSPCA, and so many local ones take your pick. Just make sure you plan things wisely.
What Else Do I Need to Know?
- You can ask for deals if you're buying a lot of items
- There's great stuff in the back room
- Make friends with the volunteers
- lol if they charge more than £1.50 for a DVD
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