Charity shop till you drop

In a recent turn of events, I've devoted a small chunk of my life to browsing through charity shops. These little goldmines are in abundance along Portswood high street and filled with hidden gems.

I used to disregard these stores as somewhere to take bagfuls of things you don't want - that t-shirt you stopped wearing when you started college, that ceramic turtle your nan brought back from holiday with her in 2008 that's been cluttering up your top drawer ever since, a rogue garment you were pressured into buying in the sale by the slightly-too-cool staff in Urban Outfitters - all in a doorstop charity collection bag you forgot to leave outside. But it's true; one man's proverbial trash is another's treasure.

corduroy trousers, casserole dish, tubular bells and Orwell.. all from charity shops

My girlfriend introduced me to this new mode de vie and now I just can't stop. I've bought an array of preloved items, from corduroy trousers to casserole dishes - the fun never stops.

This also solves my problem of not being able to afford records, charity shops are filled with them! As long as you don't mind only ever hearing Cliff Richard, Elgar or Mike Oldfield.

More seriously, there's a real problem with consumption in our modern world which I'm sure you're aware of. Many of you will making moves to use less plastic and produce less waste but it seems as soon as you get to grips with improving one habit, another is revealed to have a detrimental impact on our planet.

It starts with clothes really. Think about how frequently you change up your outfits, buy something new and cheap because what you had appears to you to be either untrendy or worn out. We revel in the ease with which we can make flippant and careless purchases (see this old but pertinent article by George Monbiot) but never stop to think about the processes behind it. The designing, manufacturing, packaging, transporting, retailing - it all has an ecological impact.

I'm not saying charity shopping will save the planet but shopping in a way that reduces waste, minimises environmental impact and supports charities is a pretty good step in the right direction.

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