Christian Travelers Guide + you got that at an op shop

If I Was A Rich Girl: Rags To Riches Bibra Lake Op Shop Review

I enjoy visiting new op shops. I enjoy visiting old faves too. And I also like to give some op shops a second chance. It’s not often that I need to give an oppie another go but every now and then….

You see, I have visited the Bibra Lake Rags to Riches op shop quite some time ago and I pretty much walked out. Where was the order? Where were the neat shelves and friendly staff? And more importantly, where was the duster?! I was so horrified that I took one quick scan of the place and turned around and went home.

So after I had finished visiting the new Salvos store in the same area, I decided I needed to challenge myself – why did I walk out that time? Who was I to break my own rule of “judging what is there, for what it is?” So I decided I needed to give Rags to Riches another go. And this time when I walked in, whilst I still saw the dust, the wares crammed tightly in and a curt hello was still passed my way I was more curious, than caught off guard.

Now one thing I will say about this oppie is that it can be overwhelming. There is stuff pouring out from every nook and cranny. And not only do you have the store to contend with, but there is also a warehouse/shed out the back to tackle too.

So let’s start at the beginning shall we? Immediately to your left you’ll find the front counter teeming with all sorts of knick knacks – you even have to get behind the counter to really have a good look, which at that stage, I wasn’t so keen on doing so I headed straight towards the enormous selection of glassware, crockery and cutlery.

Yes the shelves are dusty and full but there is loads of good stuff. And it’s about banging things around – everything is stacked on top of each other so a bit of noise is needed to really hunt through it. I came away with some lovely old champagne glasses (one featuring the old Babysham deer!) for 50c each.

At this point I realised I had so much more to see, so decided to make friends with the lady at the counter and get her to hold my goodies – which she did so more than obligingly (‘books by covers’ was still floating around my head at this point!).

And it was while she was starting to open up a bit, that I spotted some old 70’s mirrors – the type I had as a kid where a print was put over the top (I had a little girl and a duck which I spot every now and then!). These lovelies have some old art-deco type images on them and whilst they are in dire need of a little TLC, my new best friend (the front counter lady!) suggested I cheered them up a bit “with some masking tape and silver paint”. Right, SOLD! * Again, off these went to be cared for at the front counter.

Further along to your left you’ll come to another ginormous collection of books and magazines.

Seriously, this is an untapped resource of cheap books, it goes for miles. There’s also the plasticware section here too. Let me add that all of this stuff is cheap and cheerful – but I reckon it’s the place you come when you are in need of that elusive item or if you’ve got a whole pile of lids and no containers (or vice versa!). It’s just gotta be here in this section.

Finishing this part off is a sewers/knitters dream. There are a heap of cheap old patterns – dating back to the 60’s & 70’s and with the resurgence of vintage and retro numbers; it’s the perfect place to start your pattern collection. I struggle to sew a button back on, so I’ll leave that sort of creativity to Cass from Cass Can Sew or Erica from Recycled Fashion who are constantly turning op shop numbers into new-to-be-loved items.

It’s here that you’ll find two options – to head straight into the warehouse/shed or continue right onto the rest of the oppie store front. I took a deep breath and chose the first option. Haha, it’s not that bad but it is huge and it is packed with all sorts of stuff. The main gist of it is furniture such as cupboards, beds, mattresses, buffets, church organs (yes there was more than one!) etc. I have a strong inkling that if you were to purchase something from this section, and it was wedged tightly in with all the other goodies, it will be up to you to figure out how to get it out!

Also in this section is the overflow of clothing – mainly women’s from what I could see. Unfortunately with everything so tightly packed in, I didn’t investigate the clothes here fully. I did take a peek at a few bits and pieces that were a little more accessible, but to be honest, I just left it alone. This does bring me to..

Whenever I buy something from an oppie that is able to be cleaned or washed, I do. But interestingly, I have come across people who don’t. That’s cool, but I’ll tell you my reasons for making washing one of my rules.

