You thrifty thing

Let me unpack for you the world of Op-shopping; it's kind of my thing.

Photo by  Crew  on  Unsplash

Photo by Crew on Unsplash


Anyone who knows me personally will most likely already know this about me. I’m thrifty. I freakin’ love a good op shop.

Luckily for me, there’s one on every corner these days. You can stroll in, gander amongst racks of preloved clothing, and search for your next diamond in the rough.

Sometimes you come out with nothing. Other days you score a designer label for ten bucks!

Because I’m no longer working, I can’t afford to keep up with the latest fashion trends as much as I would like. If you’re in the same boat – READ ON!

I can show you a whole new world. Shining, shimmering, splendor.

Alright, I’m a little obsessed. I just need you to know how great Op shopping can be. Sure, it might smell like old people and also be full of old, ugly items that people hated so much they gave away, but there are treasures in Op shops too, I promise you. I PROMISE YOU.

Here are a couple of my thrifty tips, as well as a few of my favourite finds.

Op shop finds: Parka $8.00, Turtleneck $5.00

Op shop finds: Parka $8.00, Turtleneck $5.00

Make your money productive

Op shopping is great for numerous reasons. Not only is it good for your bank account, but it is a sustainable way to get a new wardrobe and support a cause you believe in. Op shops are mostly affiliated with not-for-profit organisations like the SPCA, St John’s, the Salvation Army, the NZ Hospice, and local churches. Why not make your money productive?

While I purchase from Op Shops, I donate to them too, and it all goes round in one big productive circle.

Have something in mind

You can easily be overwhelmed arriving at an Op Shop for the first time. There are clothes, there is furniture, there’s toys, plates, sports equipment. You could find ANYTHING there. I could easily loose myself in an Op shop for an entire day. Easily.

That’s why it’s important to have a purpose for your trip. Perhaps you’re (like me) always looking for something to add to your wardrobe. Perhaps you need a couch. Perhaps you need a piece of artwork.

Let’s be honest, you’ll probably get distracted and come out with something entirely different while you’re there, but at least you started out with a purposeful intention.

Op shop finds: White tee $1.00, Summer dress maybe $12.00... I got it four or five years ago!

Op shop finds: White tee $1.00, Summer dress maybe $12.00... I got it four or five years ago!

Op shop finds: Striped tank $5.00, Tulle skirt $8.00

Op shop finds: Striped tank $5.00, Tulle skirt $8.00

Know where the best places are

Do a quick google for “local Op shops” and a few of the most frequented shops in your area will show up in your search. It’s also a great thing to ask on a public Facebook community group, or your especially thrifty friends. You might be surprised at how many others are frequently op-shopping.

Here are a couple of my favourites:

Know how to search

In regards to clothing, I’ve learned over the years that it becomes tiresome looking through every item on the racks and racks within the shop. Here’s what you need to do to find the gems:

  1. Look for interesting textures, white, black and other on-trend trend colours.
  2. Search by size. Don’t visit a rack that offers a size smaller than what you fit and only visit a rack one size up from your usual size (unless you’re looking for an oversized item like a large shirt or t-shirt)
  3. Skim and skip. The faster you look, the better it will feel when you finally find something that catches your eye. Basically, there’s no point spending hours trying to find sub-par items.
  4. Be daring! This stuff is dirt cheap. Why not try a style that is a little more daring than your usual? I would never spend money on the oversized blazer trend, but when it’s this cheap, why not give it a try?
Op shop finds: Coat $30.00, Cashmere skivvy $12.00, Floral skirt $8.00

Op shop finds: Coat $30.00, Cashmere skivvy $12.00, Floral skirt $8.00

Op shop find: Spotty Tee Dress $8.00

Op shop find: Spotty Tee Dress $8.00

Stick to the rules

Op shops are full of treasures, but also full of junk. Stick to these rules to make sure you don’t just come out with a bunch of crap.

  1. Under no circumstances purchase underwear or lingerie. Like come on. No. Don’t.
  2. Do not purchase anything that looks slightly worn or broken, no matter how stylish it seem at the time. No one should know you’re wearing a secondhand item just by looking at you (It’s when they say “I love your dress!” that you can reply over-excitedly “THANKS, IT WAS $10!”)
  3. Don’t get too caught up - shopping is still shopping. Don’t become an op-shop-a-holic and buy heaps of stuff you don’t need because you will still regret it later.
  4. Don’t complain to the staff members about pricing or further discounts. Remember, your purchase is for a good cause and you’re already getting a great deal. If you think something should be further discounted due to damage, refer back to point no 2.
  5. Donate as well as purchase. Every wardrobe needs a clear out at least once a season. Pass on your unwanted goods and donate them to your favourite shop.