Beginner’s guide to op-shopping

SJ shares her insider knowledge with this beginner's guide to op-shopping

Beginner’s guide to op-shopping

As many of our readers have mentioned in comments on my previous Style Watch articles, op-shops are a wonderful alternative to chain stores, and after the weekend I tend to agree. On Saturday night I found myself in a situation not uncommon to many women. Not only was one of my friends wearing the same Zara skirt as me, but another girl had on the same statement necklace I had chosen to wear. I was not a happy camper. I know some people like to fit in, but not me, I want to stand out.

Which leads me to why you would op-shop. Not only will it ensure you do not end up accidentally ‘twin-styling’ with a stranger (I’m still scarred from my mother’s matching outfits for my sister and I growing up), but it is also a way to kill two birds with one stone and help out those in need while shopping.

Below is a beginner’s guide to op-shopping, as I would by no means consider myself an expert in the field.

  1. Op-shop merchandise comes from two sources; second hand donations from the public and overstock, obsolete and faulty items from commercial stores.
  2. While some of the profits go back into maintaining the op-shops themselves, the majority of the proceeds are used for charitable purposes.
  3. It’s always a good idea to do your research beforehand on the op-shop(s) you intend to visit. Find an op-shop near you.
  4. Like other shops, many op-shops receive their stock deliveries on specific days each week. Call the op-shop(s) you want to visit and find which day this is for them as with op-shopping it’s literally first in, best dressed.
  5. It’s a good idea to go through your wardrobe and work out what pieces you actually need and make a list of what you’re looking for so you have some direction when you get there.
  6. Not all op-shops will have eftpos facilities so it’s a good idea to have enough cash so that you’re not caught short at the register.
  7. Once you arrive at the shop, make sure you have a thorough look through each section. Keep in mind what you are looking for but be prepared for the fact that some items will jump out at you and are worth considering too.
  8. For clothing and shoes always check the size, material and deterioration. Minor faults can be overlooked but major stains, discolouration, fraying seams, tears and smells cannot. Likewise a size or two out is probably fine but if it requires major alterations it’s probably not worth your time.
  9. Assess the items in terms of longevity, usefulness and care. Can you maintain what you are buying? Make sure you check the care tag if there is one attached.
  10. Don’t buy something just because it is cheap. There is no point saving clothing from landfill only to turn your house into an episode of Hoarders.

Next Style Watch I will be reporting back on how I go trying my luck at some op-shops to see what I can unearth.  Are you a veteran op-shopper with tips for SJ? 





    COMMENTS

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    bluemoon
    19th Jul 2013
    1:58pm
    I sometimes go for a browse,but find some of the OP shops are becoming expensive, when you can buy new garments, and shoes, at K mart and Target.Best & Less Kmart have some tops on sale for $3 to $6 dollars,same with casual pants and shoes.
    KKKKatie
    19th Jul 2013
    8:04pm
    I am a keen op-shopper, going back years and years. I recently bought a navy blue overcoat, a classic style, made in England (and therefore thicker), pure wool with a bit of camelhair, for $30. I have a lot of Fletcher Jones things, though perhaps that doesn't stand for anything now they don't exist any more. In the past I have found great stuff, even a Balenciaga dress once.
    catsahoy
    19th Jul 2013
    9:48pm
    I AM LUCKY THAT THERE ARE 5 CLOSE TO ME, I DONT GO IN ALL THE TIME, BUT DO LIKE TO BROZE, HAVE PICKED UP SOME GREAT BOOKS AND DVD THERE, ITS NOT JUST THE CLOTHING, I LOOK FOR UNUSUAL ORNAMENTS AND GLASSWARE, CAN FIND SOME GOOD THINGS, THE OLD SAYING 'ONE MANS TRASH IS ANOTHER MANS TREASURE' IS VERY TRUE,
    Michael
    19th Jul 2013
    10:10pm
    Don't shop in your own 'back yard'. Embarrassing when an acquaintance states "I had one like that but I donated it to the local op-shop"
    catsahoy
    20th Jul 2013
    10:22pm
    HA HA MICHAEL, HOW TRUE,
    rtrish
    21st Jul 2013
    12:17pm
    I have some great bargains, especially ones that just caught my eye and weren't what I was originally looking for. But don't buy it if you have to purchase other items to make it work, e.g. if you have to buy a particular colour tee or jacket to go with it.
    shele
    22nd Jul 2013
    5:45am
    When donating unwanted clothing etc to local charity shops, it is usually sent to their warehouse to sort and never sent back to that suburb so you are un likely to purchase something that a local has given> I have worked as volunteer in some op shops,& this is their practice. Yes, I often donate and yes, I often purchase clothes from op shops. Go on the days they have sales!It really is helping these causes and getting a bargain at same time. And yes, some are overpriced when KMart is so cheap nowadays...One gets to know which op shops to avoid due to high costs.Can get some good books, read them and take them back!

    12th Sep 2013
    8:49am
    When going shopping for clothing whether it be in an Op shop or any shop I always wear a button up blouse, shoes easy to slip on and off.
    Op Shop
    10th Feb 2014
    6:58pm
    Highly recommend having a look at OpShop.com.au an online Australian classified listing for op shops. Great place to find op shop listed vintage clothing and other items like vintage bicycles for sale.
    mishka
    12th Mar 2014
    9:36pm
    Salvation Army op shops (Salvos) in Melbourne have 15% off for pensioners on Tuesdays.
    Also every day they hav
    mishka
    12th Mar 2014
    9:39pm
    Continuing my comment - accidentally hit wrong key ....
    Every day Salvos stores have half-price specials for all items with a particular colour card.
    Carrot
    28th Jul 2017
    2:34pm
    There's nothing worse than buying an outfit only to see it worn by someone else (at the races). Then to add insult to injury the same outfit was chosen as a uniform by a she chain. I donated To local op shop it depends what you want. It's always worth checking Rivers, Target etc. the elastic in my Rivers knickers has failed, but a similar item from Target is still okay
    Carrot
    28th Jul 2017
    2:37pm
    I used to collect salt and pepper shakers and often found other items by the way


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