1. Op shops very rarely wash goodies before selling them – they simply don’t have the time/manpower/money to do so. 2. People who donate goodies don’t necessarily wash or clean them before donating. 3. Goodies can sit in large dusty warehouses during the sorting process, before making it to the shelves where all sorts of dust, odour and mites may settle in and 4. You never know who tried it on before you.

Now, this may sound a little OTT but believe me having had the experience of sorting donations out I will ask you to imagine what would be the most awful condition you could see something being donated in. And yes, whatever you are thinking, someone has donated an item like that. Many of you oppie working peeps have shared with me your own horror donation stories and this is why I wash wash, clean and wipe.

So out of the murky depths I reappeared into the store front again. And it’s here that you will find anything and everything – electricals, shoes, mens/kids/womens, workwear, baby furniture, haberdashery, toys, bags, wedding dresses and some other totally random stuff!

Given the clothes in this section are a little more spaced out (not on the racks mind you!) I was a little more enticed to hunt through them. The range of clothes here would probably be considered as everyday wear with labels such as Kmart, Katies, Millers, Tempt and Valley Girl. I’m sure there are some diamonds in there too but it is an ‘up to your elbows’ job. I did find a lovely little nanna skirt for $4 so I was pleased! I must say I was impressed with the workwear (high vis, overalls etc) available here.

The baby furniture offerings are quite diverse including some lovely old bassinets, cots and prams. I will say however, that these items are extremely well loved. As are the toys, but there are loads to choose from. Often as I’m tidying up the toy section of my oppie for the fifteenth time that day, I look at the small bits and pieces and wonder if it will ever sell and sure enough, it will go that day. Toys can be big business for oppies.

I figured if there was going to be anywhere to find some untapped vintage haberdashery, this would be the place, so I got onto my knees and rummaged – and I came out with some loveliness. On top of finding two gorgeous yellow flowered vintage pillowcases, I also came away with a set of retro serviettes. Good-o. Oh, these cost me 50c each!

The last section I dedicated some time to was the shoes. I have a feeling that all shoe donations are welcome and popped on the shelves for selling. Some are in good condition, some aren’t. I saw a couple of fairly decent options but unfortunately they weren’t in my size. A cool pair of Novo wedges were however and for $3 I just couldn’t say no!

Towards the end of my journey here I overheard another shopper telling her husband and daughter how ‘disgusting’ this op shop was and how much better op shops were back at ‘home’. I think I detected a South African accent, however home could have been Kalgoorlie for all I knew. But you know what? I found myself getting a little defensive on Rags to Riches behalf!

How dare she criticise this place! Doesn’t she realise these are donations from good-willed people, to help other people in need? Doesn’t she realise it’s a church run oppie, complete with volunteers? Did she not realise there was some gold to be found in this place?

And then I realised that I myself hadn’t asked any of those questions the first time I turned my nose up. Perhaps these were the key reasons why I decided to return to this op shop specifically. Because I understand a little more each time I visit one, because I treasure exploring the new. And heck, because I’m truly not op shop prejudiced, I love em all!

Tell me, have you given an op shop a second chance and come to love it?


Rags to Riches Op Shop
16 Port Kembla Drive
Bibra Lake WA 6163

* Let it be known that whilst my hubby hated the mirrors as soon as he saw them, our Nanna loved them!

My Haul
* 2 x mirrors $7
* 2 x champagne glasses $1
* wool nanna skirt $4
* novo shoes $3
* 2 x pillow cases $1
* retro serviettes $2
* plush toy $1

baby, bargain, Bibra Lake, books, bric-a-brac, clothes, crockery, furniture, op shop, op shopping, perth, Port Kembla Drive, Rags To Riches, thrift, thrifting, Western Australia, and more:

If I Was A Rich Girl: Rags To Riches Bibra Lake Op Shop Review + you got that at an op shop