I went charity shopping in Exeter and here are my top five picks

2024 is officially the year of second-hand clothing

New year, new you, right? Except it’s cold, you’re in under your head in assignments, and for some reason you thought doing dry January was going to be the life changing cleanse you needed (newsflash, it’s definitely not). An afternoon in Princesshay redefining yourself with a brand new wardrobe could be just the remedy you need, although the Christmas festivities last term rinsed your bank account, and quite frankly, you don’t have the funds for that spending spree. Well, there’s good news! Exeter has an abundance of affordable thrift shops, and let’s be real: Finding more sustainable alternatives, whilst also donating to charity, is one hundred percent in. I’ve even done you the courtesy of assessing my top picks, and they are ALL within walking distance of campus. So, grab your tote bag, and let’s go.

1. Children’s hospice South West

“Providing hospice care for children and young people living with life-limiting conditions and their whole family.”

Our first stop is the Children’s hospice South West: A sizeable shop that is coats galore. From blazers perfect for an Invades races day, to fluffy jackets for these winter months, you are sure to find your next coat obsession to last you many years to come. There was also a small homeware section to consider if you’re looking for some funky mugs and glasses to replace your grimy TP cups. 10/10, would 100 per cent recommend.

2. Cancer Research UK

“The world’s largest independent cancer research organisation.”

Again, I saw many fluffy coats in here, so if that’s your vibe, get there quick! The prices in Cancer Research are very affordable, and it’s a fairly big store so you don’t feel like you’re competing with the person next to you to find the hidden gems first. Good prices, a good accessories section, and a range of brand names: Cancer research is a solid stop on a thrifting day.

3. Little Valley Animal Shelter

“An independent RSPCA branch dedicated to helping Devon’s animals in need.”

This little shop could be missed as it is tucked away in a corner of Sidwell Street, but there are some great finds for an equally great cause. I would have to say there is a slightly more of a vintage feel in here, but they did have a fair amount of formal wear that would be perfect for an end of season dinner (they are fast approaching, people). If you do go into the Little Valley Animal Shelter then make sure to grab a pic with Bob at the back of the store!

4. The British Heart Foundation

“Funding innovative, world-class research, we’re discovering new ways to identify, diagnose, treat and repair your heart.”

Omg – speechless. You have walked into secondhand heaven as soon as you step through those doors. The store is enormous, and every area is neatly labelled off. If it’s jeans you’re on the hunt for, then there is a specially designated denim area – to fulfil all your flared, mom, or low-rise dreams. From smart wear to comfy t-shirts, The British Heart Foundation has it all, and I even spied a few pairs of chinos if you social goers are running low.

5. Flamingo’s Vintage

Ah, okay, I know it’s not a charity shop, but an honourable mention goes to the kilo sale at Flamingo’s vintage. All in all, it can be affordable depending on what you’re going for, and the clothes certainly match the agenda of an Exeter girlie. Plus, Harry Styles Society, have you SEEN the cowboy boots?

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