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Bargain hunt

How bargain hunt releases happy hormones

Did you know that the buzz of bagging a bargain could help put a spring back in your step? Not only does it make you feel good, it can actually do some good too by cutting some of the waste involved in ‘fast fashion’. So, we hit the high street to try it out.

Bargain hunting increases the release of dopamine, an organic feel-good chemical released by the brain, research has shown. So, with springtime only weeks away, now could be a good time to lift your spirits with a spring clean of your collection, a sort-out of your shoes and a good wardrobe revamp.

You can do this in a way that is good for us all:

  1. Donating your unwanted clothes to charity
  2. Recycling any items that are beyond reusing
  3. Shopping second hand for replacements.

This last point is particularly pertinent at a time of ongoing economic insecurity because it can be hard to justify spending a hard-earned wage on the latest fashion items. So, what better solution is there than to go charity shop bargain hunting? Your bank balance will thank you for it – and, by shopping second hand, you can double your dopamine hit by knowing you are doing your bit for the environment as well as supporting a good cause.

A local group called Elegance in Ealing has been showcasing some of the stylish items you can buy second-hand.

So we gave it a try ourselves

We tasked Verity Adams, a member of the EalingNewsExtra team, with having a wardrobe declutter and refresh. You can read what she did below. What recycling tips can you share with us? Have you bagged yourself a charity shop bargain recently – tweet us at @EalingNewsExtra to let us know.

Bargain shopping at Oxfam
Bargain shopping at Oxfam

Verity said: “I tend to wear my clothes until they are worn out, but my children are growing too quickly to wear out much of theirs. I’ve always passed some on to appreciative friends but there is still usually surplus – and this time was no exception. So, I decided to bag it up to donate to charity shops. And the stuff that wasn’t quite up to scratch, including holey or mismatched socks, I put in a clear bag for recycling collection by the council.

“It actually gave me an all-round feel-good factor; clearing out and making space, giving to charity and doing something to help the environment too – it’s a no-brainer and I’ll be doing this from now on.”

With some space freed-up at home, our wardrobe warrior then went to some of Ealing’s charity shops to unearth some bargains in the hope of encouraging others to do the same.

Here are a few of her finds:

“My bargain buys were: A black pencil skirt which was perfect for work. It was originally from River Island and cost me £2.99.”

“A black and red shirt, which was great for work but also good to pair-up with jeans and boots on an evening out. It was originally from Topshop and cost £5.99.

“And a navy winter puffa coat with a fur hood – this was my fave buy, I love it. It seems new, and I think an absolute snip at £8.99. It was originally from Topshop.

“I was so tempted to buy a lovely handbag from Urban Outfitters, too; but I resisted the urge to buy because I’m trying to manage my money better this year, and I did not really need it.

“I was so impressed by the quality of what I found, and it really did push home the point that you do not need to go crazy ordering the latest clothes online or searching all the shops for new stuff.

“When you stop and consider the damage that ‘fast fashion’ can do to our environment, it makes you wonder why we don’t all do this more often.”

Having a declutter

Bag up those items that no longer fit or that you bought on a whim and will never actually wear (we have all done it) and head down to a charity shop that will be grateful for your donations – some are more popular than others so try not to be offended if the volunteers are not always overwhelmed by your offerings, they have to sort through it all. Maybe share the items across a number of shops if you have a lot?

People often have good intentions of selling stuff online – a great way to make a little bit of extra cash and offload unwanted items – but it can be hard to stay on top of it all and you can end up with overflowing bags of stuff you intend to flog.

Send it all off to the charity shop and leave yourself with clear space at home – you will have a tidy house and no longer be overwhelmed at the thought of trying to take photos and label it all in the little free time you have. And then having to pack it up and post it if it sells.

You can start afresh if you choose, and keep on top of any future online selling, or simply vow to recycle more and not throw garments so readily in the bin. Doing something good, like giving to charity, also gives you a feel-good factor.


Any clothes and shoes you cannot donate can be recycled instead.

Textiles can be recycled as part of your kerbside collections, on your normal recycling day – just make sure you put them in a clear, secure bag on top of your blue bin. Keep the bags dry and alongside each other and tie any pairs of shoes together. Recycling left in black rubbish bags will not be collected.

Alternatively, there are textile collections bins in each of the borough’s town centres and you could take your textile recycling to the re-use and recycling centres at Greenford and Acton. Find out more at www.ealing.gov.uk/recycling

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