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First Rate Second Hand Buys

Hello everyone.  I’m so glad it is Friday.  This week was my first back from holidays and, boy-oh-boy, what a long week it was!  Work has been hectic and stress-filled and I don’t feel as though I have even just had a break.

It’s been a while since I did an op-shopping (thrifting) post so I thought I would show you some of the things I have picked up lately.  There is a lot more than is featured here but, in the interest of brevity and not wanting to scare myself with how much stuff I bought, I’ll just show a few.  A selection of goodies, if you will.

  1. Canvases – I recently participated in a school fete (had a little stall selling my cards and other wares) and, at the end of the day, the White Elephant stall was selling all its leftovers for $1.00 (fill a bag for one dollar!).  I had a quick look around and found some kids’ canvases – two sets of five.  The lady at the stall told me they were $3 a set and the price could not be reduced to the $1.00 special.  I figured $6.00 for ten canvases was still pretty awesome anyway, so I went to the counter to ask the lady to hold them for me while I went back to get some money.  Before I could ask her, she said “That’ll be one dollar love…”  I queried whether they should actually be the higher price and she assured me that no, they were reduced.  So I happily paid the dollar and went off with my purchases.  But it didn’t feel right.  So, after feeling guilty for a while, I went back and told the lady I didn’t think the price was correct – that I should have paid more.  She assured me it was ok but I felt bad, like I was ripping the fundraising off, so I gave her a few extra dollars anyway.  So, I think I paid $4.00 in the end for ten really good little canvases – nice and study, ready to paint over, ready to hang and everything.  I’ve already used a couple for paintings.

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2. Vintage soup bowl  – such a pretty little thing, this bowl.  I love the design, and how it is different on each side.  I liked the little bee on it 🙂  I saw the bowl outside an antique shop and I just had to have it.  It’s not in perfect condition, but for $5.00 I can look past that.  I will just use it as a display piece.

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3. Pink shoes – Very pink for me…but super comfy and soft.  I only wear leather if I can buy it second hand (because I’m a vego).  These shoes are tiny too.  I am sure my feet are shrinking.  These were only a size 5 (36).  Plus, they were half price so I only paid $3.00.

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4.  More canvases (and books) – I keep finding old canvases in op shops and, if they’re cheap enough, I snap them up.  Especially if they come in sets.  There’s a selection here – different shapes and sizes.  I also got a few old children’s books for cutting up.  I think this lot cost about $10.00 all up.

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5. Floral Jacket – I recently attended a friend’s wedding and I had to buy something appropriate to wear.  In my search for a nice jacket, I picked this one up for about $5.00.  I didn’t wear it to the wedding though (I borrowed my cousin’s faux leather one for that – it went with the navy blue dress I wore much better) but I will happily wear it to something else.  It’s quite fitted and cropped but nicely made and not too heavy.  Oh and please excuse the bandaged thumb.  My dermatillomania is a bit mental right now so I am picking my fingers to pieces.  Not very attractive.

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6. Books.  Mum and I went to the annual Save the Children Fund Book Sale.  We look forward to this every year.  It’s the highlight of Spring 🙂  This year they didn’t seem to have as much stock, which was a bit disappointing, but I still managed to pick up quite a few bargains.  The books ranged in price from 50c – $4.00 (unless they were antique etc).  I bought about 30 books for roughly $60.00.  I got lots of animal and bird titles, for cutting up for collage etc.  So many lovely birdies!  The “British Birds” volume features beautiful vintage images so I will probably not cut that one up – will colour copy instead.  So of the pics are worth framing.  Books make me happy!

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So, that’s just a few of the things I picked up over the course of a few months.  I love a bargain, but I am trying to only buy things I know I need or will use.  I don’t do the buying frenzies I used to do 🙂  I am trying to not fill my house with more crap, and just because something is cheap, doesn’t mean you necessarily need it.  Books are the exception, ha ha.  I always need those!

Thanks for stopping by x

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Being Yourself

Belated Happy Easter to you all 🙂  Did you indulge in a huge chocolate-fest, or were you restrained and just had a few little treats?  Did you spend time with family and friends, or take part in religious events?  Whatever you got up to, I hope you enjoyed yourselves and had a nice break.

