You don't have to understand the world. You just have to find your own way around in it. - Albert Einstein

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

The Op Shop Manifesto

Op-shopping is more than just a past-time or a way to get cheap stuff for me. I am absolutely obsessed and addicted to op-shopping, beyond all reason. If I'm travelling along in a car, and I see an op shop, or even if I know we're close to one, my heart thumps and my pulse rises. On Thursdays and Fridays from 10am - 2pm, when the very best op shop is open, I just can't sit still. No matter how fiercely I had resolved not to go op shopping that week, it's hopeless. I have to be otherwise occupied or I will end up at the op shop. And I will come home with a garbage bag full. I just can't help myself.

Fortunately, this is an addiction that has very few unpleasant side effects - the only one that I can think of being the clutter, and the growing likelihood that I will end up as a case study on that Hoarders show - but a great number of wonderfully positive side effects. Charities are supported, and in turn, the needy are cared for. Landfill is diverted and consumerism is thwarted. I get to live surrounded by beautiful things, and a number of my friends are dressed in style without ever having to bother going shopping themselves. I get so much wonderful feedback that I just keep going back for more, and an enjoyable hobby has become a standard for a way of life, even a spiritual practise.

If that sounds a bit far-fetched to you, please have a look at my favourite thrifting blog, Thrift Shopper for Peace. She has a wonderful thrifting manifesto on her 'about' page. I love how she equates the phrase 'peace on earth' with being at peace with the earth, i.e. living in an environmentally conscious manner.

Today I was feeling a bit wretched. Restless and unsettled with niggling anxiety. The day wore on, and I wasn't snapping out of it through the usual means of relaxation, napping and reading a good book. I had to do something to shift my state of mind. Suddenly I knew just what I needed. I asked Mr CJ to take me for a drive to an op shop, a big warehouse one. I knew I would come good in there, surrounded by all the stories and potentials nestled cheek-by-jowl along aisles and on shelves. I was right. I started feeling much better as soon as we pulled into the car park. After 30 seconds in there, I had reached the bookshelves and I was myself again. Well, a calm and preferable aspect of myself.

I had no real intention of buying anything, really. These big Salvo's Stores are just too high-priced. I have to want an item really bad to pay those kind of prices. But of course, I managed to discover a couple of pieces that really wanted to come home with me. I remember this stunning treasury of Australian artists and writers from when I was a little one.

At $15, it's possibly the most I've paid for an item in an op shop, other than furniture. But this is a really special one. Even I couldn't quibble over the $15 for this. A quick flick through, and I was suddenly so sad for anyone who didn't grow up in Australia or otherwise have access to the magic of the art of May Gibbs.

There was whole stack of this gorgeous maroon-floral patterned crockery, but the $2-per-item price tag let me be happy enough just to take one bowl and one plate.

There are all sorts of things wrong with this cup. It's not maroon, or even pink, it's too modern and un-vintage-y, and, $3 for a cup in an op shop! - you've got to be kidding. But, I just love the oversized French style cups which are so hard to find in Australia. And it has one of my favourite words printed on it.

I'm still a bit shocked with myself for paying $8 for this dress. But it fits me without need of alteration, and it's pure linen, which is just such a wonderful fibre for a heat-sensitive little water-flower like me. I just need some more maroon dye, and this one will be going for a swim in the hot-tub.

Other op-shop jaunts over the past week have yielded some more economical treasures. At one shop, I selected six books. And I mean good quality books, not old reader's digests or what have you. I paid a total of $2.45.

An extra-special find - a copy of  The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden. I've often come across references to this extraordinary work before, but never actually seen a copy of the book. Oh my beating heart. And yep, this gem was one of those six books for $2.45.

As if I didn't have enough gorgeous floral vintage sheets - but how could anyone pass this up for $1?

So-cute little nightwear singlet top, $1

This lovely luca & marc top fits me, but I'm not yet sure if the style really suits. I probably won't be able to tell until it's been maroonified. At $1, it's worth the risk.

Now, after all that, I'm feeling fabulous again, and I didn't even use any p.r.n. medications.

Poor Mr CJ, however, who was having a crap day too, isn't so profoundly influenced by the presence of pre-loved goods. I'm about to spend some time applying a heat pack, massaging the knots in his neck and rubbing his head 'til he gets sleepy. That's my job, while it's his job to drive the car. (Epilepsy = no driver's license for Lady Demelza.) I reckon it's a pretty good deal.

*Linked in with Flea Market Finds at Her Library Adventures.

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