Not only does buying clothes and other items from a charity shop mean you can support some great charities while you buy, it’s also cheaper. However, just because you’re buying things cheaply, it doesn’t mean they have to be poor quality. Glasgow has loads of great charity shops with deals on good quality clothes, books, and more. You don’t even have to go far from the university to find some great ones – if you want to make a day of seeing the best shops in the West End, you can start at the bottom of Great Western Road at Shelter, Kelvinbridge, then make your way towards Dumbarton Road, stopping at each charity shop along Great Western Road and Byres Road. When you reach Dumbarton Road, take a quick detour left to visit Barnardo’s, then head towards Partick. One of my friends swears that the further down Dumbarton Road you get, the better and cheaper the charity shops are. I don’t know if I believe that, but it is true that Dumbarton Road’s charity shops are better value than the Byres Road ones, and they do have some great finds. On your tour of the West End’s charity shops, make sure to stop at all of the following ones (as well as the others that didn’t quite make the list).
Best for clothes: Shelter (Botanics)
With an excellent collection of scarves by the window and great selections of both men’s and women’s clothing, this branch of Shelter is a go-to for garments. It has a cosy feel to it, and on top of clothing, it also has a well organised book section and a good number of records.
Best value: Barnardo’s (Dumbarton Road)
Nearly everything in this branch of Barnardo’s is 99p, and it’s not hard to get some good finds if you take a close look at what they’ve got on offer. Despite being a small shop, they have a great range of clothes, always with great variety.
Best for furniture and electricals: British Heart Foundation Furniture and Electricals (Dumbarton Road)
This branch of British Heart Foundation shows that there’s more to charity shops than just clothes. It has a nice selection of reasonably priced furniture, which is great if you need to furnish a flat. But what really gets me excited about this shop is its excellent range of kitchen items and other electrical goods. I once bought a bread machine here for £5, and they have great deals on everything from hairdryers to food processors. While you might be wary about buying electrical items second hand, there’s no need to worry: everything has been tested before it gets put on the shop floor, and they have a lenient returns policy in case things stop working.
Books, music, clothes and more: The Byres Road Oxfam shops
Oxfam has three charity shops along Byres Road, each with a different focus and a welcoming feel. Their book shop is well-organised and doesn’t just sell general fiction, but everything from foreign language learning to comics, while the music shop has a great selection of CDs and records. Each shop has a unique feel: the music shop has great background music; the bookshop has a box full of all the strange things that volunteers have found among donated books; and the main shop has a small craft corner displaying wool, knitting kits, and crafting books.
Best for variety: Emmaus (Dumbarton Road)
This shop is the place to go if you’ve just moved into a new flat and need to buy a new cupboard and a wardrobe. And, once you’ve bought them, you’re in the perfect place to stock out that cupboard with glasses, plates and bowls, and to buy some clothes to put in your wardrobe.
Best for Men’s: Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland (Dumbarton Road)
Most charity shops have an extensive range of women’s clothing, but only one rail selling men’s. Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland has a much better men’s section than a lot of charity shops, with a wide range of shirts, jumpers and trousers. It also has a great range of shoes – it can be tricky to find shoes that fit well in charity shops, but you might get lucky here.
My personal favourite: Shelter (Kelvinbridge)
As I’ve been volunteering here for almost two years, I might be a bit biased towards this particular Shelter shop. But I still think that this is one of the best charity shops in Glasgow. It’s cheaper than any of the charity shops on Byres Road, and has a great selection of clothes and bric-a-brac. If you’re curious to see what’s in store, you can always check out the shop’s Instagram page.