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Discover the joy of pre-loved shopping

Clothing rails at Hospice in the Weald charity shop

Hospice in the Weald teamed up with regular charity shopper Susie @susiesecondhand, a 39-year-old stenographer and pre-loved enthusiast from Surrey, to chat about all-things second-hand and learn about her upcycling process. Read on to learn more and find out why charity shopping is a worthwhile thing to do…

Susie’s second-hand journey

“I started buying pre-loved in 2019 and have never looked back – Hospice in the Weald is my favourite charity shop and so many of my favourite outfits have been found on the rails there: so many gems. The shops in Oxted and Caterham are a particular highlight as all the clothes are £2 – unbelievable!

“The work the Hospice does is so important – I can’t think of a more worthy place to spend my money and make a difference to patients and their loved ones with something as simple and fun as shopping.

Susie Secondhand with glassware at Hospice in the Weald charity shop

“My Instagram journey began when my friend Katy told me how amazed she was at the things I was finding in our local charity shop, she encouraged me to share my best buys online. I soon discovered a whole community of like-minded charity shop enthusiasts who enjoy seeing what I find on my shopping trips and love to celebrate a good bargain while supporting a worthwhile cause.

“I feel like when I was growing up there was a real stigma around shopping second-hand and a degree of shame around charity shopping and wearing pre-loved. I’m so happy this attitude is becoming a thing of the past and people are realising the gems you can find in charity shops.”

Shopping with purpose

“I love never knowing what I’m going to come home with, I love scoring a bargain. I love that my money is going to a worthy cause rather than some big fast fashion corporation, and I absolutely love the thrill of the rummage! My wardrobe is 99% pre-loved and it makes me so happy I’m giving all these garments a new lease of life.

“When I’m ready to part with them I’ll re-donate, and they’ll get a new owner – it’s all about the circularity. I have dresses from the 1980s that are older than me, and even a swimsuit from the 1970s. So many vintage clothes are so well made with such quality fabric they have years of life left. Plus, you can’t beat a funky 80s print: simply amazing!

Susie Secondhand with upcycled vases

“The negative environmental impact of both textile production and consigning unwanted garments to landfill is well documented and makes for grim reading. By shopping second-hand we’re using what’s already here, saving clothes from landfill and helping the environment.

“What’s more, charities like Hospice in the Weald give so much to the community and to families who need support at what must be the darkest time in their lives. Why buy an item from a high street retailer when I could buy pre-loved and put my money towards something so important?”

Tips for buying pre-loved

“Walking into a charity shop can be overwhelming, so my advice would be to begin by focusing on looking for colours and styles you know will suit you. Always try on if there’s a changing room as sometimes labels can be misleading (I once picked up a pink jumpsuit that was on a size 12 hanger and was thrilled until I got home, checked the label, and realised it was age 13 kid’s size!). Don’t forget to check the jewellery for retro bangles and beautiful vintage brooches: a really good way to start your pre-loved journey.

Susie Secondhand's upcycling process

“Also, browse Pinterest and craft blogs for inspiration so when you hit the charity shops you can keep an eye out for what you need. I’m currently on the hunt for some wooden chairs to upcycle with decoupaged paper maps and the perfect pair of old jeans to upcycle into a denim apron (which will be handy to wear for future craft projects…).

“I know I’ll find everything I need at a Hospice in the Weald charity shop, it’s just about keeping an eye out and being patient!”

Upcycling inspiration

“I always admire the glassware in my local Hospice shop, and it was a delight to choose some pieces for my project. The process was so easy that my child could join in, and she was so pleased with the result (as was I!). I followed a tutorial I found online and bought my materials online too, so it was very straightforward. The finished vases are now on my dining table, and I can’t wait to fill them with fresh cut flowers all summer.

“I hope seeing my upcycled vase will encourage you to get creative and give some pre-loved items a new lease of life. Pop into a Hospice in the Weald charity shop today and see what you can find!”

Customer browsing clothes at Hospice in the Weald charity shop

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