My husband calls me 'Eagle Eyes' and I am very proud of the fact that I can spot things that others may have missed. For example, the Lexicon card game shown in the photo above was tucked behind other things on the shelf in a charity shop in Bakewell, but I spotted it and swooped!

I was pleased to find this for £4, having seen a Lexicon card game in the window of the Oxfam shop near me for £10. The one I got had a shabby box but all the cards were there, together with the instructions.

Tip 2 - Think about whether you really want the item. One of the reasons I buy from charity shops is to give pre-loved things a new home and make sure that they are being used. So if the item is not going to fit into my home or if I am not going to make use of it, then I leave it in the shop for someone else to buy. 

That said, it is sometimes fun to buy something, use it for a while and then donate it back to the shop. I tend to do that a lot with DVDs and books for example.

Tip 3 - If you do find something you really want, grab it quickly! Stock changes frequently, either because people buy the items or because unsold items get transferred to other stores. If you dither and then decide to go back to the shop and buy it the next weekend it will no longer be there.

I spotted this Portmeirion plate from the Welsh Dresser range in the local Oxfam shop yesterday and grabbed it before anyone else could. It is so bright and cheerful and my husband and son like it as much as I do.

Tip 4 - Have a quick look on eBay and Google to check whether the price being charged is reasonable. Ideally you should do this on your phone while you are in the shop. This is especially important if you are planning to sell the item for a profit. These days, some items in some charity shops have surprisingly high price tags.

I bought the plate shown in the photo above for £1.99 yesterday. I'm not planning to sell it, but I was pleased to see that Chinasearch are currently listing the same plate for £16.40, which means my plate was an absolute bargain!

Tip 5 - Be prepared to scrub! Some people donate things to charity shops without cleaning them properly first. This means you may need to put some effort in to making things clean enough to use. 

I actually quite like doing this - maybe because I grew up watching the mice on Bagpuss singing "We will wash it, we will splosh it, we will polish it nice as new". It feels good to bring something back into use.

The make-up case shown in the photo below needed a bit of a clean when I saw it in the Oxfam shop yesterday, but I didn't let that put me off. It has scrubbed up well and now contains my make-up and brushes.

I hope you find these tips useful. Let me know if you have any tips to add to my list.

Coming soon:

Me and My Shadow