Benalla Op Shops Feature

Why I Love Op Shops (and a haul!)

If you’ve been hanging around for a while, you’ll know I’m always banging on about op shops (and if you’ve just joined in: this is a quick heads-up that I’m always banging on about op shops). I’ve written about op shopping instead of unpacking after moving house. I’ve written about getting super old stuff for free because it looked like scrunched up newspaper. I’ve even written about finding the perfect mug in an op shop in the middle of a roadtrip.

But why do I keep going on about op shops? What’s so good about them?

It’s easier to ask what’s not good about them. That’s a much shorter list and it goes like this:

1. Sometimes they’re shut.

That’s it. The worst time of the year is that gap between Christmas and mid-January when you just can’t tell if an op shop’s going to be open. The rest of time, they are glorious shrines of mystery, beckoning me to venture inside on a search for something that I didn’t even know I needed.

Back when I started op shopping, I knew exactly what I needed: clothes for my first library job. Then I went on to needing lots of sewing and knitting stuff and the op shops provided. I found hundreds of vintage knitting patterns (I’m not even joking here – I’m actually a little scared to know how many I have and they’re stored in separate locations about the house to deal with this mild fear). I found more old sewing patterns than I could ever need. I stocked my craft library and I added to my fabric stash.

And now I know that I probably don’t need that stuff any more; that I possibly have enough craft stuff. Well, except for bias binding – you can’t have enough of that.

So now, after a quick rummage for the aforementioned bias binding, I find myself visiting the other treasures op shops have to offer; treasures I’ve overlooked for the past couple of years. Books (that aren’t about sewing). Awesome Tupperware (see below). Old stuff that just looks good.

Instead of searching for the oldest knitting pattern in the country, I’m currently searching for a set of wine glasses and a chest for the end of the bed. We used to have a set of wine glasses, but each one held roughly half a bottle of wine and as much as we love our friends, we don’t really have that sort of budget for alcohol. We either had to economise on friends or wine and I feel we made the right choice when we bid those glasses farewell.

As for the chest at the end of the bed… We’re in the middle of Summer and that means we don’t really need our quilt, except when we occasionally do, thanks to the indecisive weather we have around here. And I’m grown up enough (just) to think that it would be nice if the quilt could be folded up on a chest at the foot of the bed instead of folded on the floor, where the cats think we’ve made them up a rather comfortable cat bed. We could also put our spare sheets in the chest, thus freeing up vital room for various card and board games in our linen press.

Basically, this change in needs has brought a whole new appreciation of op shops. They truly do have everything. I don’t need to give up the only type of shopping I enjoy just because I’m searching for homewares instead of sewing patterns!

When I took my mum to trawl through the op shops of Benalla, I was able to enjoy them on a whole different level. And I brought home a whole bagful of goodies as well, of course. Here’s what I purchased, for a grand total of $33.50.

Cheese Board Set: $5

Benalla Op Shops Cheese Board

We eat a lot of cheese in this house. Possibly too much. Regardless, this is going to go perfectly with that set of wine glasses once I find it!

Zip: 50c & Ribbed Navy Stockings: $1

Benalla Op Shops Haby

There’s another haberdashery item I always need: a stash of zips. Op shops are full of them. They also tend to have a fabulous stash of stockings and I am partial to a good pair of ribbed stockings. These are a dark navy and will go perfectly with the dresses I’ve been making over the past year.

Photo Frame: $1

Benalla Op Shops Frame

I’m starting a new job at the end of this month and I bought this frame in the hopes that I’ll have a desk with space for it. The only tricky bit is choosing just three photos to put inside.

Striped T-shirt: $5 & Pink T-shirt: $3

Benalla Op Shops Tshirts

You can never have too may t-shirts, can you? I have a couple I’m planning to sew before Summer is over but I thought these two would be lovely additions to my current collection, which features a bit too much black and grey.

Iron: $10

Benalla Op Shops Iron 01

I have an iron, but it’s not fabulous, so why not try a vintage iron? Turns out, it’s a little scary. It heated up in no time flat and it stayed that way for quite a while, even after I’d turned it off. I… kind of love it, though. It’s currently at my parents’ place so my dad can check it out and make sure the thermostat’s working properly. Even if it turns out I can’t use the iron, it will still make a fabulous decorative piece. Or a pattern weight.

