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10 Tips for Op-Shopping (AKA Thrifting)

Vintage Sheets

This is another of the posts I originally put together for Kidspot. I often get asked how I get so lucky and manage to find so much great stuff on my op-shopping adventures. While luck certainly plays a major role in my thrifting success, over the years I have picked up a few tips and tricks for sorting the trash from the treasure, so here they are!

Go Often

Stock in op-shops can come and go very quickly and the best items tend to move fast, especially in busy city stores. Go as often as you can to maximise your chances of finding hidden gems. If you are really serious about op-shopping, it doesn’t hurt to ask an employee when they refill their stock and find out if there is a schedule for adding new items. If you go right after the stock has been replenished you’ll beat everyone else to the good stuff.

Be Prepared

Some op-shops still don’t accept cards so make sure you have some cash on hand. Thrifting is also a bit more time consuming than shopping in retail stores and, unlike when you are at a shopping centre, there probably won’t be stalls selling snacks nearby. Make sure you have plenty of time and eat before you go. Op-shopping isn’t much fun if you are rushed or hungry.

Vintage Plates

Wander Further Afield

I have always found little op-shops in small towns to be absolute goldmines so when we go on road trips we always make a point of stopping at as many op-shops as we can. Try to get off the beaten track.

Be Thorough

Op-shopping is not like strolling through a clothes store where you can quickly scan the displays. You need to set aside some time to go through the individual racks of clothes, sort through the crockery and dig through the boxes of assorted junk. It takes a little more patience than traditional shopping but if you are thorough, you can be rewarded with great finds at bargain prices.

Only Buy The Things You Love

If you op-shop often and you bring home everything thing you like, you will very quickly find yourself overwhelmed with stuff. When I first started thrifting regularly I used to bring home almost everything that I liked (because it was so affordable) but I soon learned that this is just a recipe for clutter. The cost of all those small purchases adds up too, so you can wind up spending a lot more than you might imagine. Try to resist the things you like and only bring home the things you love.

Vintage Pyrex Bowls

Think Creatively

Look for the potential in things and try to be open-minded. Sometimes clothes, knick-knacks and furniture just need a minor alteration or repair to make them wonderful. Other things can be repurposed into something entirely new. Use your imagination and try to think outside the box.

Remember What You Actually Need

I have certain things that I collect, like vintage linens and vintage Pyrex, so when I enter an op-shop I make a beeline for those sections. I also try to keep a mental list of things I need and want, so that I remember to keep an eye out for them when I’m thrifting. I find that if you go into a store without any idea of what you need or want, you’re more likely to miss out on treasures (because you won’t be looking for them) or come out of the shop with a bunch of unnecessary extras.

Be Impulsive

It stands in direct contrast to my last point but part of the fun of op-shopping is that you can be a bit more impulsive than you might normally, and come home with something completely unexpected. I love the thrill of stumbling across something weird and wonderful! After all, if you change your mind about the item you can always donate it back.

Linens

Leave Some Treasures Behind

Sometimes I see an amazing vintage dress that isn’t in my size and find myself wondering who I could buy it for, or considering buying it to resell. When that happens I have to remind myself that I would probably never get around to listing all those vintage items that aren’t quite right for me, so they’d just be taking up space in my house. If it isn’t going to work for you, or you have no need or space for it, let it go. I find it helps to think about how happy the item will make the next person who comes along and can actually use it.

Don’t Get Discouraged

Sometimes I go months without finding a single thing and I begin to wonder if all the vintage treasures have disappeared for good, then out of nowhere I’ll find something amazing. You never know when you are going to discover the next little gem so don’t give up! In my experience, if it feels like your luck has totally run out, you are probably just around the corner from finding something really special.

Katie xx

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Thrifty Finds

It’s been a little while since we posted about our op-shop finds, so I thought today I’d share some of our most recent treasures. We haven’t done a lot of thrifting lately, but have managed to squeeze in a few op-shop visits and garage sales here and there…

Vintage Tablecloths

I stumbled across a whole stack of vintage tablecloths at a garage sale last weekend. Naturally, I took the lot! I really can’t say no to pretty vintage linens.

