On my Tray of Bliss today are my latest thrift shop bargains.
I love shopping at thrift shops, or op shops as they are called here.
The one I love the most is in an industrial area close to my daughters dance school and I adore scurrying in for a nosey around, late in the afternoons after dropping her at dance class.
It's an Aladdins Cave in there.
Apart from the usual discarded neon tank tops and quasi-designer shoes and bags, they have frequent deliveries of all kinds of vintage ware. I've purchased nearly all of my pretty things there, and totally refurbished my daughters bedroom into a shabby chic heaven for under $250 with recycled bargains.
In doing so, I've also delivered food hampers and flood relief into the hands of people who need it the most. Because of course, that's the idea of thrift shops....they raise money for all kinds of good causes.
If you haven't discovered thrift store shopping, perhaps now is the time. Just be prepared to roll up your sleeves, search and plunder, and sometimes walk away empty handed. But nothing ventured, nothing gained. Here's a guide to successful op-shopping.
1. If musty dusty smells bother you, then I have it on good authority that a damp teabag will ward off the mites and prevent a sneezing attack so tuck one into your bag in a sealed container before you leave. Take a delicate sniff when the dust mites become too much.
2. Wear comfy shoes and old clothes and if you're really sensitive, take some disposable gloves. Pop them on while you're searching, removing them when you're done and disposing of them appropriately.
3. Be prepared to spend some time cleaning up your bargains. Few things at the op-shop are in pristine condition, but respond beautifully to a bit of detergent, soaking, scrubbing or polishing.
4. Try to imagine alternative uses for things. I have a handtowels rolled up in a lustreware vase, bubble bath in several cut glass whisky decanters, cosmetics in a wicker cutlery tray, and pens and pencils in an old plastic chocolate box.
5. If 'what your friends will think' bothers you, don't tell them. Say you inherited them, or were given them, or got them at a garage sale...although I'm yet to comprehend why it's okay to buy things at garage sales, but not op-shops. Go figure.
6. Finally, when you declutter, give something back to your favourite op-shops. You've loved your someone's cast-offs, so perhaps someone else will adore yours.
My photograph today reveals my bargains from yesterday. An enamelware bowl I've repurposed to hold apples, a copper teapot and sugar cube tongs. Total outlay...$14.10. The ten cents was for the sugar cube tongs, found separately to the teapot, and looked at quizzically by the checkout operator as he handled them. Clearly he'd never seen such a thing.
And that's the best thing about op shopping. You'll find all sorts of surprises for not much cash.
And that's Thrifty with a capital 'T'.
What's on your Tray of Bliss today?