Confession: I am a shopaholic. I mean, most girls are but I think I could be a step above the average addict. It’s been a long time since I’ve gone a week without buying something new for myself. So when I discovered it was nearly impossible to survive living on a low income and purchasing whatever my heart desired every week I found something… Op Shops! Nothing new to the spectrum of Adelaide (or the world even), and we have a lot of amazing hidden recycled gems out there, I just never thought to look. So armed with my favourite havianas, cash to spend and the best op-shopper I know, one of my best pals Kirsty, we set off on a second hand adventure.

Salvos Marion, 155 Sturt Road, Seacombe Gardens SA 5047
The first op shop we visited, a great size store hidden behind the Salvation Army Church on the south side of Westfield Marion shopping centre, opposite KFC. We were greeted as we entered the store by some lovely, quirky individuals and we set off to find a bargain. They have a great selection of women’s clothing, shoes and accessories plus a small range of kids and mens clothing. In the back room you can also find an array of books, puzzles, bric-a-brac and furniture. One thing Kirsty really liked about this op shop is that the puzzle pieces were counted so you know if you are purchasing the full puzzle, and it had been sealed so the pieces don’t go missing. Not many op shops do this so she gave an extra point to this store. I found that there were many great dresses available but some items were damaged, which is quite disappointing. I did find one dress that I loved, but it had a large blue stain on the side of it. Annoying, but it was way too cute and I had to have it. When I went to purchase the dress, the staff discounted it to $1 for me, down from $6.50, which was very nice of them to do.
EDIT: I got the stain out using a paste of bicarb soda and some stain remover I purchased from the supermarket. It is now one of my favourite dresses and I wear it all the time.

We liked the:
– S
taff, they were so lovely
– Counted puzzle pieces, a rare find in op shops
– Good branded clothing selection
– Parking out the front

We didn’t like the:
– Damaged goods, there were quite a few with tears and stains

Purchases:

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Sunflower dress and black belt (not pictured), $2

Overall score: 5/10

Save the Children (smaller store), 475 Brighton Rd, Brighton SA 5048
There are quite a few op shops along Brighton Road, this being the first we came across. It is a very tiny store, but they know how to merchandise! There is a big rack of sale items outside, next to the front door to browse through, and the shop window that faces the street is full of mannequins dubbed with interesting outfits. Inside they have a large (for this size shop) section of bric-a-brac, handbags and shoes. There is a small rack of children’s items and the counter the cash register is on highlights the store prized possessions, including a vintage wind-up watch and a flashy pocket knife. One either side of the walls are racks of clothes, 2 levels high. One side of the shop for men, the other for women. This is a fantastic way of displaying many items in a small space. The centre of the store had a tall, circular stand of ladies pants, shorts and skirts. There must have been an international traveller that dropped off some unwanted items here as there were a lot of items from some big overseas brands in this op shop. A nice jacket from River Island, a playsuit from TopShop UK and a couple tops from H&M. The staff here were very helpful, giving us their opinions on what they thought would look nice and were generally very friendly. I tried on the items I liked but they weren’t meant to be. Kirsty didn’t find anything she liked either. We walked out of here empty handed but satisfied with the service and look forward to coming back to find more goodies.

We liked the:
– Staff, very friendly
– Great brands for clothes
– Lots for men to pick from
– Good bric-a-brac
– Great merchandising
– Parking outside

We didn’t like the: 
– Small store, very pokey

Purchases: None

Overall Score: 6/10

RSPCA Brighton Road, 455 Brighton Rd, Brighton SA 5048
The RSPCA Thrift Store is only a few shops down from the Save the Children store, and it’s quite a lot bigger. It was a bit of an organised disaster, there’s a lot of product but very messily displayed. There was so many women’s clothes to look through all around the store including a specific gymwear and swimwear section. There was a mens and children’s racks, plus a place for shoes and handbags. Everything had a spot in the store, it was just, disorganised. Nevertheless we found a few things that we liked through the clutter. The prices were a little on the expensive side for some of the products. There was only 1 change room, so while Kirsty was trying things on, I got to look through the great wall of bric-a-brac at the end of the store and the book corner, a floor to ceiling corner of books.  I only liked one top that I tried on, and Kirsty grabbed a few tops and a book. When we went up to the cash register, there were 3 ladies on the till as they had a new computer system to log sales. Putting the sale through was a little confusing as there was one lady serving, and the other 2 were working with the new system. It was a little hard to understand who was talking to who as everyone was talking over each other, but we got there in the end.