I spent a lot of time with family and friends over the weekend, cleaned my house so it was fit for my Mum to visit and stay in for a couple of nights, and did some crafting.  I am still loving the Kelly Rae Roberts Unscripted series I have subscribed to.  It’s just makes me want to craft and create and DO STUFF.  I am nowhere near her standard of creativity and art, but it is very enjoyable just mucking about with paints and paper and having a go.  I am still rubbish at faces, but I keep trying and hope that some day I will get them just right!  If only people didn’t have eyes!  It would make everything so much simpler for me, at least in terms of drawing and painting (maybe not so much in real life though…) and I wouldn’t end up having tantrums, or just drawing a lot of people with closed eyes (which is my default position these days).

I had this little communion plaque (bought on a recent op-shopping trip for 50c) and I thought it would be perfect to paint over and repurpose.  It’s quite small – a little bigger than an iPhone – so perfect for me to do some crafting on!  Plus it had the little hanger on it so I didn’t need to worry about adding one myself.

I removed the picture that was already on it ( a communion poem and prayer) and sanded the wood back, then slapped on a layer of white Gesso, just to seal and give it a good working surface.  I then added paint in various colours to create a distressed, rubbed back look.  I used a soft green, some burgundy and a little bit of yellow – just dabbing and rubbing it on with my fingers.  When I was happy with the effect, I let it dry whilst figuring out what I was going to put on it.

I decided to draw my little lady on a separate piece of paper, paint her main features and then cut her out, to be glued and finished on the plaque itself.  I didn’t trust my drawing/painting skills to just add her straight to the wooden surface.  I adhered her with gel medium and then added flowers and wings cut from scrapbooking paper and vintage books.  The words were cut from old books or stamped (when I couldn’t find the word I wanted!) and I’m not quite satisfied with them, but they’re stuck on there now!  I might go over them with a bit of colour, just to make them look less “new” and pale.  I outlined here and there with black and white pencils to give some definition.

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I was a bit heavy-handed with the lady’s features – I was using a very fine black marker, but it was still too heavy.  I will do better next time! I’m happy with her top though – it came out very rustic looking and picks up the red colour in the background – and I’m glad I added the “me” heart as it needed an extra little something.

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So, all in all, I was pretty happy with my little lady.  I am trying to be myself and be ok with who that is.  Even if it means I am not the world’s greatest artist 🙂  I am still trying to find my “niche”, artistically speaking, so this is another part of the journey.  I will keep practicing faces and different techniques with paint and drawing and, in the meantime have a lot of messy fun doing it 🙂

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Thanks for stopping by – may you enjoy the freedom of being yourself,
whoever that is, today and always x

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Book Bargain Bonanza

I had a day off this week.  A glorious, nothing-scheduled, I-can-do-what-I-want day off.  Work has been very stressful, I’ve been having lots of migraines, and life just seemed a bit craptastic in general.  I’m always exhausted and just needed a break.  So, a day off was necessary, for my mental health if nothing else.

I got up early (not too early – it was a day off, after all!) and hit the op-shops.  I wanted to visit some I hadn’t been to before, and expand my “territory”.  I didn’t have much luck in finding anything good to start with, but eventually I hit book heaven at one particular Salvos store.  Lordy, lordy, they had the BEST book selection, AND it was in alphabetical order so you could actually search properly in the section you were interested in.

I am always on the lookout for Alice Hoffman titles.  She’s one of my favourite authors, but I never buy books new (who can afford them???!) so I have to wait until I find them in second hand shops.  Normally, I don’t find any of her books or, just as annoying, only ones I have already read and have in my shelf at home.  But on this day, dear readers, I found FIVE!  Woo!  I’d already read a couple of them, but I did snap up two for myself – White Horses, and The Museum of Extraordinary Things.  So happy!  I’m cross at myself because I left another one behind – Blue Diary – because I thought I had it at home, but then found that I didn’t.  You know you have too many books when you can’t remember what you have!  Hopefully it will still be there if I visit the shop again…but I’m glad to have found these two anyway 🙂

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Craft books are not always easy to come across in op-shops, and really nice ones are like hen’s teeth.  That’s why I was thrilled to find these two – French-Inspired Jewellery and The Adventurous Scrapbooker.  The latter has lots of off-the-page ideas for scrapbooks and similar projects.  I actually don’t like scrapbooking at all – I don’t do it and have never liked the concept of it – but there are always awesome ideas and techniques you can apply to other crafts.  So this book is great for that.  The jewellery book is gorgeous – not just for the pretty projects inside, but for the beautiful background layouts they have used for display.  Vintage papers and ephemera, ribbon and other embellishments make for beautiful pages, that are works of art in their own right.  So glad to have found this one!  Especially for the bargain price of $2.25!

