One of my pleasures is op shopping. I enjoy looking at all the pre loved items for sale. One just never knows what one will come across. Some days I don't buy anything but I enjoy looking at the variety of goods.
In times gone past people often felt shopping in op shops was only for those who were financially disadvantaged. This idea is changing and many women who like to buy vintage clothing spend time browsing the racks. Others look for quirky crockery and knick knacks. Those who are environmentally conscious may choose to spend their money in thrift shops rather than purchasing new items. The money spent in op shops goes to various charities and this is another reason to support the move to buying pre-loved items.
I have bought many items from op shops over the years. It makes it possible for me to vary the way I decorate my house at a small cost. One of my favourite things is vases. I love to display flowers, dried weeds, gum leaves and gum nuts in an attractive pottery vase.
Gum nuts and leaves displayed in an op shop purchased vase. Image by Marie Vonow
Years ago there were few op shops. Sometimes you would stumble across one in a church hall or a run down shop. Often you had to rummage through cardboard boxes of all sorts of clothes of various sizes and in varying conditions in the hope of finding something suitable for your needs.
These days there are more thrift shops and they are run by a variety of charities. The clothes are usually sorted and hung on racks labelled to show size, women's, men's or children's clothing. Further labelling may show where to find short sleeved tops, long sleeved blouses, trousers, jackets and so forth.
I appreciate the effort volunteers have gone to with sorting clothes so it is easier for me to find something in my size. I have noticed there are many more clothes available in larger sizes than was the case thirty or so years back and this makes it more likely I will find something that fits.
One of the good things about buying a second hand item of clothing is that if it is going to stretch or shrink it will have done so by the time it gets to the op shop. If it has been washed a few times it will have lost any colour it is going to and won't run in my wash.
I have found many great items of clothing in op shops at a fraction of the new price. If I want to try a different 'look' or colour and am unsure whether it is 'me' I am happy to spend $4 or $5 at an op shop but I wouldn't want to spend $60 plus at a shop selling new clothes.
Many items in addition to clothes can be bought from op shops. New items may be for sale too. Some of the larger stores sell furniture as well.
Prices vary between different organisations. Some shops give a discount on a particular day of the week to those with a concession or student card. The Salvos have a variety of colours for their price tags. Each week items with a different coloured tag are half price.
Salvos have a loyalty card to encourage people to shop with them. My local Community House has a great op shop, including a well stocked shed out the back. They have a loyalty card and at the moment all pre loved items are $2 or less. I have enjoyed a couple of sessions browsing recently and because they have a good turnover of items there is always something new to look at.
Many op shops have end of the season sales which makes it easy to pick up some real bargains. Sometimes thrift shops have boxes or racks of items for free. You can't beat that price.
Image by Marie Vonow
I donate any unwanted goods to one of the op shops in my local area. It makes me happy to know someone else may get a chance to use something I no longer need and the money goes to a good cause.
A couple of months ago I went on an op shop tour organised by a group I belong to. It was lots of fun, especially as our leader took us to stores I had never visited before in different suburbs. Yes, op shopping is one of the many pleasures in my life.