14/08/2014 16:51 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

10 Tips For Charity Shopping

10 Tips for Charity Shopping

Charity shopping is addicitve, FACT!

Once you start you won't be able to shop. For me personally it's the thrill of not knowing what you are going to un-earth and the bargains that you can get. If you have never been charity shopping then you are missing out.

Here are my 10 tips for charity shopping...

1) Have a rough idea of what you are going for. Most charity shops sell a huge variety of things from tennis rackets to Tupperware and if you have some idea of what you're looking for it stops you from feeling overwhelmed by the vast amount of stuff.

2) Use your imagination. Sometimes when you are in a shop surrounded by a mixture of good items, retro items and those that should have been binned a long time ago, it can be easy to overlook an item that might look really good with extra accessories or a slight tweak here and there.

3) Check out the 'real' shops first. What I like to do before I raid the charity shops is go into a few high street shops first and find an outfit that I would like. I then trawl round the charity shops trying to find something similar but for about a quarter of the price. I get a real buzz from doing this as I hate spending money.

4) Always ask if you can't find what you are looking for. Having worked in charity shops for the past eight years, I know for a fact that charity shops get a huge amount of stock in and they simply cannot fit it all out on the shop floor. If you have something particular in mind that you are after then ask at the till if they have it in the back.

5) Make friends with the staff. If you get to know the volunteers and staff then you can ask them to keep an eye out for certain things and let you know when it comes in.

6) Always checkout the 'smaller' local charity shops. Some of the best bargains can be found in the less well known charity shops and their prices are also generally lower.

7) The kind of town you shop in will reflect on what you find. If you shop in a very affluent town then you will generally find more designer labels, but you will have to pay more for them. So depending on what you are looking for, change the town that you are shopping in to suit.

8) Take your time. As there is so much to see in each shop it's best if you have time to browse properly without having to rush around.

9) Experiment with sizes. Just because you are normally a size 12 don't limit yourself to just that size. Shop sizes seem to vary considerably, and the clothes may have been washed a few times before which can shrink or stretch them. Try everything on!

10) Be Warned! As I said, charity shopping is addictive. If you start to find yourself buying everything, just because it was cheap and you find that every surface in your house has something on it, it might be worth taking a break for a while.

A full time mum of two. My blog is my space to ramble about life, children, being a mummy and any other random thoughts or ideas that come into my head.

Blogs at: Cold Tea and Smelly Nappies
Twitter: @gina_caro