Teaset

I ummed and ahhed about this tea set, but in the end the fact it was complete and only $5 won me over. Because all of our plates and most of our mugs are vintage and have been gathered on our adventures, barely anything in our kitchen matches. Though I love our mismatched, scrappy collection, complete sets are so nice.

Vintage Apron

I rarely think to wear one when I’m actually cooking, but I love vintage aprons. This one with its cute floral print just might be my favourite ever.

Bedside Tables

We haven’t had bedside tables since we lived in Sydney, as our bedroom in Bendigo was too narrow to fit them in. These 70s tables were $25 for the set and they go with our old bed so perfectly. (Oh and look! We’re finally off the floor living room floor and in our bedroom!!)

Granny Blankets

Over the last couple of years we have acquired about eleventy million granny blankets, so I try to practice restraint and be selective about the ones I bring home these days, but I couldn’t resist these two. The colours are so good!

Vintage Serving Tray

Speaking of so good, this incredibly retro serving tray was $2! Yes!

Vintage Sheets

And last but not least, two more vintage sheets for my ever growing collection. The orange one matches the blue sheet from my last thrifty finds post! One day I hope to turn all my lovely old sheets into beautiful quilts… (and some more dresses!)

Have you had any great thrifty finds lately?

Katie x

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Valentines Day Thrifty Finds

Reuben had Valentines Day off this year, and rather than spending it working on the house, we treated ourselves to a little day out. We haven’t had much time for fun stuff lately so Valentines Day seemed like an excellent excuse. We drove to Bendigo, had a delicious lunch at Bendigo Corner Store Cafe (again) and spent the afternoon pottering about in our favourite op-shops. That’s pretty much my idea of the perfect day! And happily, our treasure hunting was quite fruitful. Here’s what we found:

Sheridan Pillowcases

I love all vintage linens but have a particular fondness for pillow cases. I love piles of mismatched retro florals on my bed. And these ones are still in the orginal packet! Hurrah!

Curtains

Speaking of retro, would you look at these curtains!? I bought them to repurpose the fabric, but might even hang the blue ones in our kitchen.

Paper Recycling Kit

Reubs found this paper recycling kit and when he showed me I almost squealed. It’s the exact same kit I had (and loved) as a little girl, and in perfect condition, with all its bits and pieces intact. I’m quite looking forward to making some paper with it!

Vintage Tea Towel

This vintage tea towel is one of my favourite finds in a long, long time. It’s in brand new condition and obviously has never been used. I love those daisies and scallops! I’d like to find somewhere in our new house to hang it up.

Vintage Plates

I’ve been trying not to buy more vintage plates as we have accumulated so many, I actually had to donate quite a stack of them when we packed to come stay with my mum, but I couldn’t resist these! They are just so perfectly 70s.

Vintage Sheets

Of course, I couldn’t call it a successful trip without finding some vintage sheets for my collection. I can’t wait to get back into sewing once we’ve moved. I miss it!

Milk Jug

And finally, a little milk jug to match some of my vintage plates. I love when I find something old that matches another I already have at home.

Have you had any good op-shop/thrift store finds lately? I’d love to hear about them!

Katie x

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Road Trip Thrifty Finds

While we were away we took every opportunity we had to pop into as many op-shops as possible (of course!) Unfortunately we did a lot of driving in the evenings and on weekends when op-shops were closed, so we passed many we were unable to visit, but we did get to stop at a few and we found a nice collection of treasures. My very favourite find is the little vintage quilt pictured above. I found it in an op-shop in Dorrigo for $3 and could hardly believe my luck! The camera doesn’t really do the prettiness of the vintage fabrics in it justice. It is truly lovely. I am also very chuffed with the set of vintage canisters, the teapot, the vintage sheets, the serving platters and the old craft books we found. Very chuffed indeed!

Have you found any thrifty treasures lately? I so enjoy hearing about people’s finds!

Katie x

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The Vintage Nest

This weekend we visited family in gorgeous Bellingen. It’s such a beautiful part of the world! And while we were there I was very exited to visit The Vintage Nest. I had been hearing good things about this little shop and had been looking forward to visiting for such a long time. Coffee, cake and shelves stacked with vintage? Oh, yes please! We had a lovely time rummaging through the treasures and sipping lattes. I couldn’t really think of a nicer way to while away an afternoon…

Katie x

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