Monday, October 11, 2010

Great reasons to op-shop

Hello! Welcome to the first post of my op shopping blog!

Op shopping (or thrift shopping if you don't live in Australia), is one of my favourite things to do.
While perusing thrift shopping blogs during the school holidays, I realised that I was halfway to a blog already- I took photos of my finds, and raved about them to long-suffering friends. Now I have the opportunity to share my finds with the op/thrift community, which will make for less glazed-over eyes and surreptitious edging away from my enthusiasm...I hope.

2 great finds for the little girls in my life. I only have boys, so I'm grateful to my mum friends for allowing me to indulge the need to buy pretty girl clothes. Don't you love the candy stripes on the pink dress? The dress on the right has a gorgeous pattern of little teddies. $4 for the candy dress, $2 for the teddy dress.

I thought I'd start my blog with all the great reasons to op-shop. Of course, YOU already know all this, but now you'll have something to show to your skeptical friends and family.

10 Great Reasons to Op Shop

1.   It is ethical and environmentally friendly

Being ethical and kind to the environment is so "in" right now, but we've been doing it for years. Buying clothes at the op shops cuts out the worry of whether or not it was made in a sweat shop. Buying second hand clothes and goods is recycling, keeping stuff out of the landfills. We interrupt the cycle of buy, use, throw away.

2.   It saves you money

The obvious one. Why buy brand-new clothes for hundreds of dollars when you can buy a whole new wardrobe for the cost of one of those brand-new clothes? Why buy brand-new clothes for your children that they grow out of in 6 months, when you can stock their drawers full of op-shop goodness for a quarter of the price? Why buy brand new items of furniture and home ware when the same things are available in the op shops where they are cheaper, built to last and have character?

3.   It supports charity work

All the money you spend goes towards helping others less fortunate in your community. Some people suggest that op shop merchandise should be left for only the truly needy. But this is not correct as op shops have tons of merchandise they need to move, so shopping there helps everyone out.

4.   It gives you an alternative to the mainstream

I don't know about you, but sometimes I find the latest fashions and trends truly boring. Or they don't suit my style or my body type. I often struggle to find clothes for my boys that aren't covered with annoying slogans, skulls or other non-appropriate things. Op shops have a variety of clothes from eras and seasons, and home wares with character and quirkiness. I have much more luck finding clothes I like for my boys there than in the mainstream stores.

My mum's op shop find- a quirky brass crocodile. His jaws move and snap together. My boys love this guy. 

5.   It provides a higher satisfaction/purchase ratio than in the mainstream stores

At any time, the average person can go to a store, find at least one item of clothing/shoes/homewares they like, buy it and take it home. Instant gratification, instant satisfaction. But how much satisfaction, really? Compare that experience to finding a brand new skirt at the op shop, still with its price tag of $39.99, for $5. Or patiently visiting the op shops every week until you find that perfect jacket that fits you beautifully, for a mere $8. Or finding some beautiful vintage wooden well-made toys for your children, for $1. I know which experience I would value more.

6.   It can offer better quality than the mainstream stores

Most of the clothes in an op shop have been worn and played in by their previous owners. They've gone through the washing machine many a time, before ending up in the store. Therefore, you know that these clothes will not disintegrate in the first wash, or shrink. Clothes that have survived to make it to the op shop are generally of a better quality that your average sweatshop shrink-in-the-wash t-shirt.

7.   It encourages the development of patience, creativity, delayed gratification

Browsing through every single item of clothing on the rack, looking for something that catches your eye. Flipping through every book in the children's section. Coming back to the shop each week, patiently searching for treasures. And what a thrill when your patience is rewarded with a great find! And how much more do you value what you have been looking for, when gratification has been denied? Creativity is developed as you think of how to use your new finds, how to alter that dress, giving a new coat of paint to an old item of furniture, using old cards, pictures and buttons for your craft projects. You're only limited by your imagination.

A beautiful silver-plated brooch picked up in my favourite country town op shop.

8.   It offers the opportunity to experiment

Maybe you've never worn a shirt in that colour before. Or a dress in that style. Maybe you spy something you'd like to dye a different colour, or some furniture you could alter. Take the chance and see what happens! Unlike mainstream stores, if the experiment doesn't work, you're only out of pocket in gold coins.

9.   It offers more variety than the current trends

Op shops stores can potentially have anything. What kind of store has clothing, books, furniture, jewelry, knick knacks, all in the one place? Every option for the style you prefer can potentially be there for the finding. If you don't like the current trend, go have a look in the op shop!

10. It's fun!

Op shopping is like treasure hunting. You have the thrill of shopping without the guilt of maxing out the credit card. The anticipation of not knowing what lies inside, but it could be something wonderful....


Catherine said...

Yup - I'm a fan! Love op-shopping, and do it every 6 months to keep apace with my rapidly-sprouting 10 yo boy!

GM said...

Agree with every point! Although op shopping is on hold/reduced at the moment as it doesn't work with 2 kids under two!

Bek ( said...

Op shopping is so hard with kids, isn't it? I'm finding it easier now with A in school, I can go with just R, strapped into the stroller. Or in the holidays my parents run interference while I browse. :-)

Juls said...

Went to the local Vinnies recently to drop off a whole heap of stuff including childrens clothing and unused toys and came away with several lovely books that I hadn't read yet and a video for hubby of Red Dwarf Bloopers. If I'd let the kids roam free they would have picked lots of toys to bring home but explained that we were giving toys this time not taking!! Total cost to purse $6, benefit to my kids in clearing out their toys for other children - priceless!!

Bek ( said...

That's awesome Juls, well done!

Thrifted Treasure said...

Well put! I love op shopping for all the reasons you mentioned too ;-)