If you love a good charity shop Saturday spent rummaging for second-hand books, vintage pottery and novelty treasures, chances are 2020 has been a struggle. If you miss the unbridled pleasure of heading to a rural village, the smell of old books, finding those rare marvels that you never knew you needed and getting lost in the shelves of endless charity shops. Prepare to enter a rabbit hole…
Shopping second-hand is sustainable and has recently been the poster child for various green marketing campaigns, like Oxfam’s Second-Hand September. Aiming to get people to question throwaway fashion and raise awareness of the negative impact the textile industry has on the environment is urgently needed.
For some, second-hand shopping is somewhat of a religion. My friends and I will gladly make a weekend pilgrimage to a small town and systematically work our way around each of the charity shops, picking up hand knitted toys, rare old books and novelty vinyl.
For anyone who recognises the joy of a good charity shop, here are five charity shops on eBay, where you can give money to good causes while shopping sustainably, all from the comfort of your own home.
Sense is a national charity that supports people who are deaf, blind, have sensory impairments or complex needs, to enjoy more independent lives. They support individuals with communication needs of all ages, as well as their families and carers. They provide information and advice and offer a wide range of flexible services. Their online charity shop boasts a mixture of clothing, vintage items like typewriters, apothecary bottles and children’s toys.
Shop: Sense Retail
Second up, The British Heart Foundation are on a mission to raise money to fund over £100 million of research each year into heart and circulatory diseases and the things that cause them. Covid-19 has cut their ability to fund new research in half, so they urgently need your support this Christmas. They have over 3,000 items listed on eBay. My advice would be to set aside a little bit of time and enjoy a good browse- you can find anything from vintage record players, books to sewing machines.
Thirdly, Clic Sargent is the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people. Their team of professionals work with children and young people to limit the damage of cancer. They support young cancer patients emotionally – building their resilience so they can continue to learn, regain their confidence and be inspired to think beyond cancer. The Clic Sargent eBay charity shop has all sorts to browse, shoes, novelty items, children’s toys and everything in between. They have some pretty excellent looking vintage cameras for sale, plus lots of new and adorable vintage children’s toys.
Shop: Clic Sargent
A high-street staple, Sue Ryder is a British palliative neurological and bereavement support charity. They provide care, compassion and the relief of suffering for those going through some of the toughest times imaginable. The Sue Ryder shop on eBay has some wonderful items, like this vintage bagatelle game, that would make a pretty excellent gift for all the family to play with at Christmas. You’ll find everything from antiques, vintage treasures, clothes, books, art- you name it.
Shop: Sue Ryder on eBay
Last but by no means least is Cancer Research UK. An incredible charity that are dedicated to cancer research and awareness. They fund scientists, doctors and nurses to help beat cancer as well as providing valuable cancer information to the public. As with most charities they have been hit by the lack of sales through their high street shops this year. However, their eBay shop has over 2,500 items to choose from. The great thing is, that you can filter by category, so if you’re looking for a particular gift it is much easier than browsing the physical shops.
Although I do consider myself somewhat of a minimalist these days, the joy of a good rummage in a second-hand shop still lights me up. I love knowing that my money is going towards helping others. Charity shopping online is of course less sociable than heading out with friends, having high tea and a leisurely browse, but it is enjoyable none the less. Be warned, you might find yourself getting lost down a rabbit hole of miniature train sets and silk cravats. Just go with it.
Photography by Olivia J Lennon