Op shop do’s and don’ts

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One of the best … Come Fly With Me Lola Vintage

I like to think of myself as the Op Shop Whisperer or, at the very least, a well-seasoned thrifter with a library voice. So when I hear tales of misadventure at second-hand stores, garage sales and markets, I feel a bit selfish that maybe I too am holding on to something that needs to be recycled. So, thrifters, here are my secrets to successful op shopping …

Do’s

1. Find out your local’s drop off day. I happened upon this gem just recently whilst eavesdropping. A customer was searching for a wetsuit (of all things) and the shop assistant kindly suggested they pop back on Wednesday ‘when the delivery truck arrives’. Bingo!

2. Take it slow — real slow. You’re going to have to search through boxes, untangle beads and try on dozens of clothes before you strike gold.

3. Visit op shops when you’re on holiday. But what about the Eiffel Tower? Trust me, it can wait. I’ve found some of my best bargains while travelling interstate and overseas. Op shopping ain’t just a hobby, it’s a way of life. Take the show on the road and you’ll be amazed what you’ll find.

4. Accept referrals. If Barb from Accounts bought that bolero at Vinnies on the weekend, you’ve got to get yourself down there on your lunch break. Doctor’s orders. (… oh and speaking of referrals, check out Come Fly With Me Lola Vintage, snapped above)

Don’ts

1. Sorry, but you can’t take a mate with you. Fly solo at all times. I know it sounds harsh but the harsh reality is multi-tasking never works. Coffee catch ups are strictly for cafes. In this environment, you need to closely examine garments for holes, dyes and other dust ups. Any slip in attention could result in a purchase that’ll be making its way back to the thrift store quicker than you can say ‘what did I buy that for’?

2. No shopping lists allowed. Don’t ever go op shopping with the intention of buying a blue cotton dress with spaghetti straps and a thin yellow belt … you get the idea. Remember, an op shop isn’t curated like a department store. You gotta use a little elbow grease to get the rewards. Fashion, furniture, works of fiction … it pays to search it all.

3. Avoid all delays. If you ponder over that black leather jacket wedged between the fake fur and the fringed poncho, it will vanish before your very eyes. Inevitably, someone will be browsing behind you, just waiting to pounce on that black beauty.

4. Don’t come ill-prepared for ill-covered change rooms. I’ve spent too many anxious moments in too many ramshackle change rooms and I don’t want you to be ‘exposed’ to such embarrassment.

I’m always looking to add to my list of A1 op shops. Know any? Care to share?

Linking up today with With Some Grace for Flog Your Blog Friday.

18 Comments

  • Reply September 16, 2016

    merilyn

    always love your take on things thanks tonia!
    totally agree with those tips! they are gold hun!
    I am a seasoned op shopper myself and have found wonderful things!
    I have the hunter archetype in me i’m sure!
    lately though the prices have risen rather steeply at some outlets!
    not happy about that!
    we have a church op shop which is brilliant!
    one goes on a Tuesday because the are closed on Monday sorting and putting out new stock! … I have a huge bag ready to be repurposed myself!
    btw I miss your posts lovely!
    much love m:)X

    • Reply September 16, 2016

      Tonia

      Oh, you’re a gem Merilyn! Thank you. I’m hoping to blog a little more frequently in the coming weeks. Unfortunately the last few months have been so busy, the poor blog has been a bit neglected! Hey, glad to hear you’re a kindred spirit when it comes to op shopping – sounds like you have a beauty near you too, which is good to hear. I’ve also been doing a bit of a clean out of late. I took a couple of bags down just yesterday. Have a great weekend. Hope spring has sprung where you are! x

  • Reply September 16, 2016

    Hilary

    love it Tonia !! hopefully I can find some good op shops on sunshine coast next week.

    • Reply September 16, 2016

      Tonia

      Oh, don’t you worry, I think I know someone who can help you out with that! Stand by x

  • Reply September 16, 2016

    Nicole @ The Builder's Wife

    I loved op shopping for clothes when I was younger, now I really love op shopping for nick knacks especially anything old or antique for our home. Great tips here, thank you 🙂

    • Reply September 16, 2016

      Tonia

      Yes, I love hunting for homewares too. I have a beautiful blue and white vase that apparently is worth a pretty penny but I just bought it because I thought it was pretty. Maybe I need to go on Antiques Roadshow one of these days!

  • Reply September 16, 2016

    Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit

    Wow. That first don’t surprised me. But I can see why you included it. Nice one!

    • Reply September 16, 2016

      Tonia

      Yes, it’s a tricky business this op shopping but, trust me, fly solo! Thanks for stopping by. Have a lovely weekend (hopefully with a spot of op shopping).

  • Reply September 16, 2016

    inthegoodbooksblog

    I love op shopping!!! I especially love scouring the bookshelves for books, both old and new, and I am happy to say that I have scored some amazing bargains! I agree with your Do’s and Don’ts 100% 🙂

    • Reply September 16, 2016

      Tonia

      Too true! I have had lots of lovely reads, courtesy of my local op shops. Actually, a couple of them stock glossy mags too – perfect for lazy weekends. Thanks for popping over this way. Hope you get to do some relaxing (and reading) this weekend.

  • Reply September 16, 2016

    Emily

    Great tips! I really need to work out where the good op shops are in Melbourne. I’m a total novice.

    • Reply September 16, 2016

      Tonia

      I’ve got one word for you, Emily. SAVERS. I really love the one on Sydney Road in Brunswick. Be sure to block off a couple of hours. It’s HUGE, good thing there are plenty of coffee shops nearby. You’ll need to take a break (or two). Or is that just me? Either way, get down there. You’ll love it!

  • Reply September 16, 2016

    Ness

    I love op shops but I always head straight for the books. Need to check out the clothes more too. Thanks for the tips!

    • Reply September 16, 2016

      Tonia

      Pleasure, treasure. I know what you mean. It’s very easy for me to get trapped in the book section too! Have a great weekend.

  • Reply September 17, 2016

    Denyse Whelan Blogs

    I am not (yet) an op shop fan. I now live in an area where there is one on every corner and even though I have donated a lot of now too big clothes, I just cant get back in just to browse. I will though ! You’ve inspired me. PS actually I did buy 2 CDs recently.

    • Reply September 18, 2016

      Tonia

      ‘One on every corner’ … now that’s a neighbourhood in which I’d feel right at home. Funny you mention CDs, I recently dropped off two boxes of CDs to my local op shop! Hope you’re having a nice weekend, thanks for popping over my way.

  • Reply September 19, 2016

    Grace

    Great tips! I love op-shopping for clothes! The only problem is that I just don’t have the time these days to do it properly. I could spend hours and hours in a Vinnie’s.

    • Reply September 20, 2016

      Tonia

      Just aren’t enough days in the week. I hear you, lovely Grace.

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