BEING FRUGAL ISN'T CHEAP
IT'S MAKING SMART CHOICES ABOUT WHAT
YOU SPEND YOUR MONEY ON.
Some people seem to have no idea how to op shop. And yes, if you don't have the patience to trawl though loads of stuff in search of a treasure then it's not going to be your happy place, that's for sure. While some op shops are set out in a highly organised manner, many prefer the more chaotic approach. Either way, you'll need a bit of time and fortitude to give it a red hot go.
FIrstly, think about what you are looking for. If it's kid's clothes, there's usually a section set aside just for this. Shoes, likewise. China and glass, tick. Records/CDs/DVDs and books might be somewhere else. Kitchen stuff - yes. Furniture - usually in the bigger stores. Sometimes the sheer volume of stuff can be overwhelming - in which case sticking to one category can help you focus and avoid running screaming from the premises.
Some op shops have special deals on different days of the week. The Salvo's Stores offer cut prices on clothes with certain colour price tags between Mon-Wed. Many Vinnies stores have a colour coded tag each day that is 50% off. If they don't advertise a deal on an item, don't ask. It's annoying for the (usually voluntary) staff when people try and bargain what is already selling at discounted prices. You might think something has been way over-priced (yes, guilty of this myself - well-used girls' Nike sneakers at one of my locals were $30 and I found this a total joke!) just walk away..... deep breath.... let it go....
Here's a few of my latest finds to give you some inspiration!
CLOTHING: My working wardrobe has been dormant for over a decade now. Luckily, thanks mostly to op shopping, I had a good amount of quality items to draw on - but it definitely needed a revamp this term when i got a 4-day a week real job (as opposed to my op shopping job, which as you know, wasn't a real job).
So what did I look for? Some versatile dresses that can be dressed up or down - work suitable but fun too. I don't have many prints - but that's the beauty of op shopping - you find yourself trying on things you would never spy in normal shopping land.
One of these is a homemade dress, fully lined and fits me perfectly, bar the sleeves which are a little tight. One dress is vintage and made in France. The third dress is a high-end Australian brand that I could never afford new. I love them all - can you pick from the descriptions which is which?
The leather shoes appear to be brand new. Again, not what I'd look for normally - but fit beautifully and I just love the colour. They are leather with a rubber sole so super comfy too. They cost $20 which is quite a bit for me in op shop dollars, but would hardly buy you anything in normal shopping land.
These red leather sandals are made in Spain and give me hope that when winter (finally) ends I'll be strutting around with a definite spring in my step! They were $7.50.
CHINA: I love these little floral Made in England butter dishes. Perfect for keeping coins/jewellry/soaps in. I never pay more than a few dollars for them and they make lovely little birthday gifts for friends when the budget is tight.
ART: Maybe your mantle lacks a regal touch? I was chuffed to find this vintage print of the Queen in a gilt frame complete with a (slightly cracked) gold crown.
When I saw this I knew I was a monarchist and that it is a keeper.
CHINA AGAIN: Sometimes you just want a nice mug for hot cocoa. This beauty was made in Copenhagen.
But I bought it from an op shop.
Come to think of it, that's not as fun as going to Copenhagen to buy it, but still - op shoppers can't always get everything they want.
That takes patience.