Anyone that knows me knows that the heading up there couldn’t possibly be referring to a post that I have written. I am HOPELESS (shouting that!) at finding the good stuff in op shops. Where a fab gal like Megan from The Byron Life can stroll in and snap up six covetable things in six minutes for six bucks, I will skulk around the aisles seeing dagginess everywhere and fretting that I’m dreadfully uncreative and uncool. So when a fab gal like Megan posts about her op shopping adventures, I just think “Wow, I wish I could do that, I’m so uncreative and uncool.”
Now, don’t mind me, I’m just off to my local Vinnies… over to you, Megan.
Let’s define this first, because what is op-shop gold to me will be different for you. I’m a big fan, for example, of 1970s ceramics and floral vintage bed sheets, but that’s not everyone’s style.
TIP: Don’t waste time flicking through the box of surfing mags in the op-shop when your kind of gold would be a vintage tablecloth.
2. Find the Goldmine.
Where do you shop? It’s no good looking in a dusty little op-shop that specialises in retro bric-a-brac (my dream op-shop, btw) when what you are really after is a brand-new designer skirt for $3. For that kind of gold you are better off seeking out an op- shop that has boutique-seconds and/or specialises in designer clothes only.
TIP: Get to know which op-shops hold the most promise of gold for you.
3. Be there, or miss out.
Op-shopping is a numbers game. The more you play, the greater your chances are of finding gold. You need to know where the op-shops are in your area and you’ll need to visit them regularly. Make a morning of it and trek through as many op-shops as you can in one go. Always keep in mind what kind of gold you are after and head towards the shops where you have had success before. Or, maybe you have been doing the same old circuit for too long and the gold has all dried up? It happens to the best of us. Never fear, grab your gold pan and start exploring some new op-shopping territory further afield if you’re able to.
TIP: Take an op-shop tour. Map out a route and make like a tourist in a different town or suburb to find new goldfields.
4. It’s all in the timing.
There are various theories about when is the best time to op-shop. Some have it that Monday and Tuesdays are The Golden Days – which makes sense because many goods are donated over a weekend. Of course, the danger in restricting yourself to a Tuesday is that Friday may be the day that the head op-shop lady declares a 50% off sale across the whole shop…
TIP: Whatever day you choose, I find hitting the op-shops early is the best trick – it’s less likely to be “picked over” by fellow gold seekers.
5. Get Creative.
For me, the best part of op-shopping is wandering around dreaming of the way I might transform op-shop “trash” into new treasure. I look at it with a creative eye: An old wool sweater can be made into a new pair of warm baby pants; a ripped retro sheet can be used to make a new toy-stroller cover or that 50c Little Golden Book can be turned into a new journal.
TIP: Treat op-shops like art/craft supply shops and let your creativity run wild.
6. All that Glitters is not Gold.
Just because it’s cheap, doesn’t mean you have to buy it. Given how affordable op-shopping is, there’s always the temptation to come home with a bag of treasures. But, if the clothes don’t fit, that toy can’t be fixed or that rug won’t suit your home – then all you’ve done is bought more clutter… and clutter is not gold.
TIP: Ask yourself this before you buy: Do I really need it? Will I really use it? Do I have space for it?
Most importantly: Have fun! Every time you buy from an op-shop you are saving yourself some money; you are recycling “stuff” that would otherwise go into landfill and your dollars will be supporting a charity – what’s not to love about that?