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I love dogs.  I had them all my life, right up until I was in my 30s.  But now, with full-time work and a little house of my own, on my own, a dog just isn’t practical.  Maybe one day…sigh…  In the meantime, there are books like Rachel Hale’s 101 Salvations to keep me happy.  Rachel Hale’s photography is always a delight, and this book of doggy pictures is gorgeous.  I want to start doing some proper drawing and thought I might start with some canine-inspired sketches (might as well begin with a subject I know and love!) so I am hoping to use the photos as guides.  In any case, it is a beautiful book in excellent condition and, again, at only $2.25 – I’m sure the original RRP would have been well over $35.00 – I got another bargain.

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As I just mentioned, I am trying to improve my drawing skills (such as they are) and need all the help I can get.  So, with that in mind, I picked up this next book – You Can Draw in 30 Days. I’m not necessarily convinced I will only take 30 days, but hey, it’s a start.  I desperately want to be able to draw eyes so I am really hoping this book will help me.

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I also picked up a couple of titles for my Mum, who is a  voracious reader and is always running out of her own books to read.  So, all in all, a very successful visit to this particular op-shop.  I didn’t have room in my basket for anything else, which is probably a good thing.  Didn’t stop me from going to a few more op-shops afterwards though! 🙂

Hope you are having a good day – thank you for dropping by x

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Thrifty-Happy

Op-shopping (thrifting), as I have said many times before, is one of my favourite things to do.  Probably THE favourite thing to do, if I’m honest.  I love the element of surprise, of never knowing what you’re going to find.  I have learnt not to actually go in seeking a particular thing, because I won’t find it.  It’s more of a treasure hunt – and sometimes you don’t find any treasure.  Which can really suck 🙂

Recently, on my birthday week, when I had some time off work, I did a bit of solitary op-shopping.  I had nothing to do and nowhere to be except in the rows of second hand goodness.  The weather last week was dreadful – it’s the middle of Summer and it has been cold and rainy and blah.  Which is probably the best kind of weather for trying on clothes because you don’t get hot and sweaty and cranky.

I have recently put on quite a bit of weight which, aside from being really upsetting and depressing, means that a lot of my clothes don’t fit me.  Ugh.  Is there anything more blues-inducing than trying to squeeze into a skirt that USED to be baggy on you but now makes you look like an overstuffed sausage?  No, there is not.

So, I needed to buy a few more items of clothing that would a.) fit me and b.) be suitable for the weird weather we are having.  Longer sleeves were the order of the day, because it’s too cool for short ones, and my arms are hideous.  That’s right, I said it – HIDEOUS.  They should be hidden away in case they scare someone with their white flabbiness.  There should actually be a law against my arms – seriously.  They could incite people to revolt.

Anyway, I went op-shopping.  I found a really nice shop that I hadn’t been to before and it had a great selection of clothes – so much so that I found myself with a basketful just from the first rack.  Reasonably priced and in my size – what could be better?

So here’s what I got :

  1.  Nice, lightweight top for Summer days.  Beachy and bingo-wing covering!

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Beachy!

2.    Cute little jacket that is still cool enough for Summer, or I could even
wear it as a top – it’s a blousey sort of material.

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Hearts!

3.  Super-soft checked shirt.  I don’t normally get these because I can never find one that looks ok on me.  But this one fits perfectly, is SO SOFT and I loved the blue tones.  It’s good as a cover-up over a t-shirt, or on its own.  I channel Madonna in her “Don’t Tell Me” video when I am wearing it.  Don’t judge me.

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Checks!

4.  Was lucky to find this lovely Review top.  It probably retailed for at least $100 originally, and I got it for $7.  Can’t beat that!  A good one for work.

