As the old saying goes.. rules are made to be broken.. but if you want to make the most of your charity shop trips then it doesn’t hurt to keep a few in mind when you shop at the op! Here’s mine…
1. Make time. Be patient – People often say to me that they never find anything good at the op-shop “How come you always find nice clothes and I don’t?” The answer is simple – because I make the time to meticulously look through everything. A seasoned seeker knows that the good buys aren’t going to find you, you have to find them.
2. Wear suitable clothing – If you’re going to be trying clothes and shoes on it’s best to wear something you can change in and out of easily. I always go op-shopping in slip on shoes (which I got at an op-shop, of course!).
3. Inspect your prospective purchase – While many op-shops are now taking more care with the quality of the items and garments they offer for sale, there are still many items on the racks that need repair or are stained. Cardigans might have missing buttons, books may have torn pages and kids toys may have missing parts.
4. Try it on! Always try it on! – No matter how dingy the changing room. No matter how many fellow customers get an eye full of your underwear clad carcass through the massive gap in the change room door/curtain. It looks good on the hanger – but will it look good on you? Will it even fit? There’s only one way to find out!
5. Don’t get too carried away! – If you shop with your critical facilities on hold you can easily end up with a wardrobe or home full of stuff that you never wear or use. When it comes to choosing items it’s great to have an open mind and try something new but it’s also good to be a little discriminatory. Stick to items that fit. It might be exciting to find an Alanna Hill skirt but if you’re a size 12 and the skirt is a size 8 it just ‘aint gonna happen! What I generally do is pick up items I like, go through them before I try them on, and again before checkout.
6. Don’t expect it to be there when you come back – This is pretty self explanatory! Good buys go quickly and at a good op-shop stock is changed often.
7. Check shoes for wear and quality – especially heels! I got caught out with a cute pair of blue boots recently. I was so pleased that they fitted my awkward sized foot that I forgot to check the kitten heels which were in fact almost completely worn out even though the shoes looked relatively new.
8. Clean/Wash your purchases – I don’t always follow this rule, in regards to clothes at least (I know! Terrible!), and I’ve never caught any disease or developed a raging skin rash. Op-shops aren’t the smelly, flea infested stink holes they used to be but it’s probably best to give em a wash anyway.
9. Take a Bag – Unless you want to go home with horrid plastic bags or are prepared to carry your booty with your bare hands, take a handy fold up canvas bag. You can slip it in your handbag without it taking up much room.
10. Do your research – If you’re going op-shopping with the aim of picking up a few items for resale (first of all, good luck!) make sure you do some thorough research before hand about your items of interest and the realistic kind of prices they can achieve. Keep in mind that just because someone is selling an item on the internet for $50 this doesn’t mean buyers are actually prepared to pay that much.
And one more for good luck..
11. Look at everything – You never know what you’ll find!
OK folks, what have I missed? What are your golden rules for op-shopping?