‘You know the best charity shops in Aberdeen!’ my friend told me the other day while I laid my vintage blue China tea set – bought from a charity shop last year for £18 – on the table along with some biscuits and cake. While I was pouring the Earl Grey tea, we started chatting away about charity shopping (or thrift shopping for my American friends), fast fashion and the negative impacts it has on the environment, and the benefits of supporting charities. charity shopping guide AberdeenCharity shopping is quite new to me! There are no charity shops in Greece so my first encounter with the concept was when I was studying in Newcastle; everyday I would walk past Oxfam on my way to the University and one particular day a white, wool jumper with a £3 price tag caught my attention. As I didn’t know what Oxfam was, I asked the only British girl in my class, being confident that she would have heard of it before… Her response put me off as she said it was for ‘poor people’ and she asked me if I was in need of clothes. Realistically speaking, I was in need of clothes as I had just travelled from the other side of Europe with my entire fortune in a 30kg luggage, but I didn’t consider myself poor, so I thought perhaps I should let ‘poor people’ to buy the Oxfam clothes and I would just do my shopping in the High Street shops. charity shopping guide Aberdeen
Three months forward and I found myself buying gifts for my family on the run up to Christmas. I was in the middle of intu Eldon Square when I saw a branded coat in the window shop of Cyrenians. I looked at the customers in the shop and none of them looked ‘poor’… thinking back to my classmate’s words about charity shoppers. So I stepped inside hoping that they will not kick me out for daring to shop in a cheap place and refuse the opportunity from others to buy at lower prices.
To my surprise, all clothes were in immaculate condition! charity shopping guide Aberdeen
They were clean, colour coordinated and cheaper than I could imagine. I asked the charity volunteers if they had the real prices on the price tags or if there was an extra membership fee (totally clueless, I told you!), and once they confirmed that there were no hidden fees I got myself a basket and started throwing things in. To make a long story short, I bought a white coat for me, one for my sister and a dress for my mum, all for £16.
Years went by since that day and I am so glad I discovered the joys of charity shopping!
Once considered dusty shops for people of less fortunate backgrounds, nowadays charity shops rise above high street retailers while people become more and more conscious of ethical shopping. With an estimate of over £140 million worth of clothing going into landfill every year in the UK, annual figures reporting the environmental pollution of the fashion industry and countless charities supporting great causes in need of money, to me, charity shopping is not only a great way to give back to the society but also a chance to give back to the environment by lowering the demand for more. charity shopping guide Aberdeen
Aberdeen is not one of the most fashionable capitals of the world but there are great bargains to be found in its charity shops – from Mulberry belts to Prada shoes, I have seen it all!
Here are my top favourite charity shops (or charity boutiques as my friend refers to) in Aberdeen:
- SALVATION ARMY CHARITY SHOP on 22 John Street, AB25 1BT for great bric-à-brac bargains. Do not be fooled by the small space on the front of the shop, once you go past the till, down the narrow corridor, there is a huge space divided into different sections each filled with clothes, books and DVDs, vintage tea sets and even woollen blankets. At the moment they have a big sale and offer everything 50% off the original price so it’s the perfect timing to pay them a visit.
- PDSA ABERDEEN on 15 Holburn Street, AB10 6BS for designers’ clothes and occasional £1 rails. Sheila, the manager, will be more than happy to pet your dog and have a chat with you while you have a look around the shelves and Carla, behind the till, will serve you with the biggest smile. Run mostly by women, this dog friendly shop in Aberdeen’s West End will captivate you for its abundance in designers’ clothing – I spotted a brand new Mulberry belt for £100 and Clinique skincare products starting as little as £3 last week! – good music and smiley faces.
- CLAN CANCER LINK on 117 Rosemount Pl, AB25 2YH for regional bargain bins, books, great clothing and cheap furniture. I stumbled upon this shop randomly one day on my day to work and loved every single piece they had on offer. The entrance is on Rosemount Place and Short Loanings corner and the shop extends further inside as it is in fact two shops connected to one. They have great books in immaculate condition for £0.50 (no dog-eared copies here!) and beautiful clothing. As they don’t want to keep furniture for longer than a week here you will find laundry baskets, frames and vintage chairs for as little as £1. Definitely worth a look around!
- SUE RYDER on 199 George Street AB25 1HX for cheap bargains. This is my go-to-place when I want to go shopping but don’t want to spend much money. They have everything for £1 so you might end up buying more than you initially have hoped for it all goes into a good cause so everyone is a winner. I bought a brand new, M&S, velvet clutch bag for £1 last Christmas from this shop and loved wearing it during the festive days, what a bargain.
- CHEST HEART AND STROKE SCOTLAND on 27 Rosemount Viaduct, AB25 1NE for the most glamorous charity
shopboutique in Aberdeen. This store reminds me of Armstrongs Vintage in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket, a place of beautiful pre-loved items in an eccentrically decorated environment. If you go charity shopping for the basics then don’t go there. Things like plain t-shirts, plain trousers or plain skirts just don’t belong in this place. But if you are a creative soul and you like vintage and designer lines on a budget, then this is most certainly the place to be in Aberdeen.
I will probably think of more shops by the time you are reading this but this is a good starting point if you want to go charity shopping in Aberdeen. I will update this guide as time goes by so feel free to check back regularly.
Do you have any favourite charity shops, and if so what do you love about them?