Oh how times have changed and yes, you'll see me in an op shop quite often. I discovered op shops back in 2005 when a friend told me about Savers. Curiosity got the better of me and one morning after church Darren, our girls and myself made a trip into Frankston to have a look at Savers ( no longer there ). I was stunned at the size of the store. Two levels of treasures to look through and racks and racks of clothes. I guess you could call it a super sized op shop.
Ever since then my family makes regular trips to op shops with Savers being our favourite. We like Savers because it supports the Diabetes Foundation and SIDS for Kids through buying clothing and goods from them to help stock their stores. We also love the neat layout of the store, it's cleanliness and the variety to choose from. Donations of goods are gratefully received during working hours and with each donation you can get a stamp on a discount card. This entitles you to a 5 - 20% discount on your next purchase no matter how big or small any day of the week. It's a wonderful incentive to give and bless others. Sunday is student day and if you have a student card you can get 20% off your total purchase. Monday is Senior day. Just show your Senior's card for a 20% discount.
When my family appeared on A Current Affair back in June 2014, we had the opportunity to film part of the story at the Narre Warren / Fountain Gate Savers. I was in heaven as I know the store and staff well,. During the story I explained how each of my family members receives $150 twice a year as a clothing allowance from our budget. This is given in Spring and Autumn so that we can start looking for clothes for Summer and Winter. Now you might be wondering how we can clothe ourselves for $300 each a year ( not including underwears, bathers and pjs ). Savers and other local op shops are our first port of call. We go in with a list of clothes needed and start hunting. If we can't find what we want, THEN we look in the major department stores.
Op shops are great for picking up kitchenwares at bargain prices. Taking a walk through the kitchenware department is like going on a journey back in time. I quite often spot things that my Mum or Grandma had in their kitchens. It always brings a smile to my face. I've bought Tupperware, vintage platters for my Mum, pasta bowls, biscuit jars, icypole moulds, toasters for $3.99, George Foreman grill and hotplate for $20 ( worth $129 ), Breville iron for $14 ( worth $69 ), electric knife for $7 ( brand new ), teapots, craft supplies, bedside tables ( to go in the wardrobe ) cook books, clothing, handbags and many many other bargains in new or near new condition. You just never know what you'll find
I would have to say that my greatest find and what gets me excited the most is when I pick up vintage china. I've been able to collect Royal Albert, Royal Doulton, Royal Anne and a few other well known brands at $1.99 and $2.99 for a bread and butter plate. I now have a lovely collection that gets used on occasion. I've bought cup, saucer and plate sets for my girls as Christmas presents for $15. I always make sure I have a discount stamp to use for those purchases.
Supporting op shops is a wonderful way to furnish a home, save lots of money, support charities and reduce landfill.
Here are some handy hints for successful op shopping -
* Have a list of items you are looking for in your purse / wallet. You never know when you'll find it.
* Sign up to newsletters or club cards for future notifications of sales.
* Support op shops with your good / clean unwanted items. This is how they keep running.
* Know your prices. If the item seems a little dear, politely ask for a better deal.
* Check kitchen items over for chips, scratches and stains.
* Check clothing for holes, stains, wear and tear and missing buttons etc.
* Try the clothing on before you buy.
* When buying hand bags, check the inside for cleanliness and wear and tear. Make sure the zipper / fastener works.
* Check DVDs and records for scratches.
* Always keep your receipt to return faulty items.
* When buying men's shirts, check the collar for wear and tear. This is a good indication of how often it's been worn.
* Carry a plastic bag or folding shopping bag in your hand bag. Some op shops do not supply shopping bags or you may need to purchase one.
* On 50% off days, shop early for the best items. Although op shops try to bring out more stock during the day, they do get really busy and may not have time.
* If possible, avoid shopping the day after a 50% off sale. Stocks can be low.
* Carry a water bottle / snack with you. A quick trip to the local op shop can turn into a couple of hours of shopping.
* Carry hand sanitiser in your hand bag or car glove box to clean your hands after a visit. I find my hands feel a little dusty. .
Here are some photos ( taken with permission ) of my local Savers op shop.
|The clothes are sorted into like items.|
|Easy to find the label on the jeans|
|A variety of magazines|
|Hang sell kitchenware, craft and homewares.|
Here are some of my favourite op shop purchases -
|A cupboard for extra baking bits and pieces.|
|My girls love the cookie jar and the basket is for egg collecting.|
|Some of my vintage plate collection.|
This is not a paid advertisement for any particular op shop. I support many op shops through donating and buying.