We liked the:
– Book corner, it looked really cosy
– Gymwear section, you don’t find a lot of activewear specific racks in smaller op shops
– New till system, once the staff have the hang of it, it will provide a better service

We didn’t like the: 
– Clutter, it was a bit of an organised mess
– Sorta pricey in there

Purchases:

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Stripy tank top, $4

Overall Score: 6/10

Salvo’s Brighton Road, 429 Brighton Road, Brighton SA 5048
The next Salvo’s we crossed is a big one. The store is really long, thus holding long racks of clothing, it has a wall of shoes, vintage kitchenware and a wall of toys. It has a large selection of children’s clothes, and quite a lot of furniture. Kirsty has just moved house and she was eyeing off a beautiful wooden bookcase that was sitting there. There was also a cool retro dining table that would have looked really nice in a decked out cottage (if only I had one of those…). This Salvo’s was big enough to have a specific section for little black dresses, vintage items and even a small selection of bridal wear. I think if I were ever to get married, I would have a look at op shops for a wedding gown. There were some really beautiful looking vintage gowns there. Much like the first Salvo’s we went to, the cash register was on top of a long glass cabinet full of jewellery and valuable items. There was heaps of interesting little knick-knacks in there. We found some really nice looking items in this op shop, including a pair of very rare pair of Black Milk leggings from a few years ago. They weren’t in my size but I was considering getting them to resell. I didn’t though. This was mainly because everything in this op shop was way overpriced. I understand that most op shops aren’t for profit, they’re for charity but mostly everything was well above $10. And not all of it was really great brands, it was things from Kmart and Cotton On. So even though there were some good things in there, we didn’t purchase anything.

We liked the:
Organised shelving! Everything had a place, including LBD’s.
– Big range of items to choose from
– A lot of nice furniture
– Own carpark, although small, it is handy.

We didn’t like the:
– Overpriced. It’s all for charity but…

Purchases: None

Overall Score: 6/10 

Save the Children (bigger store), 365 Brighton Road, Hove SA 5048
A much bigger store compared to the other, however impossible to find on Google! This Save the Children had a nice selection of Women’s clothing including a designer rack, it had a great choice of bric-a-brac on shelves and the glass cabinet of valuables below the till, and a little book corner with a couch & coffee table to have a flick through the books they had on offer. From what we saw, there wasn’t much to choose from for men or kids but I remember overhearing the ladies working that they had been lacking donations for mens and kids clothing. I found quite a few things that gave me a giggle, there were some really funny cat tops in the racks. Kirsty loves hippy clothes, so she found a few tie-dye tops and things she liked. The ladies who were working were easily retired, they came across a little disinterested and annoyed that we were in the store, especially when we asked to open the glass cabinet. It seemed a little difficult for them. Kirsty found a nice top and a necklace she liked while I found a gorgeous polka dot crop tee from Zara, which is ideal for work and the perfect pair of aviator sunnies (I have a thing about aviators, they need to be a good shape, not too triangle-y but not too round either and these are amazing). When we went to pay, they did have an EFTPOS machine (thank goodness) but it had a $10 minimum and the things that I had were only $7. I went to look for a new cookbook in the book corner and picked up a nice looking healthy eating cookbook, because you can never have enough of those. This bought my total up to $12. The ladies in the shop were struggling with the EFTPOS machine, I’m guessing they don’t normally use it as they weren’t 100% sure how to use it. We got there in the end, leaving with a few great buys.

