1. Dusty dingy little stores are the best! Everything is usually cheaper and you can find things hidden at the back of racks. There's often vintage pieces there, as for some reason the little ones seem to be the ones where a lot of older people's stuff ends up. There is often a lot of awful stuff there, too, but you can really find gold amongst the junk!
2. Smaller less trendy areas. It's true. If you shop in trendy places where every second person wears Vintage and Op Shop gems, the shops will probably already be shopped out before you get to them. For instance, I shop on the coast most of the time, rather than Sydney.
3. If you are going to a Vintage shop, make sure you know a little about what you're buying!
My favourite vintage store is Shop 55. Wendy is friendly and honest. You can't always trust Vintage Shop people, though. At a Vintage shop whose name I will not name (mostly because I have forgotten it) I was once sold a 'Vintage' jacket for $40. It had no tags. I later saw it in an op shop with the tags still on and it was Kmart brand, not vintage at all. Just make sure you know what you're doing. If you feel unsure, go and do some research and DON'T BUY IT!
4. Bring a friend with a similar style to yours, or who knows (REALLY knows) what you're style is. I have gone Op Shopping with friends before and bought things I later realised didn't suit my style at all. Also don't just listen to the ladies in the Op Shop if they tell you something suits you. I have also made that mistake. They are sweet old ladies, but I really think some of them are a bit blind.
5. THIS IS REALLY ABOUT AFTER OP SHOPPING:
When you look through your closet and see things you don't wear anymore, before you throw them out, think about the fact that you are unlikely to find this item again. I have given many things which may have been the only one of it's kind left to op shops, and later wanted to wear it again and regretted it. If it's that old black and white striped top that there are a million of out there, by all means, throw it out. But if it's a 'it might be vintage' wrap with arty paintings on it, or a dress that belonged to your grandma, or something like that- FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DON'T THROW IT OUT!
YOU WILL REGRET IT!
What to do :
Pack it away carefully. Or lend it to a friend you know will take absolute perfect care of it and will give it back when you want it. Make sure they know it's just a loan.