Christian Travelers Guide + Western Australia

Mother's Little Helper - The Top 20 Op Shopping Rules

I had a lovely request/suggestion recently from gorgeous Claudia over at Little Cottage Big Life about finding somewhere to read all of my tips & tricks aka Op Shop Rules, in one spot. Thinking that was a great idea to do, I was pretty stunned to see I've already hit 20 of them!

Oh how times flies - and truly when you're having fun!

So here is the executive summary (of sorts) of the past 20 tips, to help make your op shopping trips as seamless and as fun as possible. I've also linked you in to a few other fellow thrifters who have got it goin' on when it comes to op shopping.

1. Accept What Is There, For What It Is
Don't really need to explain this one I think, do I? Ok, well in a nutshell, you're hunting second hand goodies so the items you source (including the place they are sourced from) will have much more character to 'em than something you picked up brand new. So it's kinda handy to remember when you notice the odd chip or two.

2. Be Nice To The Staff
Whether they're vollies or paid employees, it's common sense and courtesy to treat them with the respect they deserve.

3. Roll Up Your Sleeves
It's all about getting stuck into it. Be prepared for a bit of dirt, a broken nail or two and a heap of goodies for your trouble. You can't afford to be too fussy, this rule insists you get fossicking!

4. Look Up
We often can get a little caught looking down - at shoes, at clothes, at shelves eye level and down. But some gold can be found if you just tilt your head towards the heavens!

5. Make The Time To Donate
Donating doesn't have to be a painful exercise. Most stores take in-store donations, there are a myriad of donation bins throughout the community and you can always put your giveaway items together with your friends/family and do one big donation! Check out for up to date locations of charity bins Australia wide. And remember, our oppies are always dying for decent donations!

6. Do Your Research
We all get a little caught up in the thrill of thrifting - and we have all come away with a few purchases which have never seen the light of day, or as my girlfriend Siobhain says, items that induce a little 'post purchase dissatisfaction'!! By doing a little research not only will you come away with items you love, but you'll also pay the right price for them too. Kelly from They Call Me The Seeker blog talks a little more about research in her Golden Rules, number 11.

7. Experiment!
When you shop brand new, you generally purchase whatever is deemed 'in fashion' by the magazines, the department stores and Lady Gaga (well the first two anyways). When you op shop, you can experiment with any number of styles & fashions and if it works, it works, and if not, you only paid half the price for it to not come out in public again!

8. Refrain From Donating Grotty & Broken Kids Stuff
Pretty simple really, if you're getting rid of it because of the above issues - then why on earth do you think someone else would want them?? We all have a right to good, clean, working stuff - no matter who we are.

9. Don't Forget The Little Guys
Australia-wide we have some big op shop players, and they're awesome. But remember the little one's too ie your local church oppie. You'll find some absolute treasures with them too! Wonderful Cass from Cass Can Sew chatted about the value of smaller oppies in her May blog post.

10. Try Things On
Hmmm, who can put their hands up to assuming something is gonna fit or look good, without trying it on? And it ends up being donated right back?? Yah, take the time and just try it on, save yourself the heartbreak. Have a read of Rebecca from My Bloggable Day 's Tip 3 on why trying things on is a must!

11. Discount Discretion
Every now and then you overhear someone asking for a discount in an op shop. And obviously the oppies get it a little too frequently, that signs have started popping up informing us that the goods are already discounted heavily enough to not warrant any discount being given. Let alone the funds raised from your spend, going to much needed charitable organisations!

12. Stay Fresh
Unless your favourite oppies have a 100% strike rate, hitting your fave a little too regularly can lead to a whole lotta disappointment. So mix it up a little and try out your thrifting skills at other stores.

13. Sort Your Loot
Experience as a vollie in an op shop has given me some good tips. And sorting your donations out is one of them. If you can sort out and label your clothing donations into seasons or type (ie kids, women's), it can make the vollies at the other end's day.

14. Bring Your Own Bags
Keeping with the ethos of op shopping, bringing your own bags is a must. Reasons include saving the environment, oppies don't necessarily provide bags for you and green bags are strong for your breakables. Read lovely Laura's suggestions on why bags are so damn handy on her A Little Boutique Near Home blog post about getting oppy ready!

15. Little Can Mean Big
Again giving the little oppies a go, it's kind of a "don't judge a book by it's cover" rule here - you may think a particular op shop is a little too small to have anything decent on offer - but think again!

16. Keep The Husband Happy
In the interest of fairness this could relate to any significant other who may dampen your ventures. So perhaps it should be known as "Don't Bring xx Along"! Depending on how much your other half annoys you when shopping, trust your instincts on bringing them along when you are down for some serious op shopping. Speaking of partners, here's a great international article about finding the right men's gear.

17. Small Shop Courtesy
Some of the smaller guys can often have a lot of stuff, which makes for a bit of squeezing past others. And manners. Please use your manners.

18. If Unsure, Ring First
If you've got bits and pieces to donate, but are unsure as to whether they'll be suitable - just ring! The oppie will soon tell you if your item is for the donation bin or the rubbish bin.

19. Don't Judge A Suburb By Its Cover
Kind of keeping the "keep fresh" tip in mind, it's all about mixing it up - and trying the places you normally wouldn't. Disregard anything you think you may know about the suburb or place you are heading too, be open and make up your own mind.

20. Don't Buy Furniture Unprepared
Finding a piece that you've always wished for is a wonderful feeling - but not being able to take it home with you on the day isn't. So if you are furniture hunting make sure you can get it home, be aware of 'on-hold' terms & conditions and of course have somewhere to display it at home! Laura from A Little Boutique Near Home gives you some great tips too, when it comes to furniture buying, on her blog post about preparing for your op shopping journey.

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Mother's Little Helper - The Top 20 Op Shopping Rules + Western Australia