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Ladylike!

5.  At $10.25, this was perhaps a tad more expensive than I would normally go for in an op-shop.  But it was so pretty, and just what I need for my craft room to organise my paintbrushes, pens, papers etc.

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Shabby Chic!

6.  I found this teeny-weeny religious thingy for only 50c.  It’s about the size of two postage stamps.  So dinky!  I am going to cover it and collage over it and make it completely non-religious, but hey if it has some built-in blessings or divine protection, I won’t argue!  I wish I had been able to find more, so will have to be on the lookout for them.  I guess maybe they are a little travel thingy so you can take your faith with you or something?  Whatever, it’s cute.

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Upcycler!

7.  I snagged this cushion cover for a dollar.  Although it does have a store label on it, it is obviously handmade which neat, little stitches and imperfections.  It is very large so will actually make a nice table mat or it could hang on the back of my couch.  I liked the colours and the slightly rustic quality it has.

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Patchworky!

8.  Shoes!  I have wanted a pair of these chunky heels for ages but have never been able to find exactly the right pair.  So I got these.  They’re a tiny bit small so I might need to stretch them out just slightly.  I got them for $5.  I am a mega klutzoid so I need chunky heels if I am going to wear heels at all.  Otherwise there is falling down and general embarrassment and humiliation.

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Chunky!  I mean the shoes…stop looking at my ankles!!!

So, a good day, and I have already worn a couple of the items which shows they were worthwhile purchases.  I Especially like the checked shirt – I think I will be snuggling up a lot in that in the Autumn months.  And pretending I am Madonna.  When she was still cool and making good music and not gadding about in leotards and pretending she’s 25.

Hope you are having a happy day 🙂

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How to Measure Christmas

Christmas Day is just around the corner.  I can’t believe how quickly it has come up this year.  I probably say that every year, but this last twelve months has whizzed by, and so much has happened.  It’s been such a strange, disturbing year, with a lot of loss and grief for so many people.  I don’t know about you, but I am praying for a much kinder 2017.

My Mum is currently suffering with a nasty cough/virus and it makes me very anxious.  I can’t bear for her to be ill.  She is always so healthy and I sometimes forget she is a senior now, and small illnesses can be potentially dangerous.  Also, being sick at Christmas sucks!  I know she feels miserable and concerned and also annoyed that she can’t do a lot – she hates neglecting her garden and other chores.  I just worry incessantly, especially as I am not just around the corner but 30 minutes drive away, and I can’t keep a close eye on her.  Luckily, my best friend’s Mum is just around the corner – in fact, she is taking Mum to the doctor’s this morning (I would have done but had no one to cover me at work). Hopefully she will get some antibiotics (even though she hates taking them, she admits she probably needs some this time) and be on the mend soon.  We’re meant to be spending Christmas Eve with my brother and his family, but I don’t know if she will be well enough at this stage 😦

It’s funny how, in the lead up to Christmas, you think about all the things you would like, and hope that Santa obliges.  This year, I just want my Mum to be well, and for us all to have a nice, peaceful, stress-free time together, with no dramas.

This week, I managed to get all my Christmas shopping done in record time.  I have less people to buy for this year, for one reason or another, and it made it much easier.  I made a few gifts too, which meant less spending (always a good thing) and less stress (a very good thing).  I also decided not to do the fancy wrapping I always do, which usually ends up with me stressed out of my brain and wrapping gifts every night until midnight, making sure they all fit a “theme” and all look decorative and pretty.  Not this year.  I used store-bought wrapping paper and did nothing fancier than tying them with string.  I didn’t even use matching tags!  *gasps*  It just made everything so much easier and quicker and reduced my stress by about a million percent.  I am wrapped and done, ahead of time.

Whilst looking for gifts for my Mum, I pretty much followed the list she had given me (an Ian Rankin book, some gardening stuff, a Michael Buble CD, pyjamas) but I always like to get her some other little extras too, so she has some surprises.  I found this set of measuring cups in an op-shop and thought she might like them.  They look vintage (although I suspect they are not) and I liked the little Wintery scene on them, which I thought would also make them ideal for Christmas decorating, if Mum didn’t want to use them as actual measuring cups.  I just thought they were sweet.  And at $5.00 for the three, I wasn’t exactly breaking the bank.

