Wednesday 28 April 2021

The Top 10 Items I Buy At Op Shops

As always,  I love a great bargain and op shops have saved us a fortune over the years.  Whether  it be a much needed household item or a birthday present,  op shops are the first place I look.  I quite often have a 'watch ' list in my purse ready for a planned or unplanned trip to a local op shop.  Sometimes the hunt can take a year or two and sometimes I can find the needed item straight away.  Either way,  a trip to the op shop is enjoyable and if nothing is purchased,  it becomes a free outing.

Here are the top 10 items I've purchased from op shops that have saved us so much money.  Of course there are many other things I've purchased over the years. The ones below are the best ones.

*  Jeans.  Op shops offer such a large variety of jeans.  They have racks and racks of jeans that come in all shapes,  sizes,  colors and quality.    I can always find a pair of jeans that fit really well for under $10 and generally they are brand names I can't afford to pay retail for.  When our girls were primary school age we were able to complete their wardrobes with jeans for going out and jeans for around the home.  Our girls were ( and still are ) very different shapes and both on the small side.  Retail shops just didn't offer well fitting jeans for them.

*  Small kitchen appliances.  I've bought slow cookers for under $15,  an iron for $14 that retails for about $70,  an electric knife for $5,  a toaster for $3 and a George Foreman grill / hotplate for $20.  All were as new and tested by the op shop's electrical tester.  As with all things but especially electrical items,  I always keep the receipt until I've tried it out at home.

*  Casserole dishes.  I've fitted out Jessica and Megan's kitchens with new or near new casserole dishes,  pie plates and serving platters.  Most items only cost about $3 or $4 each compared to $10 plus in the shops.  I bought the dishes in classic white or Tiffany blue ( and variations ) as these are the colors they like.  Classic white never dates and goes with anything.  When I've needed a particular dish for my kitchen,  I always look in the op shops.  Sometimes I need to look for a few months but the savings is worth the wait.   

*  Pasta bowls.  Over the years our 25 year old pasta bowls have chipped or cracked due to heavy use.  I've bought sets of 4 or 6 bowls for $4 that look new.  Jessica and Megan have bought pasta bowls from the op shops for their kitchens too.  

*  Cook books.  Although I don't usually buy the cook books for myself,  I have bought many for presents.  Usually I can find them in fantastic condition for $3 - $5.

*  Kitchen utensils.  I've bought good quality stainless steel potato mashers for $2,  Tupperware hamburger presses with lots of containers for $3,  knives and forks for Jessica's kitchen for a few dollars and dumpling moulds for $2.  These are just some of the items I've found over the years.

*  Baby clothes and nursery accessories.   Both Megan and I have bought so many clothes for Luka and Bryson and dirt cheap prices.  Wraps,  cot blankets / doonas,  bibs,  a baby bath and feeding items have all been purchased for just a couple of dollars each.  

*  Kids licenced doona covers.  I've bought Bob The Builder,  Thomas The Tank and Elmo doona covers for Luka and Bryson.  Some were still in the original packaging and cost $7 and under.

*  Silicon cake moulds.  I use these when I make soap and have found lots of great shaped moulds for a fraction of retail prices.  Usually I pay $2 - $3 at the op shop compared to $10 + retail.

*  Home décor.  Although I'm not one to fill my home with things,  I've gradually updated our home with modern country farmhouse décor.  Items I've bought include picture frames,  old bottling jars ( used as vases ),  porcelain jugs,  flowers,  candle holders ( old saucers ),  lampshades and cushions.  All these items cost $5 or under.    

Op shopped home decor

Silicon cake moulds for soap making

Country farmhouse decor

Kitchenware and a cook book for a present.

Utensil and cookie jar from the op shop

Items for Jessica and Megan's kitchen

Baby shower items.  Most are from op shops

What do you love to buy from op shops ?

What has been your biggest op shop bargain ?


  1. My biggest op shop bargain must have been the cherrywood dining table I am currently using as wfh desk for €5. It's getting old now, but as it's around 20 years since I've had it, and it was second hand, that's fine.

  2. Sadly the op shops near me sometimes charge more than the original retail price and I do not live in an extremely wealthy area. Occasionally I find a book or two. But I do look at times.

  3. Love this post. I do so many of the same things.

  4. Sllllightly addicted to my op shops! Hahaha!! I have purchased most of my clothing from them since I first left school about 30 odd years ago.
    I too always have a list of items I wish to purchase from them although mine is a mental note. Current list includes towels, pants for work and muck around shorts for my youngest son.


  5. A friend always buys her light bulbs and fluro tubes from the op shop.
    She is on a limited budget and for 50c or $1 she can buy bulbs which cost $5 or more . It is an easy way to save.
    Lots of people must pick up wrong sized bulbs when they buy.

  6. Hi Wendy, Great tips here as I think many people can get overwhelmed by op-shopping. As a Primary School teacher, I love getting my books and book corner items from there for my class :). I have also picked up lots of great and quality items of clothing there.

  7. I just remembered another favourite buy: candles! They come in all sorts of weird colours, but because I actually light them, I don't care. They are not decoration, they are warmth and light. If the colour is too weird or clashing with my interior, I will put the candle away during the day, and take it out again in the evening.

  8. I always buy my jeans from op shops, they are usually the right length(previously shortened) and aren't stiff like new ones.
    Most of my doona covers are bought in op shops, most home decor items, the majority of books, and the majority of my clothing.
    At the moment I am looking for a manual coffee grinder, I have an electric one but want one for when the power goes out.

  9. I love op shops, but also recommend the local Buy Nothing Facebook group. I have received many fantastic items through this group which can be anything from clothing, household items and food. I am about to pick up Mandarins from someone's tree and an unopened gift pack that contains hand cream, lip balm etc.

  10. I have found useful items and treasures at our tiny, local thrift stores:

    Sheets and pillowcases. I recently bought a set of 100% cotton king-size sheets for $5. (I think the low price is because they're a bright color, but no one notices that when they're asleep!)

    Rice steamers. $30 on Amazon, $3 at the 2ndhand store.

    Bread maker and crockpot. Both favorites and used often.

    Dinner napkins. 100% cotton. I have 40 or 50. Average price has been around $0.35. We use them for every meal; I even put a cloth napkin in DH's lunchbox.

    Purses and wallets. I usually don't carry a purse...too bulky in a crowded shop. But I have a nice leather wallet that fits my car, cards, and coupons. It fits in a skirt pocket. $1 at the thrift store.

    Finally, jewelry! Last week, I spent $3 on a black-and-gold costume jewelry necklace. The vintage gold-colored necklace that I wear most often was $7.

    My only regret is that the small church thrift stores are only open 4 hours a week.


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