Benalla Op Shops Iron 02

(My mum actually bought this one since I had no cash and we were in a technology-challenged op shop. Thanks, ma!)

Tupperware Picnic Set: $8

Benalla Op Shops Tupperware 01

This ties with the iron for my favourite find, and not just because it made my mum incredibly jealous when I came up to show it to her. It’s a gorgeous little Tupperware lunch set with four containers inside, two of which are original with two ring-ins that still fit.

Benalla Op Shops Tupperware 02

I think it will be perfect for taking my lunch to work, especially if I leave out some of the containers so there’s room for an ice-block.

Benalla Op Shops Tupperware 03

There’s barely a sewing-related item in that whole bunch (well, OK, two) but I’m still delighted with my bag full of goodies. And that’s why I love op shops so much, because it honestly doesn’t matter how much my needs change – op shops will always be there for me.

Except when they’re shut.

Are you an op shopper (or thrifter) too? What was your favourite of my finds this time around? Let me know in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you.

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Alana Elliott 19th January 2019 - 3:45 pm

I’m so jealous of your Tupperware find! I really need to give op shops more credit!

Katie 19th January 2019 - 4:24 pm

Isn’t it fabulous? I almost wish I was going back to work sooner so I could put it to use already! The great thing about Vinnies is that they date their price tags, so I know it was only on the shelves for one day before I found it. It’s definitely all about timing with op shops. And a loooooot of patience. I hope you have a chance to check out some op shops soon and pick up some treasures. 🙂

Amy 21st January 2019 - 8:05 am

I love op shopping So much fun to see what you can discover, that picnic set is brilliant!!

Katie 21st January 2019 - 8:46 am

It’s like a treasure hunt every time, isn’t it? I’m so in love with that picnic set and $8 is quite a good price for it – I had a look for it online and people are trying to charge crazy prices for just the main box alone!

Poppy (Tall Tales) 21st January 2019 - 4:41 pm

Yay! I am also obsessed with op shopping, and actually I love your idea of documenting your special finds on your blog! I should try that!

I get all my best clothes, house stuff and also BOOKS from op shops, you can just find the most wonderful things, I just love them. I am lucky too, as there are quite a few in the suburb where I live, so you can do a bit of a tour all in one day and they are all very close!

Also… I think op shops are lovely because of the pleasure you can get from one beautiful object or special find. I think it is one of the ways to be happy, to concentrate on the pleasure you get from small things 🙂 So it is nice to find someone else who loves op shops too! 🙂

Katie 21st January 2019 - 4:47 pm

It really is the only type of shopping worth doing! I do love to share my finds here because it’s fun to share my excitement and I also hope it might encourage other people to give op shops a go. As you’ve discovered, you can find ANYTHING in op shops (and especially books – we have so many op shopped books in this house that we now need to investigate op shopped bookshelves).

You’re right about the pleasure that comes from a fabulous find – it’s almost as good as the item itself, isn’t it? 🙂

Alyse Bailey 22nd January 2019 - 11:15 am

We have some incredibly shops in New York! Bought a sweater last week that was $3 (original price was $120). I haven’t bought anything full price/new in so long.

Katie 22nd January 2019 - 11:30 am

Isn’t it great when they leave the original tag on? Well done on your fabulous find!

Dianne 22nd January 2019 - 9:14 pm

You know I love op shops as much as you do! I really have very little intetest in shopping amywhere else ( ok except fabric shops or daiso!). Found some gorgeous summer dresses late last year which needed a bit of alteration work, but I now love! Photos on my blog soon.

Katie 23rd January 2019 - 10:37 am

Ah yes, op shop and fabric stores – do we really need anything else? 😀 I’ll be keeping an eye on your blog for these Summer dresses you altered.

Fiona Harper 26th January 2019 - 11:02 am

Op shops are my go to place to find nicely weathered jeans. I love the hunt almost as much as the purchase!

Katie 26th January 2019 - 2:15 pm

Yes, the hunt is what makes it so much fun! Normal shopping is incredibly boring when you’re used to op shopping. 😀


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