Charity Shopping & The Thrift Lifestyle – Lettice Wilkinson

In a time where we are all watching our budgets especially as it’s almost Christmas (in case any of you have missed the advance warning we have had since October) and this is the time of year we spend vast amounts of money then I may have found the perfect book for you, or gift for others. ‘Charity Shopping and the Thrift Lifestyle’ by Lettice Wilkinson is a book that not only celebrates the delights of second hand shopping but also lets you know where the best places to shop for it are too.

Now if you go by the title you might think this is a guide of how to live the charity lifestyle and though there is a wonderful opening introduction ‘A Virtuous Economy’ which discusses all the benefits and plus sides of Charity Shopping which isn’t quite the case. It is really more a wonderful picture filled guide to where to shop for what. There is a real insight into the whole business and not just you the buyer, there is also the charity and of course those who need the charity and the strategies behind it all which makes for additional interesting reading.

The book is set into different sections such as ‘furniture’, ‘antiques’, ‘bridal’ and many more. I knew as soon as I hit the first section entitled ‘Café’s and Tearooms’ that I was in great company having a wander through hundreds of charity shops with Lettice Wilkinson. Her writing is full of friendly facts, by that I mean there is a lot of information delivered in an easy to follow to the point and yet chatty style which makes it all the more enjoyable to read. There is of course a section that I can guarantee followers of this blog will love devoted to…

Okay so in fairness it’s actually ‘Books, Music and Film’ but the last bit always phases out with me. I now have a wonderful list of shops I simply cannot miss in Oxford, Edinburgh, Herne Bay, Stratford Upon Avon, Southport any many more. I may actually have to do a tour in the summer. If that wasn’t enough I may have to go slightly further afield to what to me is the most pristine looking bookshop I have ever seen let alone an amazingly stocked second hand one…

It would be worth the flight alone to have a wander around this second hand bookstore in New York, as it would cost rather a lot I will have to hold back. They also have three recommendations in Sydney which seems very far to find a nice cheap copy of the latest best seller and a cardigan but if one can why not? Sadly though a certain amazing bookshop in south west London seems to have been missed, I am relieved though as it stays a secret with me and a select few for longer.

I really like this book and ook forward to having it as a guide when I pop off on my travels in the future. It will be going straight onto my lovely new coffee table when it arrives with the wonderful Perfume A-Z Guide. I have a feeling soon people will be coming round to read my books rather than to see me. I know a few people who would love this, what a perfect pressie this will make for a certain few special people? A nice extra stocking filler and no mistake.

So who else out there is big on Charity Shopping? Which stores and where should be must visits for us all? What are your thoughts on books for the recession? After all recession writing seems to be appearing in fiction already with a few big recession themed novels (which I probably won’t be reading – who wants to read it fictionally when we are living it, the latter is depressing enough) coming out in the forthcoming New Year. Is it something you want to read? Who do you know would love today’s Charity book?


Filed under Lettice Wilkinson, Marion Boyars Publishing, Review

21 responses to “Charity Shopping & The Thrift Lifestyle – Lettice Wilkinson

  1. Lucy

    oooh, what is the shop in Oxford?!

  2. Eva

    I love clothes thrifting! I think it’s more environmentally friendly, it’s a lot more fun, it’s easier to find a wide variety of styles, and I can get much higher quality (wool, silk, cashmere, etc.) at very low prices. Sure, it takes a bit of extra work and patience, but that makes me value the things in my closet so much more. 😀 Granted, when I have a steady income, I’ll probably shop in retail stores *occasionally*, but I think at this point I’m set in the clothing thrifting stream for good. 🙂

    For the last two years, I’ve pretty much stuck to a no-book buying ban, but I’ve broken that once a year for the friends of the library book sale, when I get lots of great books for very little money. It’s like clothes thrifting-you have to sort through a lot of dross, but that just makes finding a book you really want to read that much more thrilling!

    • I have to admit that I am pretty rubbish at buying clothes second hand, maybe its a boy thing. I have gotten the odd jacket or t-shirt but jeans wear through. I do like getting amazing bags though like old air plane staff ones and random things like 1980’s dial up phones.

      Books though… oh I cant not buy them. Hence why 2010 is going to be such a difficult year. Not buying them will make me appreciate them so much more though.

