(Today's opshop finds; brand new red photo frame $1, brand new watercolour paint set for Punk 50 cents, crocheted postcard basket $3, wooden stepping stool $2, BH&G magazines 50 cents each, vintage children's picture dictionary $2, vintage Pyrex bowl $2, vintage Christmas table cloth for a swap $1, funky book "Presents - making them for other people" 10 cents, cute yellow letter holder for Le Punks bedside reads $1.)
Jacqui posted last week about her lack of "thrifting" luck & my reply to her has prompted this post.
Basically, I started off by saying "There are no hard & fast rules to opshopping..." & then proceeded to tell her some rules I live by... so I guess there are some rules... or guidelines at the very least, that make for a happy opshopping experience, I just never really thought of it like that because it's just what I do.
I've also heard lately that I am "...so lucky!" with my oppy finds, but I don't think I am a particularly lucky thrift shopper - just persistent. There are days I go into an opshop & leave with nothing, whereas other days I can barely open the door to go out so laden am I with happy treasures... the thing is though, I enjoy the empty handed days just as much as the days when I find things - I save money for one - but I enjoy the browsing in & of itself.
So, my "Hints & Tips" for opping;
- Go often & stay long....! I probably visit my local oppies at least twice a week and stay until I've rummaged around in all the nooks & crannies. It helps that I sometimes use it as "me" time too & enjoy the entire process immensely, even if I don't find anything.If you go in often enough, or *shock* ask, you'll find out when "new" stock comes in so you can be there for all the good pickings...!
- I hardly ever go looking for something in particular, I go in with no expectations & am usually pleasantly surprised. If I am looking for something in particular not only am I disappointed when I don't find it, but I skim over other goodies because they're not my "focus".
- See a trip to the oppy as a pleasant distraction instead of a desperate shopping expedition & enjoy browsing through everything, racks you would normally breeze by, boxes you would usually ignore, could hold a gem that has been waiting for you!
- Where to go... that is trial & error unfortunately! City stores vary from full of retro goodness priced sky high to sparsely stocked monoliths with things even the needy would reject. Country stores are generally cheaper, but you'll find some crazy pricing wherever you go - there is a set of old (...and grotty) kitchen canisters in an oppy here that are priced at $50 - you could get some in the same condition cheaper at a secondhand dealer, and anyone who would even consider paying that much for a set would know that, so they have been sitting there for MONTHS. I hear volunteers pricing things sometimes & the mind boggles at their reasoning!I have found however, after years of opping with great success, that the "weird" little oppies are often filled to the brim with treasures, if you're just willing to unearth them! You know the ones, "The Cat Society Thift Shop" or the "Christian Mission Opportunity Shop" or something, I think it has something to do with how they are run, the bigger ones like vinnies have a distribution centre that, well, distributes the goodies amongst it's stores, whereas those ones almost hoard their donations, which is good news for us!
- If you ARE looking for something in particular, don't be afraid to ask. I have heard people asking for all sorts of weird & wonderful things with varying degrees of success; they may take your name & call you if what you are after comes in (if this is offered to you though I would still go in & check occasionally, in case the promise is forgotten) or they may have something out the back that they are yet to put out.
- If you have kids, LEAVE THEM AT HOME! It is soooooooo much easier to potter about for ages if you don't have to worry about little hands playing with inappropriate vintage china, but, if, like me, you are rarely child free, you must soldier on!
- Look EVERYWHERE. I cannot stress this enough. You may not want any books on "Microwave Cooking" (...a subject, it seems, on which many books have been written but not all that many are kept) but if you don't give that shelf a quick once over you can pretty much guarantee that is where your dream book on vintage softies will be nestled. Sometimes volunteers put things in weird places, sometimes kids do a little rearranging & sometimes shoppers with ulterior motives "hide" things they've found for later. Many times I have found delicious vintage jackets turfed in with "Fancy Dress" (how dare they?!).
- Try. It. On. Unless you plan on a whole lot of refashioning or re-purposing, try on anything you intend to wear. Even $2 is too much to pay for something you can't wear.
- Don't take big notes - this isn't really a rule but it's a good idea, especially if you've found an awesome something for 50 cents at the afore mentioned Cat Protection Society oppy - do you think they've done enough trade to change that $50 for you? Chances are they could do it, but it's better safe than sorry.
- Take a bag or 7... they always have plastic bags, but we all know that's a no no in this day & age, even if you aren't environmentally aware, the bags they have are usually donated secondhand bags themselves & are not always pristine - you don't want to loose your funky new bracelet on the way home because your cruddy supermarket plastic bag had a hole in it.
- And finally... don't get discouraged! Go & go again, browse & browse some more!