We liked the:
– Good layout of the shop
– Great prices
– Good brands in there, funny t-shirts
– Book corner, such a good idea

We didn’t like the:
– $10 minimum for EFTPOS
– Staff, their mood brought the experience down

Purchases: 

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Polka dot top, sunnies and a cookbook, $12

Overall Total: 7/10

Vinnies Brighton Road, 365 Brighton Rd, Hove SA 5048
In the same block of shops as the Save the Children, however this op shop was huge. We were greeted upon entry with smiles and awe. Everything was laid out so nicely, with the ladies clothes colour coded on individual circle racks. The store looked like a rainbow. The handbags and shoes were placed around the store on shelves or vintage tables and cabinets, paired together with quirky jewellery and accessories. There was a book nook full of books in alphabetical order and genre plus some videos and dvds in there as well. Heading towards the back of the store, you find a rack with swimwear and lingerie, kids clothing, mens clothing, furniture and a wall of artwork to purchase. A shop attendant asked if we were after anything in particular but we weren’t so she carried on hanging up more clothes. There was so much to look at, so many cute dresses but it was quite busy in here and the line for the change rooms was very long so we decided not to try anything on and left empty handed. I can’t wait to go in there next time, hopefully it won’t be as busy so we can try things on.

We liked the:
– Size of the shop, it was big but they had enough merchandise for it to not feel empty
– Great array of products
– Fantastic racks of goods
– Friendly staff

We didn’t like the:
– No parking out the front
– Not enough change rooms for the size of the shop, there was only 2

Purchases: None

Overall total: 8/10

Salvos Glenelg South, 43 Broadway, Glenelg SA 5045
This was the last op shop we visited that day, and I think we saved the best to last. I have been to this store before and it is one of my all time favourite shops to visit. Not just op shops, but all the shops. I can always find something in there that I absolutely love and I was not disappointed with what I found. Glenelg South Salvos is located in an older building with half moon windows. Each of the windows greets you with a mannequin dubbed with adorable outfits and decked out in accessories and matching shoes. As you walk in the door past the white vintage bicycle, you find a treasure trove full to the brim (literally, it had just been restocked) of clothes, shoes, bags, knic-knacks and more. Dresses, tops, jackets and skirts to the left, mensware at the back, vintage and designer to the right and through the doorway at the back of the front room, you will find a wall of bags, a wall of shoes, change rooms and more racks filled with more women’s clothes, kids clothes, toys, books and more. There is shelving above the racks all the way around the shop where the staff hang their favourite finds paired with matching accessories and shoes to showcase these pieces. This is where Kirsty and I found our new dresses. Sitting side by side are 2 gorgeous dresses complementing each others personalities perfectly. Kirsty’s dress is midi length, blue dress with a plunging halter neckline. Mine is a bright pink and purple flower dress that nips in at the waist and flows out to mid thigh. To try on these dresses, plus a few other items was a bit of a nightmare. The shop was quite busy and there is no maximum garment rules in this shop. Only having 2 change rooms, there was a bit of a wait but we didn’t mind too much in this shop as the way it’s laid out means that you can still look at racks while waiting in line.The volunteers on that day were super helpful, getting the dresses off the mannequins hanging up, giving suggestions on other items they had seen that we may like, telling us about the items on sale etc etc. From some of their advice, I also picked up 2 tops and a novel that was one of my favourite books that I used to read when I was a child. Purchasing from this store was a breeze compared to the others. This store also has EFTPOS and the staff here know how to use it. They also advertise the Salvos rewards card, Kirsty scored my points from that as I haven’t got one yet and they also advised her that it hadn’t been activated properly yet, handy as we can loose track in some cases. We both left with an arm full of gorgeous clothes and books plus smiles all round.

We liked the:
– Displays of outfits around the store
– Super friendly and helpful volunteers
– Array of items to choose from
– Good size of the store

We didn’t like the:
– Wait line for the change rooms
– A little cluttered with the amount of racks and people in the store, but still maneuverable

Purchases: 

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Flower dress, green top, white lace tank and Tashi novel, $28

Overall Total: 9/10 

There are so many op shops hidden around Adelaide, and I cannot wait to review more. If there are any you think I should be visiting, leave them in the comments below.

Until next time,

xx That Girl from Adelaide

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