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I’m a charity shop whizz – the ultimate second-hand items to look out for to make the perfect Christmas gifts

IF the thought of splashing the cash on Christmas presents sends shivers down your spine – fear not, you’ve come to the right place.

We spoke to charity shop fan Monica Marriott-Mills, 28, to get her top tips for shopping second-hand this festive season.

Monica Mills/SUPPLIED
28-year-old Monica Marriott-Mills is a charity shop whizz and loves buying items second-hand[/caption]
Monica Mills/SUPPLIED
Monica found these stunning table top books in her local charity shop[/caption]
Monica Mills/SUPPLIED
Monica will aim to buy a third of her Christmas presents this year from charity shops and recently picked up these brand-new, unopened gifts[/caption]

Monica, who lives between Yorkshire and London, is a Marketing Manager and Brand Consultant and has been shopping in charity shops for the past seventeen years.

She revealed that over 90% of the items that she owns are pre-loved, she goes charity shopping weekly if she has time and she will be aiming to buy lots of her loved ones Christmas presents from charity shops this year.

If you are looking to save some money and get some bargain buys this festive season, Monica shared with us the best items to look out for to make the perfect Christmas gift. 

When it comes to Monica’s Christmas shopping, she told Fabulous: “I will aim to buy around a third of my gifts preloved and if I can manage more, then I absolutely will.

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“As you charity shop, you’ll become familiar with which charity shops are good for which items. 

“I love certain stores for their homeware and others for their jewellery and fashion.

“Charity shopping is a lottery and therefore you need to start early. 

“It’s a good way to gradually buy gifts, instead of leaving it at the last minute. 

“You can split your gift buying over a couple of months which also is more financially doable than suddenly having a huge list of gifts to buy in December.

“I don’t buy certain things in charity shops for hygiene reasons, although that is just my personal preference, and I wouldn’t judge others if they chose to.

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“The items I tend to buy new are lingerie, socks, tights, sunglasses, towels and sheets.

“But the items I buy preloved are jewellery, books, games, clothing, shoes, photo frames, interior items, craft items, kitcheare, vases, storage, candles and cosmetics (unopened and always check their label for use by dates).

“I am proud to shop secondhand and to showcase the beauty of preloved gifting.

“I also ask others to buy my gifts second-hand if they can. I would rather use the money on experiences”. 

Monica explained that she began looking for bargains in charity shops when she was just 11-years-old with her grandma.

Her love for second-hand shopping has continued into her late 20s and not only can you save money with charity shop shopping but according to Monica, you can find some amazing, unique items too.

Quite often people ask me where my clothes and homeware is from – I think they are surprised that over 90% of what I own is second hand.

Monica Marriott-Mills28

She added: “It’s much better for the environment – there are already so many beautiful items and clothes that deserve a new home, we don’t need to produce more.

“You can save money, I find on average I save up to 75% on my wardrobe.

“You can find unique items, full of interesting antiques, vintage clothes, handmade items and generally items in really good condition, so why not shop there?

“It’s a conscious decision I make to support charities and to prevent further unnecessary landfill and over manufacturing”.

Monica revealed that although some people may not like the idea of charity shop shopping, she gets the majority of her items second-hand. 

She continued: “I think there’s a preconception that preloved means dirty or cheap, it isn’t at all – I think it is economical, creative and environmentally forward. 

“I think slowly people are changing their view on buying from charity shops but it takes time so I am doing my part via TikTok to share my top tips and to help people find amazing things. 

“Quite often people ask me where my clothes and homeware is from – I think they are surprised that over 90% of what I own is second hand”. 

If you are looking to bag some bargains in your local charity shop this Christmas, Monica shared the top items that you should look out for that would make fabulous gifts.

She suggested: “Candles and candlesticks, vases and coffee table books – Oxfam Book store is great.

“Costume jewellery, Vintage Jewellery and brooches – I package them up in lovely packaging and they look like they’re from a boutique.

“Cosmetics – be sure to always check the use-by dates and check they are sealed

“Kids toys – you can find some amazing prices.

“Unopened gifts – you would be amazed at the number of these that I have found.

“Silverware – it is all about how you package and present it”.

With seventeen years of experience shopping in charity shops, Monica has been lucky enough to bag herself some brilliant bargains.

She has previously purchased a pair of Kurt Geiger shoes for £1, a pair of Burberry Trousers for just £3 and some glamorous Sterling Silver earrings for £2.50. 

Not only this, but she got a Vivienne Westwood coffee table book for £2.50, a genuine leather jacket for £10 and a Giorgio Armani Blazer for just £12.  

She concluded: “I try to go weekly if I have time – it varies and I appreciate that not everyone has time to shop in store, more and more charity shops now are online too, such as Oxfam and Fara.

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“I spend around 20 minutes as I know what to look for. 

“If I am looking for a specific item or person, I will make a list on my phone of the types of items they like – for example, for my mum, she likes candles, photo frames, trinkets and scarves”. 

Monica Mills/SUPPLIED
Monica revealed that 90% of what she owns is second-hand[/caption]
Monica Mills/SUPPLIED
She got this gorgeous gold jewellery from a charity shop[/caption]
Monica Mills/SUPPLIED
She also got this gorgeous sparkly dress[/caption]

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