Sustainable Shopping

Guide to Sustainable Shopping

Created by Charity Shop Girl and in partnership with Oxfam

Section 1 – Introduction 

Hi, I’m Jen, Charity Shop Girl and I am the Second Hand Ambassador for Going Green. I’m going to be doing a go to guide to sustainable shopping with tips and tricks for charity shopping and learning how to shop more sustainably. There’s no better time to start shopping sustainably with the cost of living rising at a rapid rate and also seeing the impact that fast fashion is having on the planet. You can help that by shopping more sustainably, whether that be in charity shops, Ebay, vintage shops, Depop, Vinted, Facebook Marketplace, there is so much out there, so many places that you can source preloved items from.

Charity Shop Girl logoJennifer Brady

Charity Shop Girl
Secondhand and Sustainable Shopping Ambassador 

What is Preloved Shopping?

Section 2 – What is Preloved Shopping?

  • Preloved shopping is shopping for items that have been previously owned or preloved. However, that isn’t always the case because lots of second hand shops now sell things that have never been worn before, new with tags. So, shopping preloved doesn’t necessarily mean that the items been pre-worn.
  • When you shop preloved you are guaranteed to find unique, good quality items.
  • And of course by shopping preloved we are extending the life of these good quality items that we already have in circulation, instead of producing so many more items that we don’t need.
  • We are reusing and recycling not only clothes but toys, bric-a-brac and furniture as well.

I think there are three main benefits to shopping sustainably. Number one, you are helping the planet with regards to water pollution and carbon emissions.

Number 2 is that if you shop in a charity shop you are supporting a local charity.

And of course it saves you money.

Why should we use Charity Shops?

Section 3 – Why should we use Charity Shops?

  • Number one, that you will find unique pieces and trends are always in charity shops. Trends are changing all the time, but you can be sure that you always find what is on trend in a charity shop.
  • They are for high-quality, affordable items.
  • By shopping in charity shops, we are helping them provide the support that is needed for them to continue their important crucial work to support those who need it most. Whether that be the elderly, end of life care, children, animals, ex-soldiers or the homeless

 Yesterday we popped to Truro for my radio debut and obviously we had a rummage 🧺♻️💚

This @oxfamgb was on another level to any other Oxfam I’d ever been in. It was massive, they had the coolest stock and in the back a dedicated vintage section and huge bric a brac room.

Look at that Ralph Two piece I think someone’s made it 🤩

I’ve been so impressed with the charity shops of Cornwall and I’m 100% coming back next year!

Jennifer Brady – Charity Shop Girl 🧺

Charity Shop Advocate 🧺 In a charity shop somewhere 📍 ♻️ Thriftify sustainable stylist winner. @uk_going_green Ambassador. Email

Why should we use online buy and sell stores?

Section 4 – Why should we use online buy and sell stores?

  • When shopping for preloved items online, there are some brands that I always search for because I know they are such good quality.
  • With the likes of Thriftify and Vestiaire you can go online and search exactly what you are looking for, but you will be buying it preloved.
  • There are also lots of online preloved websites that offer designer items too, so if you are looking for a designer item why not think about buying it second hand.

Where are they?

  • Where can I shop preloved items?
  • So not only can you shop in charity shops, charity shops, also have online shops with the bigger ones, such as Oxfam, British Heart Foundation, they have online shops too. But you can also shop Vinted, Depop, that is also shopping second hand and helping reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfill.
  • Also don’t forget that you can buy furniture second hand too. Lots of these bigger charity shops now do have larger furniture, but some even actually have big charity shop warehouses, where they sell larger furniture, such as sofas, fridge-freezers, even cookers.

How to use them?

  • I’ve never shopped preloved how do I start?
  • Donating and shopping preloved is an essential part of the cycle in the fight to reduce the amount of textile waste that ends up in landfill.

Quick tips

Section 5 – Quick Tips

  • For me I’ve got several tips for charity shopping and shopping preloved. The first one would have to be you’ve got to go in with an open mind. Its very difficult to go in with an idea of something that you want to find cause you’re probably not going to find that exact item.


  • Another tip would always be I don’t really look at the labels, simply because you can very easily be put off by something, so I have seen a really nice dress and then it’s been from Eastex and someone might say that is quite an older brand.


  • Also sizing, sizing is very different to what it was 15, 20 years ago, so always try something on.


  • They have the same return policy as most high street shops.


  • When shopping preloved and trying to shop more sustainably, it’s always a good idea to think of things whilst you are buying the item, as in am I going to wear this more than once, will I be able to wear this for more than one season.


  • Another tip of mine would be you can shop early seasons, so around September, August, it’s never too early to start shopping for your Christmas party dresses.


  • Windsmoor, Eastex, Jaegar, all those brands have got real longevity in their items, they last and the quality is so good. So, you know that if you buy one of those brands you are going to have it for a long time.


  • And seasonal things, the bric-a-brac section in the charity shops is so good for seasonal items, whether that’s decorating your table at Christmas, Easter, every occasion the charity shops cater for in the bric-a-brac section.

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Thank you to our partners Oxfam and Charity Shop Girl for their contributions to this guide to sustainable shopping.