10 Reasons To Op Shop

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Today’s guest post from Bek M:

Today’s guest post (KiKi & Tea’s first!) brought to you by Bek

Op shopping (Opportunity shopping, or thrifting if you don’t live in Australia), is one of my favourite things to do. I sometimes run across disbelievers in my social travels, so I thought I’d give you 10 point a run down of why op shopping is so great.

1. 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 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. By buying from op shops we interrupt the cycle of buy, use, throw away.

2. Saves 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 piece new? Why buy brand new clothes for your children that they’ll 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 homewares when the same things are available in the op shops where they are cheaper, built to last and have character?

3. 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 and the profits go towards the programs. So shopping there helps everyone out.

Great finds for the little girls in my life. $4 for the candy dress, $2 for the teddy dress.

4. Gives an alternative to 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 inappropriate things. Op shops have a variety of clothes from eras and seasons, and homewares with character and quirk. I have much more luck finding clothes I like for my boys there than in mainstream stores.

5. Provides a higher satisfaction/purchase ratio

At any time, the average person can go to a mainstream 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 to the experience of finding a brand new skirt at the op shop, still with its price tag of $39.99, for $5. Patiently visiting op shops every week until you find that perfect jacket that fits you beautifully, for a mere $8. Finding some beautiful vintage wooden well made toys for your children, for $1. I know which experience I value more!

6. Can offer better quality

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 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 t-shirt.

7. Encourages the development of patience, creativity and 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! 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.

8. 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.

Mum's brass nutcracker crocodile. My boys love it.

9. Offers more variety

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…

This post first appeared here.

Photo 1 found on The Charity Shop Hop.
Photo 2 & 3 taken by Bek 

  • http://music.johnanthonyjames.com/ John James

    I have to admit, I struggle with the whole “these clothes have a history” aspect to buying clothes at Op Shops…I know, I know…they are cleaned…and I can get them cleaned myself if I’m still worried…but I still can’t hide the fact that someone else “wore these clothes” before me…

    To complicate matters further, my partner R donated some clothes recently to a local Op Shop…a week later we saw our next door neighbour wearing them…awkward…

    • Rose Russo

      Oh JJ… I laughed so hard at your last sentence! How awkward indeed!!

    • Mandi Aylmore

      Someone else wore those clothes . . . They may have even farted in them too!

      Ewwwwwwww

      Sorry, had to go there :)

      • http://tamsinhowse.com/blog Tamsin Howse

        Heh heh heh…

    • Dionne

      A local designer, who uses vintage fabrics, posted something very funny on her Facebook Page today. She admitted to buying a purse from an op shop that took her fancy and later realised she had actually donated the item 2 weeks before. Awkward? No. Funny? Yes.

      • http://tamsinhowse.com/blog Tamsin Howse

        That is pretty hilarious… And so something I would do.

    • http://tamsinhowse.com/blog Tamsin Howse

      I struggle with that too!! But I have to say, Bek just might have me convinced… 😉

  • Bek M

    Yes I have had some people tell me that aspect of op shopping freaks them out. I love the idea that my clothes have a history. Wow what are the odds of your next-door neighbour finding buying those clothes? Awkward indeed. Or you could just say she has good taste.
    😉
    I generally find in my city that there are so many op shops, the likelihood of wearing something one of your friends donated is slim to none.
    I did have the surreal experience of seeing my old wedding dress hanging in my local op shop (I had donated it a while ago). But it was nice- I hope someone else can use it and get some joy out of it.

  • Kell

    Great article Bek! I LOVE op-shopping. My favourite things to buy are toys for the kids. It means they can get good quality new toys regularly and when I’m sick of them I can just donate them back!

    My latest super buys are a desk for my boys that is very cute (white with stars cut out on the sides) for $6, a dollhouse for my little girl with 3 dolls for $10 and a box of dollhouse furniture for $3.

    The thrill of finding something really good is SO much better than paying full price!

    • Bek M

      Thanks Kell! Sounds like you got some great bargains. I love buying toys for the kids too, and their clothes. :-)

  • http://www.alibibyally.com Alyssa Robinson

    I don’t op shop half as often as I would like to, but I LOVE the thrill of finding something amazing in an op shop. It’s like treasure hunting!