Do you sell or give away unwanted items?

I guess this question is sort of the reverse of what this blog is about. That is I have been trying to chronicle my love of all things that are acquired second-hand. This can be from charity shops, jumble sales, or online sites such as Freecycle or Freegle.

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A beautiful pile of clothes recently given to us by a friend

But when people are generous enough to donate their unwanted items to these outlets does it go against ‘second-hand etiquette’ to sell these things at a later date?

I previously posted here about my failed attempts at online selling, through both Ebay (selling a maternity dress for 99p) and local facebook sites.   The inspirational Annie from Kinder by the Day  recently blogged about Random Acts of Kindness that are free to do. One of them was letting people get a bargain on Ebay, which is a refreshing alternative to the drive to make a profit from selling on this site.

With three daughters I am the lucky recipient of bags of clothes from friends. Those items that are not needed are passed onto others, given to charity shops or donated through clothing banks. A friend recently gave us some beautiful clothes from Joules and Monsoon. Because I know she is a very generous person, and to save the embarassment of a conversation about giving her some money for them, I texted her later to say I’d made a small donation to Save the Children as a roundabout way of saying thank you.

Yet as I write I am also attempting to sell some good quality  clothes that were given as gifts, and the girls have now outgrown. As it didn’t cost me anything to buy these clothes is it right that I try to make money from selling them? I am also going against my previous promises and planning to keep any money I make.

Yet a recent trip to Bath showed that charity shops in the city are looking for stock, and they are not the only ones (see here). With easy access to online selling sites and so many of us strapped for cash is it right that we overlook these outlets when getting rid of unwanted items? Or should we all be doing our bit to complete the circle and make sure that when we purchase from them we also donate?

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Second-Hand Shopping in Bath (Part Two)

As promised – a while ago – here is the (shorter) Part Two of shopping in Bath.

This week, now that the children are back at school, I took myself off to Bath. I shouldn’t have bought anything but I seemed to come home with a couple of new (to me) purchases.

The first item I bought was from the Dorothy House shop on Argyle Street (previously posted about here).  A few months ago I bought a gorgeous burgundy sleeveless dress from this shop and then proceeded to shrink it as I hadn’t read the label! Well I encountered another burgundy coloured pinafore dress (originally from Next) and found myself buying it. This time I’m going to check the label!

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On this tour of Bath I headed towards Milsom Street (Bath’s central shopping street, north of the new Southgate Shopping Centre and home of Jollys department store and a few more upmarket boutiques). At the top of Milsom Street it joins George Street. On the left hand side of this street are two charity shop gems.

The first is the Shaw Trust shop. This charity helps people with disabilities enter the world of work. It has  shops throughout England and Wales and even has its own ebay shop. It also has a small range of garden shops (my nearest one is in Trowbridge where I’ve picked up plants at good prices). The Shaw Trust shop in Bath used to have a vintage rail, long before other local charity shops created their own vintage areas. In the past I have picked up very reasonably priced trousers by Donna Karan and Ralph Lauren from here. Alas, the vintage rail is no longer here and I’m not so sure that the wealthy of Bath are donating to this store as much. In fact the window display highlighted the need for donations: a theme that was echoed in many of the other charity shops I visited, as well as vacancies for volunteer help.

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On this week’s visit to the shop I had one of those Shopping Moments where a) you see something that screams to you ‘buy me’, b) you try it on, it fits perfectly and – despite the price and all sense – you buy it. In this case, even though I wasn’t looking for one, I came home with a brand new orange swing coat (originally from Sainsburys Tu range). Even the thought of wearing it with the new burgundy pinafore makes me smile…

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After I’d given myself a good talking to about not buying stuff I don’t need  (even if it is second-hand) I popped next door to the Oxfam Boutique,  located on the corner of George Street and Gay Street. This Oxfam store transformed into a Boutique a few years ago, showcasing high-end, good quality clothing and, at one time, one-off recycled designs created by local fashion students. There are Oxfam Boutiques in half a dozen locations around the country and it seems to fit in perfectly with Bath. The interior of the shop, with its ample space and Georgian features, make browsing a pleasant experience. I have yet to find something that I really like – or can afford – here but it’s always worth a look.

One more high end second-hand shop in Bath that is worth mentioning is downhill from Gay Street.  Just off Queen Square and down the quaint cobbled street that is Queen Street is Scarlet Vintage. This second-hand clothing shop buys and sells some beautiful clothes. The prices are out of my range but it is a gorgeous shop and in such a lovely setting.

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Back on the main shopping route is Westgate Street, home to the last two charity shops I want to mention. The Cancer Research Shop has a good selection of clothing, some bric a brac and a small book and record section. Having recently acquired a record player I’m on the lookout for second-hand vinyl.

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Across the road is the PDSA shop, a smaller charity shop that is worth stopping by.

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The one shop that I havent featured in the second part of this store is the only charity shop that is located close by the new Southgate shopping Centre in Bath. The Oxfam Book Shop is a treasure trove of second hand books, including rare editions, and vinyl. As I begin my search for second-hand LPs I am sure I will be posting more on this shop and similar ones in Bath in the future.

