You never need to convince me to go to an op-shop to seek out a bargain. I love them, and I always have. Garage sales too – but that’s a whole other post just waiting to be written – or typed??
I do think there is a bit of a knack to op-shopping if you are wiling to invest the time.
1. Don’t think that you will buy something every time you walk into a secondhand shop. Some smaller op-shops get “new” stock in every day – the bigger ones like the Salvos or Good Sammy’s get stock in usually once a week. It pays to find out what day that is, and what day the stock makes it out to the floor.
2. Be nice to the staff. They are usually volunteers – especially in the little church run operations. Or they could be someone with special needs. And don’t forget you don’t have to look different to have special needs.
3. Don’t buy cheap labels as you could possible buy them for the same price when they were on special in the big chain stores. ie a t-shirt from Cotton-On could be sold for $2 at the end of season – why buy it for $4 at the op-shop?
4. Ask if there are any clearance racks – or if in the Salvo’s or Good Sammy’s, what colour ticket is half/price that day. Then maybe only look for that colour… maybe – just saying :)
5. Have some sort of plan about what you are looking for. ie an orange cardigan (that’s on my list at the moment) but don’t be on a mission to find only that item.
6. Look for quality fabrics and brands. As you flick through the coat hangers, flick to designs that you like, flick past collars or lengths that you don’t – or even just flick through looking for particular brands. If you know what designs/brands/styles you have enjoyed wearing before – or your kids – look for that! Also, knowing what designs are “in” helps. At the moment – anything flouro (if you have a teenager), polka dot or geometric design. Oh – and bold, colour blocking. So anything bright and plain.
7. Head for the hills – literally! Don’t think that heading to an op – shop in Subiaco will be any better than one in Armadale. The best op-shop I ever go to? The Anglicare one on Railway Ave, Kelmscott. Country towns often have great little op-shops too. Apparently not Albany though…
8. If you are buying games or puzzles – count all the pieces (within reason of course!) or ask if there is a return policy – the staff will often help you out counting!
9. Scan and look up! Have a look around the top displays for items. Often the nice stuff is up there!
10. If you are crafty – look for the haberdashery section. Patterns often go for 50c a piece – and lots of vintage styles are coming back in. Material remnants, zips, balls of wool and buttons often lurk in nondescript bins and at a much cheaper cost than Spotlight! Peruse through the linen as well – you never know what people throw out – I scored a brand new Enjo floor fibre (still in the bag) for $3 last year. Yes, I know….don’t send me hate mail.
11. If you are not sure – don’t buy it. If your kids turn up their nose – don’t buy it.
Op-shopping is a lot of fun, and it allows you to bring a quirky, not off the shelf look to your wardrobe or home. Then, when you are game – have an op-shop trawl with some friends. Designate a route to a few op-shops and spend a morning together. Set a limit on how much you can spend – but of course there can be one “special” item allowed – for that chair you’ve wanted for the study, or that mirror for the bathroom. Better than shopping in DJ’s or Myer any day!
Oh – and I was serious about number 11 and your kids. There once was a little girl whose mum bought her a purple woollen skirt and a matching purple blouse (which had a HUGE lacy collar thingy…) and the little girl hated it, it was too itchy and the collar to restrictive, but her mum thought it was lovely – and perfect for the school photos the next day. For the rest of the (not so little anymore) girls life, she will wince when she looks at her year four class photo. Ooh, the drama that day!!
✿✿✿ ✿✿✿ ✿✿✿
If you like Mr Bean – make sure you check this out.
Hope your day is grand!