Op shopping for clothes is an art in itself, but it is far more sustainable to shop for clothes second hand than to head straight to a department store, especially for children’s clothes, plus you are likely to find very unique wears! I stand at one end of a clothes rack and scan for the colours I like, then I feel the fabric, and then, only if it is good quality I check its size and style. This method saves me time which in some ways, is as important as saving money.
The haberdashery section is often my first port of call in most op shops, curtains can be very expensive to buy new and op shops always have a splendid selection, rummage in the baskets and drawers to build your collection of curtain rings and hooks at home, I have a box in my hall cupboard that I am always diving into when changing curtains for the seasons.
I keep a document on my phone with my window measurements and drop lengths, which has been very handy when buying curtains second hand. You can even use it for things too like measurements of your living room, bedrooms and bathrooms for things like rugs and bathmats. Even better, get yourself a small measuring tape and keep it in the glovebox of your car to have it on hand for when you need it.
I always check the quality and usability of every item I buy. Also, I try not to buy too much, I can go to 5 op shops and come home with one cute pottery bowl.
I often make a bee line for my favourite section such as kitchen wares & curtains, sometimes I’ll only look at one section in an op shop and leave. I also recommend headphones with your favourite music to cancel out any noise while shopping.
It’s my kind of place! This wonderland of a store not only sells all the treasure seen in my images, but it is also the central recycling & reuse stop for so many locals. In 1999 the community of Wānaka decided to take steps to divert rubbish going to landfill, so they got together and created the Wānaka recycling centre, the reuse shop opened in early 2000 and it’s still going strong. Wastebusters goals are to reclaim resources and minimise waste, make communities resourceful, affordable and fun places to live in, and to work towards a zero waste world.
Wastebusters core services are business and events recycling, drop-off recycling, reuse shops, education for sustainability, advocacy and support of waste minimisation in the community and in our country.
Wānaka has two splendid Hospice op shops, one in town which has a touch of boutique lushness and the second shop is 2km out of town and is more of a warehouse style rummage shop, basically it’s bliss! Both are an absolute must see if you are in Wānaka, so do take the time! You can source anything from homewares to clothing, shoes and habidashery.
The stores are independent Upper Clutha organisations and most funds raised are used to benefit the Upper Clutha community. The stores were formed by a group of Wānaka residents to develop a palliative and respite care facility in the Upper Clutha for the benefit of those suffering from terminal illnesses.
The Family Store is also a must see, another large warehouse style op shop with an abundance of treasure just waiting to be found. As with most Salvation Army Family Stores throughout New Zealand, this one is beaming with treasure.
For me, op shopping has simply become a way of life, it is almost ingrained in me now to head to 3 or 4 op shops to find things I need like a hammer, bed sheets, stationery or something for my kitchen instead of heading to a department store.
They instil a sense of community, are always playing nostalgic music that leaves you mellowing somewhere between 1925 and 1979, and they encourage people to veer away from fast fashion and fast furniture. Not to mention all that each individual op shop does for its community and their cause.
Op shopping, it is simply the way forward.