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Op shop like a pro: Top tips for secondhand shopping

Op shopping can be a real effort - hundreds of unsorted items in every size imaginable. How on earth do you find the best pieces? Read on for our top op shopping tips!

1. Write a list of exactly what you're looking for

If you go in with a clear idea of the pieces you'd like to find, you can save a lot of time by skipping over anything that isn't the right colour, material or length. Rather than looking at every single pair of jeans, only pull out those in the specific wash you're after.

2. Know what looks good on you

We've all had the frustrating experience of going into the change room with 15 items and coming out with only one or two you actually like. Take a look at your current wardrobe, note what kind of cuts, colours and materials you tend to gravitate towards, and look for similar pieces while op shopping. It'll save you time and sadfaces ;'(

3. Allocate plenty of time

Some of the best op shop finds are hidden in deep dark corners of random racks. If you head in with nowhere to be, you give yourself the ability to search far more thoroughly. Despite the fact that most op shops are sorted by type and sometimes size, many things are still on the wrong racks so it's definitely worth a deep dive!

4. Don't rule out swimwear

Until recently, we'd never dared touch the swimwear section of second hand stores. Surprise! There are some GREAT finds around that are brand new with tags. No grossness necessary.

5. Check everything thoroughly before purchase

Most secondhand stores do not allow returns, even if the items you purchase are damaged. Make sure you give all your finds a once-over to ensure there are no stains, marks or missing embellishments before you buy.

6. Hit the mens section

Even if there's no man in your life to buy for, you can still find some bangin' pieces for yourself. Think oversized tees, boyfriend jeans, jackets, party shirts, and hats.

7. Pay attention to brand

We're no label snobs, but double checking the brand of what you want to buy can save you heartbreak down the track. Clothing from fast fashion brands and other mass produced outlets is often terrible quality and does not last beyond a few wears. If you're unsure, pull out your phone and do a quick google search.

8. Check out the signage in store for extra discounts

Many op shops have discount racks and half price items, making already affordable second hand clothes even cheaper! For example, Salvo's stores use colour coded tags which include $2 and half price items.

9. Location, location, location

Since secondhand and vintage shopping became 'cool', prices have skyrocketed. This is especially the case in certain suburbs. If you're a Sydney-sider, for example, you can save a bunch by heading to the Salvo's store on Parramatta Rd in Leichhardt compared to the store on King Street in Newtown. 10 minutes away but a huge difference in price.

10. Don't forget the other sections!

You can find some super cool artwork, books, crockery, vintage records, fabric for DIY and so much more in the non-apparel sections of secondhand stores. They're are also a great place to find gifts, so we think it's always worth a look.

What's your best ever op shop find? Leave a comment below!


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