I hope she likes them, and is well enough to enjoy all of her presents.
That’s all I want for Christmas.

Best wishes to you all.  Stay well and take care of each other x

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My Week in Pictures

It’s been a hectic week.  I have been madly making cards and other crafty goodies for my upcoming market stall.  I’ve been organising things to sell at a car boot sale this weekend (I have so much junk-that’s-not-really-junk to get rid of).  I’ve been organising quotes for air-conditioning in my rapidly heating up house.  I’ve had several birthday events to attend and catch-ups to arrange before Christmas.  It’s all happening.

I finally updated my phone and now have a much better one that doesn’t take blurry photos and doesn’t keep shutting down for no reason.  My old phone looks and behaves like something from the stone age.  Well, to be fair, it was about eight years old which, in phone terms these days, is practically a millennium.

I can take selfies now without having to guess if I am pointing the phone camera in the right direction.  And then edit the photos on the spot if I am not happy with them (ie don’t like the way I look in them).

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I also managed to fit in a spot of op-shopping.  I haven’t been for aaaaaaaaages, mostly due to lack of funds but also I just haven’t had time.  I broke my shoes this week so I actually did need to go and find a new pair.  Not wanting to spend a fortune, I of course when to the op-shop to check out what they had available.  I scored these lovely buckle-detail wedges.  I cannot walk in wedges, normally.  I fall down, a lot.  I wobble and am very unsteady because my ankle tends to turn in and I am a super klutz.  But these had a nice chunky heel and were very stable and comfortable.  And my perfect size! Better still, they were only $3.00!  I mean!  How could I not get them?  I wish they had been black as they would be more practical for work, but beggars can’t be choosers, right?

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My garden has gained a critter.  This VERY LARGE grasshopper.  Who only has one back leg.  He has been on the same tree for about a week now.  I am not sure if he is resting or waiting for a bus, preparing to die, or just hanging out.  I must admit to being a bit squeamish about crickets and grasshoppers but I wouldn’t hurt one and, as I have no garden to speak of, there is nothing for him to destroy, so he can stay.  I don’t know if he can get around on one back leg – I’m assuming they don’t grow back like a spider’s does.  He is quite magnificent though – he looks like he is wearing armour.  He was kind enough to let me get in his face and take his picture without leaping off and scaring the bejeezus out of me.  But I do fear he is not long for this world, which is a shame.

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I had a lovely afternoon of Lego and tea with my Mum, brother and his brood.  Playing with Lego is an age-old tradition in my family.  I don’t think we will ever tire of it, and I am so glad the littlies enjoy it (because it gives us an excuse to play too).  That’s my castle there in the middle of the table – it’s been demolished by Master Nine, despite my protests.  I used to love hanging out with my big bro’, back in the day, building all sorts of creations.  I’m lucky I even had a big brother who didn’t mind his little sister hanging around playing with his stuff and probably taking all the good bricks.

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I went walking with a friend and found this beautiful cockatoo feather (shortly after having a spectacular fall and landing on my face).  Isn’t it gorgeous?  The Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo is endangered and always having its habitat destroyed by various construction projects and deforestation.  They are lovely creatures and it would be a shame to lose them.  I have treated them when I was a vet nurse and, despite their large size and FEROCIOUSLY STRONG beak, they are quite a gentle bird and very intelligent.  I love this feather and it will have pride of place on my hall table.

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I have not been looking after my plants at all, but they continue to amaze me with their resilience and growth. My “Mother of Thousands” plant is doing so well and is producing so many babies I feel I should open a nursery.  It is doing so well despite my neglect and  inability to remember that plants like water occasionally.

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Even the “dead” leaves from my Kalanchoe Feldtschenkoi I threw into the garden have sprouted bubbies and they are so cute!  They’re like tiny little rose buds at this stage.  I love that they propagate like this.  This is why I never throw any part of a succulent away – it still has life in it even if it looks dead!

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I got glasses.  Proper ones.  Not over-the-counter-chemist ones.  Actual optometrist-prescribed ones.  I am still getting used to them.  I really only need them for fine, intricate work, particularly when crafting and drawing, so I keep forgetting I have them.  They are currently buried under a pile of card-making supplies.

