Yesterday I had a day op shopping. I haven't done this in ages. I do love the country op shops the best but I have a heap I do that are within an hour of home and if I do this trip then I will tend to do twenty or more in one day... in a large loop! Chloe and I call this "The great southern run". Except yesterday it was just me on my own, sadly.
Op shops vary. Many now are not charities at all they are profitable businesses run by paid staff. Some have stuff that it is just much cheaper to go to Target and buy ie sheets etc. The other end is old fashioned op shops run by volunteers trying to make money for a charity. They help people two ways, the charity and it gives the community somewhere to buy things they could not normally afford. The good ones also give free goods to people who are in trouble. They are doing good works all round. I keep our own give aways in the car in a bag to give to these ones.
So there are good ones and bad ones. But one thing seems to happen a lot. I find amazing things in op shops my friends have told me are useless. Then they say HOW did you find THAT there!!
So I have a few tips for success. Yesterday I went with a list of things I am needing for projects I really want to do. But also you have to be open to finding something unexpected. And I did, I got myself a beautiful long line cardigan in 100% fine wool that is blue/grey and perfect for me. So I got that and it was $3 and it is gorgeous. I would think it would be $200 plus in a shop. So that one item really, money wise, made the day worthwhile.
I am wanting to make over baskets to look french and be great for storage and I got the perfect baskets. I am framing photos just now and found the most stunning frame... (both these things so far need painting to look like I want them) I have also been after a candelabra to make over and I found one! So pretty pleased.
If I am going to do this drive I also call into fruit and veg shops far away as they have amazing bargains! This adds to my savings for the day, maybe paying for my petrol.
I love to get laces, vintage hats with flowers, embroidery etc. Gorgeous trims, beautiful yarn, fabric for sewing and embroidery, velvets, floral cups and saucers... well I have a long list!
Most times gorgeous trims and flowers are found (for me) in the lingerie section or often in the "dress up section". Many city op shops have caught on to "vintage" but still are clueless about what vintage is. For years I have found country op shop ladies will deem the best stuff unwearable and add it to a box for kids to dress up in! So I always ask if they have a dress up box, in country op shops at least. And in these I have found long evening gloves, amazing hats, lacy nighties and all sorts!
Needing velvet I look in curtains, evening wear...
Needing lace I look in curtains, evening wear, lingerie, craft/sewing. Often old slips and half slips aren't hanging they are in boxes or bags somewhere. So I will ask about them and sit on the floor and go through them one by one because this will often be where I find the fanciest embroidery, laces, trims, motifs. Bed jackets are often the best for this and they will be in with slips and nighties, usually!
For instance this hat was in dress ups and this bed jacket in a bag full of slips and bed jackets. Bingo! But in both cases if I didn't ask I wouldn't have found them.
One op shop I visit has all this stuff in big zip plastic bags like blankets come in when you buy them. Another has giant plastic tubs with lids. I will ask to go through them and sit on the floor and take it all out and put it all back... which takes a while! I would really find none of it if I walked in, had a look, and walked out. This is just not how op shopping works.
In the smaller more friendly places I will chat and say what I am looking for. Quite often they will say "hang on! I have something out the back you might like to see..." and Nirvana is being asked to come out the back and see what isn't put out yet.
The best thing if you're local op shop isn't great to always when you are away from home to include the op shops. I go to everyone anywhere we travel. Being somewhere we don't know at all if we stop in a town for a coffee, or petrol or anything I ask is there an op shop here? People draw me maps on serviettes and all kinds of crazy directions and off we go! We have had some amazing discoveries this way. One of these has all the slips etc for 30c. So there I will sit on the floor going through them all.
So think of what you need or really want and then how maybe that can be found. If you want to sew, do patchwork etc look for large amounts of fabric in curtains, doona covers, sheeting.
If you want to make curtains other than looking for curtains look at doona covers, lace table cloths, bedspreads...
If you want to embroider on wool look in coats, scarves...
I want to make country style t towels with a long soft frilly bottom edge. I looked in linens and got a light heavy bed throw, in heavy cotton, vintage and cream. This is the base and I bought a crazy old evening dress in a Laura Ashley type print to be my ruffles. They will look so old fashioned and sweet. Its all in the wash now...
The sun is shining and I have some gardening to do. Have a lovely weekend! xxx