I have a confession: I am a secret op shopper. Many of the clothes that I wear on weekends, to work, and even to the swanky cocktail functions and balls that I went to while on posting overseas in Taiwan are op shop purchases. As are accessories and even handbags. Plus most of the furniture in our house.
I am adept at picking up bargains: the thrill is in the hunt. I find quality, and usually there is little (if any) difference between op shop and department store bought. If people ask me where I found a certain (op shop) article, I usually just answer “my husband bought it as a present”. Unless they are a friend and frugalista, in which case I share all the details of the bargain. But even some op shops in Australia are getting expensive these days. So just let me gloat a little bit about my latest finds from a gem of an op shop: Another Chance at the Scullin shops in Canberra.
It is kind of hidden behind a medical practice, and you probably wouldn’t know it is there — or that it is so good — unless you are in the know.
So what did I buy?
- Brand new Natio foundation ($5)
- Revlon new pressed powder in case ($5)
- A scarf ring ($4)
- A little girl heart necklace ($4)
- A colourful bracelet (bought for a present – $1)
- A gold fleur-de-lis and pearl bag chain/keyring (not sure the use for this yet – $3)
- A chunky brown necklace (fake amber plastic, but nice colour – $2)
- A leather handbag ($4)
The grand total for all of this extravagance? $28!
For me, that is actually quite an extravagance as I am infamously frugal. I nearly didn’t buy the handbag: I put it back, then at a whim decided to buy it anyway. I already have two work handbags, but I am glad I bought this tote because it is just the right shape, and has just the right amount of pockets for what I need, including for my indispensible HTC One phone. Simply said: I like it and it feels right.
The makeup was an especially good investment. They were brand new, never opened, and the Natio foundation was the right colour and feels fabulous.
The scarf ring I have worn several times. I wear a lot of scarves, but never seen to be able to tie them right. This solves the problem.
And the little girl necklace? Well, as girly as it seems, I just love it and have been wearing it every weekend. Oh yes, and also once to work. It makes me feel like a kid at heart.
On this trip, I steered away from toys because the kids have too many – I am trying to reduce and declutter. But Big A came with me on my last trip to Another Chance, so we ended up with a Cinderella story book (his choice), a book of Wiggles jigsaws, and some cute Wotwot pieces to use with play dough. The Wotwots have become his favourite thing of all time at the moment so this $3 toy has provided hours of fun.
I also steered away from books, because I realised from unpacking our boxes in storage that I have many that I haven’t read yet. And we don’t even have a proper bookcase to display them all on. So no more books (including cookbooks) until I clean out some more. Actually, I recognised some of my cookbooks on display here. But still I was tempted to buy some more.
I also, somewhat reluctantly, avoided the clothing racks. When we packed to leave Taipei in January, I was shocked when I did the shipping inventory to discover how many clothes we had. I had not just one coat – I had ten. Even our lovely carer, ‘M’, admitted laughingly that I had a lot of clothes. So I am on a challenge not to buy any new clothes for a year (unless essential) and to instead appreciate what I have.
But this didn’t stop me looking. Although small, the selection at Another Chance is clean and well organised — they have colour coded the items and have separate racks for plus size and maternity clothing. Here are some of the interesting things that I spotted:
A red check Tommy Hilfinger shirt ($4). (Did you also see the shoes in the background? The Betts as-new brown boots were pretty cool. Sadly not my size.)
A sexy plus-sized black top.
A burnt orange polo neck jumper — I love winter orange.
A brown shirt with leopard/shell detail on the neckline, which jingled and jangled prettily.
An as-new grey jersey Witchery dress with a pretty grey ribbon.
Oh my, someone went to a lot of trouble to tailor make this purple dress with pink ruffled collar. But there is something about the purple floral fabric that appeals to me. If only I could sew, maybe I could convert it into a sexy retro evening outfit. Or cushions.
Oh, I missed the Bradman mug! And the Diana wall vase. I had to buy a wall vase recently to replace one that Little A destroyed (long story, but kids and leisurely afternoon tea with neighbours showing off newly purchased ceramics do not mix.)
Another Chance is run by the Mosaic Baptist church. It opens from Monday to Friday from 10.00am to 4.30pm, and on Saturdays from 10.00am to 1.00pm. For more information contact the shop during operating hours on 02 6278 4135.
From 23 June, Another Chance will have a sale on board games and jigsaw puzzles — just in time to enjoy a cosy night in with friends over the chilly winter months.