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My cousin in England sent me this STUNNING photo of my Mum.  I have never seen it before.  She looks so beautiful.  She would have been about 18 years old, just engaged and living at home with my grandparents.  Check out those nails!!!  They’re her real nails – not some fake stuck on ones.  And her hair is amazing (although I know now where I get my split-fringe issue from!).  The photo would have been taken by my Grandad who loved to shoot very posed pictures – he would always have a prop and a theme going on, ha ha.  No candid happy snaps for him, oh no!

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Now I just have to concentrate on my market stall on the weekend and then I can relax or, at least, make sense of my house and maybe start decorating for Christmas before Christmas has actually been and gone.

Hope you have a wonderful week and accomplish everything you you have planned (even if your plans include lots of napping, day-dreaming and generally lounging about 🙂 )

Thanks for reading, as always x

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Op-Shopping 101

It’s a known fact that I enjoy op-shopping (thrifting) just a wee little bit.  If by a “wee little bit” you mean “more than ANYTHING IN THE WORLD!!!!”

If op-shopping was an actual job, I would be quitting the one I already have and preparing to have an awesome, joy-filled career.

In the meantime, here are a few tips and tricks if you are a newbie to op-shopping, or just one of those people who doesn’t really understand it and thinks everything will be stinky and gross and smell like old people :