  3. This book looks really lovely and I wish someone would give it to me for Christmas! I have been shopping in charity shops more and more, especially since I moved to Oxford where there are many many good ones. I totally agree with Eva about clothes and always buy them in charity shops now — I’m wearing a cashmere cardigan and a cashmere and lambswool sweater right now (it’s COLD!), each bought for around £5. Books, too, I rarely buy full price. I love the thrill of the chase. I actually know where your secret SW London shop is, and it is great, but I will keep quiet. If you come to Oxford, let me know and we can meet for tea/coffee/whatever.

    • Blimey charity cashmere is a find indeed Harriet. You will have to let us know where that shop is (I know Novel Insights would be there like a shot) ha.

      I am glad you can keep the secret as apparently, and this wasnt any bloggers or due to blogging, but book dealers have been ripping off the charity shop. They have asked me to help them by pointing out rare books, which I am happy to do. They want people to buy them because they love them which is completely understandable.

      • I am a book dealer who ‘rips off charity shops’. I love books and I love the fact that I can make money by buying them from charity shops then selling them on, but it isn’t a massive income. I think you’ll find that most book dealers don’t earn much – they do it for the love of books too. We enjoy the thrill of the chase and the desire to pass books onto someone who really loves them too.

        Most rare books would never sell in charity shops. The chance of that one collector finding the book they are after in a charity shop is very rare. It is better for me to buy a book for £2 in a charity shop and then put it up for sale. It might take me years to sell it. Charity shops don’t have that time, or storage space. I spend a massive amount in their shops, so they benefit that way.

        I hate being accused of ripping off charity shops. They set the price – I buy them. Don’t worry – I’m not upset, just wanted you to see the other side of the story.

      • I hadnt thought of it that way, but then I like you so I would let you off Jackie! Hahahaha! But then again I dont think you would do what these dealers did to the shop. I will explain it all at Book Group as its a bit liablous and dont want to get in trouble.

        I think the way you do it is great. I think at that shop though they get some amazing and some very rare books that are worth quite a lot and though I dont think they should sell them at that price they should make a more apropriate amount out of them than 50p. Like maybe pop a rarer book upto £10 is what I mean then both parties benefit and thats what charity is all about, like how you are doing it.

      • I look forward to finding out the gossip about the dealers!

        I am finding that a lot more charity shops are increasing prices and I am happy to pay £10 for some things, but I often find that the people who work in charity shops know nothing about books. They increase the price of any first edition to £20, despite the fact that some aren’t collectible and would never sell at that price. They often hurt their business more by increasing the prices of so many things. I think they need to look at a volume of turnover, as if the same books are always on the shelves it isn’t worth going back in regularly.

        The value of books is such a large and complicated subject that you’ll find 5 dealers could raid a shop one after the other and there’d still be a valuable book left that none of them had spotted.

      • Those shops for the cashmere — one was in Norwich, no idea which as there are lots, and one was an Oxfam in Oxford. But honestly you can often find such things if you keep your eyes open.

  4. Dot

    What a lovely idea for a book, I am very lucky to leave by 2 very good charity book shops but it is always good to know about more!

  5. Idea for future post?……possibly publish the 2nd hand stores you plan to visit on your summer excursion so that those of us who envision someday traveling across the pond will know where to go? Just a suggestion 🙂

  6. I LOVE charity shops. I mainly buy books but I sometimes find the odd bit of clothing or some general tat that I can’t resist. There is a great charity shop where I live that sells the entire population of South East London’s tat and you can find anything in there – from fabric offcuts to tea sets to electric blankets to Christmas tree baubles. It’s fabulous.

    I make money from charity shops too and I don’t feel bad about it – they wouldn’t make the money from a collector as Jackie says, and most of them sell their good stuff online now anyway. A few weeks ago in the charity shop by Archway tube I bought a D E Stevenson hardback that’s quite rare for 20p – just sold it today on Amazon for £25. A nice Christmas bonus!

    • That is a very nice Christmas bonus indeed. I think I would need to explain the whole thing which happened at the book shop am talking about to you. As I mentioned to Jackie can’t pop it on here for various reasons.

      I am a huge, huge fan of charity shops. Where else could I have gotten my amazing new phone. It rang for the first time and scared me to death, my past came back before my eyes and I wondered if I had had a heart attack. Slight drama for just a phone call haha.

  7. mee

    I live in Sydney. Would you care to share what shops mentioned in the book? 🙂

  8. doobie

    please please would you tell me the name of the SW London charity shop you mentioned that is good for books?! I live in SW, don’t have very much money and love books. I’d really appreciate it if you’d share your secret. thanks!

  9. doobie

    this book is absolutely amazing by the way i recommend it to anyone interested in charity shopping. it is indispensable to any self-discerning charity shopper and a great present for anyone!

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