Apologies if there are any other second-hand city-centre shops that I have missed. If you do get the chance to explore other areas of Bath I would highly recommend Widcombe (just south of the river and a short walk from the Railway Station: there are a couple of second-hand clothing shops here), Larkhall (a thriving area to the east of the city with some great independent stores and the Mercy in Action charity shop) and Moorland Road/Oldfield Park to the south (home to a couple of charity shops).

Well that has exhausted the shoe leather – hope this guide (and the first part) are of interest but do let me know if there are any other gems I have missed.

Second-Hand Shopping in Bath (Part One)

Bath is great for shopping (even Jane Austen thought so) but I prefer the second-hand sort, rather than department stores and overpriced boutiques. As it’s my nearest shopping centre I tend to visit quite a lot and so hope this will be the first of a couple of posts on charity shopping in Bath city centre, and beyond.  I recently took a morning off from being a mum and travelled into Bath to explore Walcot Street, Broad Street and Pulteney Bridge/Argyle Street.

Walcot Street is know as the arty bit of Bath and there are lots of independent and artistic shops along the road (as well as some good cafes for a coffee stop, such as Sam’s Kitchen and Made by Ben and not forgetting to stop for a pint at the wonderful Bell Inn).

At the bottom of the road, just beyond Waitrose, is Save the Children which had a very colourful window display:

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Be warned that Walcot Street (like much of Bath) is on a hill but there are plenty of second-hand shops to keep you distracted. Further along is the Julian House shop:

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Julian House is the local homeless charity and it operates two shops in Bath. I really like the Walcot Street one as it has lots of clothes (including a vintage rail) and a large book department.  The other charity shop along Walcot Street is run by the Bath Women’s Refuge. It has been on Walcot Street for quite a few years (certainly the 15 years I’ve lived in and around the city) and is literally piled high with clothes, children’s books and toys and dvds. It is rather a fight to discover things amongst the rails and piles but can offer some great finds:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Although it’s a climb right to the top of the road, Jack & Danny’s is the original Walcot Street vintage shop, well worth the visit. Inside is a treasure trove of men and women’s clothing. You may have to work your way through the racks but there is something for every occasion. Many years ago I picked up an early 1970s halter neck dress for a 60s/70s summer party.

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At the other end of the street (and on the level) is another vintage clothing store. The Yellow Shop also sells a range of new labels. A bit farther along from the Yellow Shop is the small Saturday Market which sells some second-hand clothing (not pictured).

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Running parallel to Walcot Street is the shorter Broad Street which is really worth a visit. As well as being home to Rossiters Department Store,  Cath Kidston and a few high end boutiques it has a couple of second-hand shops. At the moment my favourite shop in Bath is this Dorothy House shop. It has a real vintage feel to it and appears to be aimed at people who are looking specifically for vintage, or designer, clothing. Back in the summer I bought a wonderful playsuit here which became my favourite holiday outfit. While the clothes can be pricier than regular charity shops they are still real bargains compared to the rest of the High Street.

Further along Broad Street is the Black and White Shop. This operates as a dress agency and is packed with some beautiful clothing, accessories and shoes. I recently picked up a slinky evening dress for a friend’s cocktail party for £24.

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Almost opposite the Black and White shop is Broad Street car park and if you cut through this you find yourself in a small alleyway that houses Bath’s original vintage store: Vintage to Vogue.  Before vintage was a buzzword this shop was selling clothes from bygone eras. About ten years ago I picked up a beautiful matching dress and coat in a delicate duck egg colour. This has been my staple outfit for nearly every wedding and christening since.

The other area I tend to browse in is located in an area just off the bottom of Walcot Street, past Waitrose. While Pulteney Bridge is one of only two bridges in the world that has shops located on it (the other being the Ponte Vecchio in Florence), it is also home to two great charity shops. Well the actual address is Argyle Street and they are just off the other end of Pulteney Bridge. This Dorothy House branch sells more traditional charity shop clothing than the one on Broad Street. I picked up a great red dress from Warehouse earlier this year then proceeded to shrink it (see here).

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A couple of shops further along is Oxfam which, again, is of the more traditional style Oxfam shop. (There is also an Oxfam Boutique in Bath city centre which I will blog about in Part Two). I have picked up some bargains in this Oxfam shop and here I think is the reason why Bath is so good for charity shopping: it is an affluent city (although not in every part) and people donate good quality, high-end clothing. While some charity shops have caught onto this and now charge quite expensive prices these are still cheaper than the High Street price. Plus the clothing tends to last for a long time (unless you shrink/iron holes in it!)

While I feel uncomfortable taking ‘selfies’ I did end up buying the blue dress and have had quite a few complements when I’ve worn it out. The Laura Ashley dress was tried on just because I could but, in no way, shape of form, did it suit me!

I hope to have another child-free day soon and explore some more of Bath’s second-hand hotspots so watch this space….