5 Unique Guiding Principles for Op Shopping

Shopping centres filled with chain stores that sell brand new items have become bland, conspicuous buildings across suburbia. Contrast this with the tucked away op shop somewhere along the local street, with minimal signage and perhaps a flag out the front to capture your attention.

Experienced op shoppers love these treasure trove hideaways and embrace the habit of choosing to shop in op shops first. However, with the help of these 5 unique guiding principles for op shopping, you’ll also become confident about discovering the joys of shopping second hand.

Guiding Principle 1

Be Prepared

When we genuinely embrace an eco friendly lifestyle, we’re encouraged to live resourcefully every day.

There are two elements to this first guiding principle of op shopping – our mindset and our physical preparedness.

Be Physically Prepared

Creating a list of things we’d like to find at the op shop gives us a clear focus and becomes mission possible when we cross it off the wish list!

You never know when you’ll come across that pair of “vintage high waisted cigarette pants”, unique “lamp picture frames”, or even those “cork-backed placemats”. Taking a list with you is my second tip for op shopping mindfully…

However, list taker, beware! It would be a shame to miss out on something else that’s equally amazing, which is why an open mindset is just as important when being prepared for op shopping.

An Open Mindset

A “wanted” list of things keeps us focussed but going in with an open mind, and an open heart helps with our flexibility that things don’t always go to plan. Be prepared to accept that we may never find that one thing on the Op Shop List – in a hurry.

Patience is when we’re willing to wait for things we want.

Guiding Principle 2

Be Committed

To show perseverance when op shopping is about looking high, low, under and around.

Be committed to neatly rummaging through each section of the op shop, as every space has the potential for harbouring your piece of “gold” that you never knew you needed.

Frequent op shoppers habitually check every section – even a couple of times if time allows – for their surprise discovery & “just in case” find. Checking every section comprehensively is my third tip for op shopping mindfully…

Unfortunately, an unlabelled, donated item’s purpose can become a questionable “what on earth is this?” item when it’s outside the context of a branded, new product store. Watch this slightly risque yet hilarious Tropfest short film about a strange donation…

Guiding Principle 3

Shop Mindfully

Simple sustainable living means being more selective about what comes into our homes.

When we take personal responsibility for ourselves and our planet, shopping mindfully is a beaut guiding principle about living a sustainable lifestyle

Shop mindfully by buying an item you absolutely love and will use or wear frequently. 

In Gretchen Rubin’s book Outer Order Inner Calm: Declutter & Organise to Make More Room for Happiness, shopping smart is a recommended helpful habit to cultivate.

Avoid falling into the “cheaper than if I buy brand new” trap. Go here for my 11 Hot Tips for Op Shopping Mindfully...

Guiding Principle 4

Embrace the Pricing

Op shops are retail stores and are one of the original concepts of a recycling and reuse economy. They support our local community by accepting quality donations (therefore reducing landfill & waste), employing volunteers, and using the profits to invest in their community.

If you’re keen to dig a little deeper into your local op shop’s core interest – check out their social media page and website or ask the store manager.

This article from Eco Warrior Princess helps you start to understand the transparency of your charity thrift shop. 

Accepting the thrift charity shop pricing – regardless of an item’s perceived value and worth – shows graciousness and courtesy. Overheads such as rent, electricity, insurances, banking fees, cleaning and operating costs are just as relevant for op shops as brand-new mainstream shops.

Every dollar we spend at op shops helps create stronger and locally relevant social and community change. So if you’re not keen on the asking price, leave it for the next person who’ll embrace the price on their new gem for them.

Knowing your prices and brands is my fourth hot tip for op shopping mindfully…

Guiding Principle 5

Cherish the Mood

When op shopping, cherish the shop’s individual vibe!

Is it listening to the community radio station, bopping along to a song you haven’t heard in ages, helping others as a complimentary personalised shopper, or is it as simple as having a chat with the volunteers? 

All this can be done with kindness and compassion – a personable way of investing in our community.

Shopping second hand is different to shopping brand new. Op shops, in particular, are a century-old retail offering that gives us an authentic choice in how we shop sustainably. 

When we choose to shop with these 5 unique guiding principles for op shopping in mind, we value our local community, people, financial and environmental decisions, and the planet.

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