  1. Be Prepared to Rummage : Op shops are not like regular stores – everything isn’t always neatly set out in sizes and colours with multiples of everything.  This is half the fun – you never know what you are going to find.  I know some people hate that.  They want to walk in and walk out with the item they wanted within minutes.  They do not enjoy the chase.  They are missing out on so much.  You have to be prepared to rummage and look through lots of racks and explore.  I personally think it is best to not go in with an exact “want” list in your head because, chances are, you won’t find what you’re looking for.  Just enjoy the search and see what treasures you can unearth.
  2. Wear sensible stuff : What I mean by this is you should wear easy-to-remove clothing items so that, when trying things on, it doesn’t take you forever and you don’t get hot and gross or annoyed.  Don’t wear button-up things (unless they are also easy to just pull off over your head) or pants that need belts.  In fact, avoid trousers if you can.  A skirt is a better option because you can pull things on underneath them.  That way, you don’t even have to get undressed or risk the dreaded op-shop curtain fling (that scary moment when someone yanks open your changing room curtain to “see if anyone is in here” – happens all the time, makes me want to punch people) when you’re sans clothing.  Ideally, a skirt and loose-fitting top works best – then you only have to get half-undressed at any given moment.  Wearing a dress means you have to take it all off if you’re trying on another dress.  But, then, I have been known to try things on over or under whatever I’m wearing.  It’s up to you.  Just go for simple and comfortable and easy to pull on and off.  Same goes for shoes, obviously – don’t wear things that have straps or buckles that need undoing.  It just makes the whole process more laborious.
  3. Where to go : When you’ve been op-shopping for most of your life, you learn the best places to go, and the places to avoid.  I have certain shops that I always frequent because they are cheap, clean and always have great stuff.  In WA, I really like Good Sammy’s.  They have the best prices (which are generally consistent across all of their stores) and they are organised well.  They have regular sales too – 50% off days which apply to all recycled clothing (as opposed to particular colour-tagged items).  I live in hope of those 50% off signs – they make me so happy 🙂   I find Good Sammy’s to be excellent for dresses, shoes and handbags, as well as for books, knick-knacks and other household items.
  4. Don’t Haggle : Op Shops are usually run by charities, who have to make a certain amount of money each week in order to remain viable. Their stock is already very cheap so please don’t ask for a discount of any kind, or haggle, or ask for the price to be reduced if you have bulk items.  Just don’t.  It’s rude.  If you don’t want to pay $3 for that cute little top (that is probably worth $25 new), don’t.  Walk away from it and look for something else.  I am the biggest cheapskate out, but even I won’t ask for a price to be reduced, regardless of condition of the item.
  5. What to buy : Obviously, buy what you like but don’t get caught up in the :Ooooh, it’s so cheap!” frenzy that sometimes affects us all.  Yes, you may be able to buy 15 black t-shirts for under $30, but do you really need to?  Find the one you like best and buy that one.  Just because something is cheap, doesn’t mean you need it.  It’s not a bargain if you don’t wear it.  Keep a look out for designer items you might be able to sell on Ebay, if that’s your thing.  Don’t buy items that require something else in order for you to wear them eg a sheer dress that needs a slip underneath it.  Sure, if you have a slip that would go perfectly underneath, then cool, but if not, put the dress back on the rack and keep looking.  It’s not very clever to buy something that costs you $5, if you then have to go and buy something to go with it that costs $25.  It’s false economy, and the chances of you ACTUALLY going out and buying the extra item are pretty slim.  Trust me, I know this.  I have learnt my lesson.
  6. Don’t shop hungry : As I said before, op-shopping is generally not a quick expedition, where you’re in and out in two minutes.  It takes time to rummage and try things on plus, if you’re lucky, you will have several op-shops in a row in one place, so you’ll be there a while.  Make sure you take some water with you so you don’t get dehydrated (shopping is thirsty work!) and it’s a good idea to have a little snack with you too – some muesli bars or a handful of nuts or whatever.  You make better decisions when you’re not hungry or thirsty.  You don’t want to go home with a pair of lime green stretch pants just because your bloody sugar was low and you momentarily lost your brain.
  7. Know your colours : It makes life easier if you know what suits you and what colours look best with your complexion.  You can scan past a whole rack of stuff and dismiss what doesn’t fit in with your ideal.  That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try new colours once in a while but, generally, you should stick to what works for you and makes you feel good about yourself.  For instance, I love yellow and mustardy colours, but I know I look like death-warmed-up in them.  They make me look like I am about to be violently ill or have some sort of plague.  I avoid them.
  8. Donate : There is a universal law that what you give out, you get back.  So donate your unwanted clothes often.  Have a good sort out and drop stuff off at the op-shop.  While you’re there, you might as well have a look round, right?
  9. Don’t discriminate : Go thrifting in lots of different places.  I know one particular op-shop that is situated in a less than salubrious suburb that has the BEST stuff.  Sometimes the “posh” towns have crappy op-shops.  There’s no guarantee that postcode equals quality – not in this case anyway.  Some of the smaller, slightly dingy shops in out of the way places have really neat stuff and, because it hasn’t been picked over by all and sundry, you can often find a bargain on some quality items.
  10. Don’t be snooty : Within reason, everything can be washed and disinfected.  I draw the line at buying underpants, but everything else is fair game.  I’ve bought some lovely kitchenware and mugs, Tupperware and cutlery from op-shops.  It just needs a good scrub and some hot soapy water.  A lot of the stuff hasn’t even been used – you can tell by looking at something if it’s lived a hard life.  Use your discretion.
  11. Take a buddy : I personally am happy to shop on my own, but there is something to be said for taking a like-minded friend along.  My cousin and I thrift together often, and we have a pretty good system.  Usually this system consists of me finding awesome things for HER to try on (because she is super skinny and fit and can wear anything) but we always have fun.  It’s good to have a second opinion on items you’re not sure of.  Someone who can shake their head and say “Um, no….” when you try to squeeze into that crushed velvet boob-tube.  If the other person knows your size, they can be on the lookout for things you may not have spotted as you trawl the racks.  A buddy can also guard your changing room for you and stop people barging in, or hold the curtain closed for you if it’s a tad on the not-wide-enough side.
  12. They have new stuff too!  Thrift shops sometimes also stock brand new items.  They get bulk amounts of “reject” products, ie things that haven’t sold somewhere else.  There’s nothing wrong with them, they’re just excess stock.  You can get undies and socks, clothing, and other items brand new, but at a fraction of the normal cost.  I must admit to buying my undies from my local op-shop quite often.  They’re $2.25.  I refuse to pay $10 or $12 for a pair of undies.  They’re a nice fit (I hate undies that ride up your butt!!!) and they are good quality and long-wearing.  I’ve also bought one of those new-fangled bamboo pillows at the thrift shop for about half the price of one in the regular stores.

So, there’s nothing to it, really.  Just go in with an open mind and find some treasures.  And be prepared to walk away with nothing and be ok with that.  The hunt is half the fun.

Happy thrifting everyone 🙂

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