Amy Quinn has adored charity shopping and hunting for people’s discarded gems for years.
“I think the thing I like most about second hand buying is the unknown,” muses 20-year-old Amy, from Garstang.
“You never know what hidden treasures you’re going to find among what is usually quite a lot of junk and old ladies’ clothes.”
Amy loves searching through boxes of bric-a-brac and finding an object she instantly falls in love with. Although charity shops aren’t for everyone, Amy feels secondhand buying gives objects more character.
She says: “Sometimes things can be a bit worn, but you can tell the previous owner loved them and had their own memories attached to them.”
Amy visits charity shops often and has gathered quite an impressive collection.
When you buy secondhand, you often pick up quality brands extremely cheaply.Amy Quinn
“I’ve found all sorts – books, mugs, records, plates, skirts, jumpers, plants.”
Although Amy enjoys finding vintage items from charity shops, not every goldmine is something she’s bought.
She explains: “My next door neighbour knew of my love for textiles and all things crafty so gave me some things which were handmade by his late mother.
“He had numerous blankets which were just sitting in an overhead cupboard not being used and he asked if I’d like a couple because he didn’t want to see them going to waste.
“He also gave me a lovely patchwork blanket which is super cute!”
Amy’s boyfriend Liam, who studies at the Open University, gave her a retro chair as a gift.
Amy says: “My boyfriend’s mum is the queen of all things thrifty and secondhand. She acquired a 1950s style chair but had nowhere to put it.
“Liam passed it on to me and it now sits proudly in the corner of my bedroom. I use it every day when I’m either reading or cuddled up in it watching a movie.”
Amy loves spending time with her Nana sorting through her finds. She explains: “When I was little, I used to spend hours playing with my Nana’s button box, picking out my favourites and organising them with her.”
Amy’s grandmother also gave her a special item she cherishes. Amy explains: “Nana passed on a typewriter which she bought at a charity shop. The old style design makes for a great little decoration which completes my room nicely.
“I recently found a beautiful ornately enamelled plate which I’m planning on displaying on my wall as an art piece. My bedroom is decorated with the hidden gems I’ve discovered.”
Some of Amy’s best finds include a wide range of clothing she’s picked up over the years. “I’ve bought woolly jumpers, skirts, T-shirts and jackets.
“A lot of the time when you buy from High Street stores, the quality isn’t fantastic.
“But when you buy secondhand, you often pick up quality brands extremely cheaply.
Amy uses her artistic talents to customise some of her purchases.
Amy remembers: “When I was younger, I’d buy records - ones that nobody wanted any more – for 10p from my local charity shop.
“I’d melt them slightly using the oven and make them into quirky record bowls. I would then give these as birthday or Christmas presents.
“I think there’s something nice about both giving and receiving gifts that have been handmade.”
Amy says her experiences prove there is a lot more to charity shopping than simply old books and jumpers.
She says: “Someone’s old piece of junk could be a very special gift which could be something they’ll treasure for the rest of their life.”