Norfolk-based TikToker Caroline Butler has gone viral for finding hidden treasures in charity shops across the county.

Since the pandemic, she has been documenting her finds in social media videos under the name @caroline.shops.

She has attracted 50,000 followers and a number of her posts have earned more than two million views.

Ms Butler said her talent for finding a bargain started in childhood.

"I was brought up in a ‘thrifty’ household," she said.  "For as long as I can remember, my parents have been keen on buying second-hand and pre-loved items."

She said the pandemic and cost of living crisis pushed her back into thrifting and she delved further into Norfolk's charity shop scene. 

But what are her top tips for finding the best deals in Norfolk?

1. Rummage

"A while ago, the EACH charity shop in Long Stratton had a bargain bin of handbags. 

"All were £3 each. I rummaged right down to the bottom, where I found a leather Ameribag in excellent condition worth about £80."

Dereham Times: A Dr Martens bag and a Sadler teapot are among her pre-loved findsA Dr Martens bag and a Sadler teapot are among her pre-loved finds (Image: Caroline Butler)

2. Look at clothes marketed to other genders

"Sometimes men’s items might be inadvertently hung up in the women’s section and vice versa.

"So, it’s always worth checking both areas."

3. Judge by touch

"When it comes to clothing and accessories, try to trust your sense of touch for a good quality item.

"You can usually differentiate between a good quality fabric, leather, cashmere or silk, and a poorer type."

4. Independents have cheaper prices

"The pricing in charity shops has become a contentious issue over recent times.

"If the charity shop is part of a chain, they might have more staffing and overhead costs and therefore price their items on the higher side.

"That is why I usually find my best bargains in independent charity shops in village and town locations."

Dereham Times: Caroline said people shouldn't be afraid to browse other sections, ask staff to check the back or feeling for the quality of itemsCaroline said people shouldn't be afraid to browse other sections, ask staff to check the back or feeling for the quality of items (Image: Caroline Butler)

5. Never be afraid to ask if they have things ‘out the back’

"95pc of the time, charity shop staff and volunteers are amazingly kind and helpful.

"If there is something you’re particularly interested in and they don’t seem to have it in the shop – ask if they have something suitable in the back room. They might!"

6. Brands and labels

"Look for things that will stand the test of time. If you’re already aware of good and classic fashion brand names, keep your eyes peeled for them. 

"Also, look for fabric labels that say '100pc leather', '100pc cotton', '100pc silk', 'linen' or 'cashmere'. These will tell you if an item is of good quality."

7. Sizing

"When it comes to clothing, never go by sizes. Sizes vary from brand to brand.

"Plus, if people have donated items to charity shops that have been through the wash – there is a possibility that they may have shrunk." 

Dereham Times: Her favourite 'second-hand' find is her rescue dog, AnnieHer favourite 'second-hand' find is her rescue dog, Annie (Image: Caroline Butler)

8. Occasionwear

"Charity shops are fantastic places for occasionwear - people often buy things for a wedding or event, wear them once, and then donate them to a charity shop.

"You can pick up some fantastic party outfits for a snip of their original price."

9. Board games and puzzles 

"I frequently come across good brand names in these departments, some of which are new or sealed.

"These include Marvel, DC, Fisherprice, Hasbro and Ravensburger."