Hands up if you just love to op shop? Me too! Having just picked up a complete outfit for a natutical-themed party for less than $15, I’m even more hooked on thrift shopping than ever. And I’m not alone – a recent survey found that nine out of ten Aussie women have bought something from a charity op shop in recent years.
Op shops (for overseas readers – charity, goodwill or thrift shops) make sense for your budget, for the environment and for the countless people who benefit from the programs funded by the stores.
Think of every loved t-shirt, outrageous find and fancy-dress costume you’ve ever bought from a charity shop and feel the satisfaction…
Now, it’s time to give back.
This week is National Op Shop Week and, this year, organisers want us to focus on giving. They’re asking us to dig deep into our wardrobes (and kitchen cupboards, garages and storage units) and come up with some top-quality donations.
How to make a useful donation
Did you know that op shops have to pay to dispose of the stuff they can’t sell or pass on? Don’t think of the charity shop as a garbage bin. As a rule of thumb only donate what you would happily give to a friend.
If it’s ripped, stained, broken, doesn’t work or missing bits – it’s rubbish. If it’s sturdy, clean, lovely, useful or in full working order – it’s a useful donation.
I’m as guilty as the next person of shoving a pile of clothes into a bag to take to the op shop, but after reading these tips on responsible donating, I’ll be sure to take more care. Bear in mind your donations are sorted by busy volunteers. Clothes are quickly allocated to piles: quality, passable and junk. To make sure your donations pass muster and earn good money, take the time to wash and fold them and, if you can, make any repairs or give them a quick iron. Try to think of your donation as a gift rather than something to be offloaded, fast.
So… What do I do with the stuff I can’t donate?
Clothes that are beyond repair may have to become rags – seek out a local rag or cotton recycling company and send them there. Broken furniture or toys can be broken down further and at least some parts recycled. Here are some more ideas on how to get rid of stuff.
How to get involved in National Op Shop Week
Sort through your wardrobe and make a meaningful donation to your favourite op shop this weekend. Or spend some time (and some dollars) on second-hand goods from the charity shop – it helps to have a list in your wallet or on your phone of all the random things you need to buy so you have some idea of what you’re looking for. If you can spare more time, consider volunteering at a charity shop to keep this great Aussie institution going. Find tips and more information here. Don’t forget to share your op shop finds on social media with the hashtag #OpShopWeek.