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 …
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)
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.