Saturday Thrifting #1

All the op-shops closed from mid-December to January 7th-ish, so my urge to get out and thrift has been nagging me quite a lot. Last weekend was taken up with visiting family, and the op-shops in their town were all closed. Finally, today I had time to walk my familiar thrifting loop and possibly find some treasure!

I was racing (speed-walking) to visit all 10 shops in the short window they’re open on Saturdays (mostly opening at 9am and closing between 12 and 1:30), but it got so so hot (34C or 93F) that I couldn’t stand it anymore and had to stop after 3 hours with only 5 visited.

Amazingly, I actually bought a few things.

First, what I didn’t buy:

The shop I started in often has horribly high prices, but I’ve found a few steals there and they often have new stuff on the shelves. This pair of stacked plates caught my eye.


They’re much more detailed than these things normally are, and when I flipped them over, sure enough, they said “Made in Italy.” Not really something I’d ever buy or use, but they’re pretty. They felt light and delicate though, and the high points of the shells were worn and chipped. $16 for the pair…nope.

On a table nearby were a huge bowl and platter that matched the plates. I was excited to see a lobster on each, but on a second glance, it looked too evil.  And too expensive at $25 each.


I don’t normally like Chinese decor, but this little dragon pot appealed to me. I could see it housing a plant. But, it doesn’t fit my decor, and small ceramic pots with flaking glaze in op-shops shouldn’t cost $8.


The next couple shops had lots of new items, but nothing appealing to me.


My mind focused on the word “coastal” on this package, and I seriously considered buying it for $5. I’ve taken to burning candles as I clean the house, and this was white and a nice simple pattern. I finally decided it was too flimsy and small to be something I’d want to keep long-term. I could easily see it sitting in my outbox, so I left it sitting on the shelf.

The final shop presented some cheap shells.


I spotted the soap dish with a few common green turban shells first, and was going to put it back until I noticed the uncommon little abalone shells hidden beneath. Well worth $1 I thought, until I noticed a hint of pinkish orange along the abalone edges. Orange is my least favorite color, and the abalone shells were orange on their hidden tops. I put the soap dish back.

I spent a good few minutes walking around some more, then as I was leaving, I noticed a large cookie tin on a top shelf with the word “shells” on a piece of tape. Its contents were surprisingly different from the types I usually find in op-shops here, and it was only $4. However, over half of the shells were broken and I already have containers of shells I’m not using.

I put it back, walked out into the heat, considered the 30-minute walk to the next shop (the best one in town), and decided a taxi home would make me happier. I had already bought some things that satisfied me enough to call it a fantastic day’s thrifting.

What did I buy?


A huge haul, by my standards! I often come home empty-handed.

First was this little Mexico-labelled ceramic bird for 50 cents.


I snatched it up, marvelled that it was so cheap, then started the usual “do I really want it” arguments in my head. I generally try to only buy large decor items these days, rather than little dust-collectors. I already have a pair of ceramic quail that I love, but haven’t displayed in literally years. I could immediately think of a spot for this in my home though, so I handed over the coin. It’ll sit on the windowsill of our guest loo.


It has an illegible signature and what I think says “num 501” or “num 301” handwritten on the side, and I searched Google for a while for similar Mexican pottery birds, but couldn’t find any resembling the shape, coloring, and glaze.

The charm bracelet, bundle of soap, and candle all came from the same shop. It’s one that usually doesn’t have anything new or for my taste, so this was a welcome surprise. They felt a bit pricier than I would have paid in the past, but I’m making way more money now than I ever have before, so I reasoned that I could spend this tiny bit.

First I saw the candle in an enamelware bowl for $3.


I recently became aware of how expensive new candles like this are, and it smells great. I just need to rinse the dust off and it’ll be good to light. It’s a big candle, but I do wonder if it’ll really last 55 hours as the packaging claims.

Next I spotted the soap, also $3.


I nearly put it back, because I can buy packages of new soap for cheaper, but I’ve recently discovered the joy of having a nicer soap in the shower. I’ve been tempted by hand-made soaps in the retail shops and markets, but put off by the $3-$9 per bar price. I have no idea how nice this’ll be, but I’ll take a little risk.

Last was the the charm bracelet. Unpriced, but $2 when I asked.


It’s cheap, tacky, and too overtly coastal-themed. But I like it, and I’ll wear it.

My final buy was a shell necklace for $1.50.


I wasn’t too sure about it at first. It had a bit too much green, and the iridescence showed purple. Not as bad as orange, but still not a good color. The clasp is very flimsy and fiddly. It also had some kind of dark goop dripped and dried onto parts of it. I carried it around for a while, and it grew on me. Its color is very similar to the New Zealand Paua shells gifted to me in November, and it could be displayed alongside them if I didn’t wear it. I also have never seen a similar necklace before in all my years of thrifting. All the shell necklaces are white and brown, or sometimes dull green. I tried removing some of the goop with a fingernail and it came away with some careful scraping, so I bought the necklace. An hour’s attention while watching TV and it should come up clean.




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