Thirfting 101

thrift-shop1Of late, I have been quite vigilant not spending unless I need to…which going by wardrobe size…is never.

However, I have still been indulging in my love for op-shopping, thrift shopping, vintage shopping…whatever you want to call it. I am not sure why or what it is but I love it. The thrill of the chase, that hunt for a bargain, finding that rare gem…I love it. I get a little thrill, every time, just before I enter a 2nd hand store. I instantly think about what little treasure or goodie is waiting for me to uncover.

So in light of this, I have decided to post some of the tips I have learned over the years to help turn your thrift shopping experience into a success.

Have some ideas in mind of what you are looking for. For novice thrifters, until you develop an eye for it, going into a 2nd hand store can be quite overwhelming due to the sheer volume and unfamiliarity.

So to avoid this, if you are looking at working on a DIY project, think about the specifics of your project before you head off, to give you have an idea of what type of item you may need. For example, have a think about what fabric will work best for your project. If you are looking at DIY tie dye, cotton is best for this project. So when searching for possible garments to work with, avoid polyester or synthetic fabrics.

Overall Quality
The next key aspect is overall quality. Unless you find an absolute rare find you’d be willing to invest in, avoid items that require considerable prep and mending.

Look at pockets, seams, colour, stains, does the zip work? You’re buying a pre-loved item that is several years old, don’t let it age even more before you decide to fix it and wear it.

I’ve learned that if I haven’t gotten to fixing that broken item by the 2nd month…donate it back to lifeline as you’ll never wear it.

Again, you bought a $10 top…do you want to spend 10 hours or $30 altering it? Unless it is an absolute rare find, you may need to weigh up the time and cost to repair; and if it’s worth it.

Simple hemming and button repair is easy. Weigh up the cost and be prepared to spend if you can’t sew or haven’t the time.

Watch for Sizes

Another thing I learned is that sizes vary considerably when shopping second hand and vintage.  Some local stores I frequent categorise their clothing in standard Australian women’s sizing.  However, the accepted women’s standard size has reduced dramatically over the years.  I am an AU10 however have a size 14 fitted skirt from a vintage Australian label.  So don’t take sizing for face value, especially if it is pre 1990.

Get to know a bargain buy

Back in the day before second hand thrift shopping was ”in”, you could snap up a pair of jeans of blouse for next to nothing.  Now, some good quality items range from $5-$15.  So get to know a good bargain.  If you find a Best n Less top for $5, it may not be such a great buy since you could probably get it brand new for that price.  However, if you find a pre-loved pair of sass and bide jeans…well that’s another story.

I used to get so excited when I found a clean, non moth ridden item of clothing, I would buy it.  I ended up with so many clothes that I just didn’t need.  Contrary to majority belief, second hand stores are quite selective on their donations and will only accept moderately good items, so in saying that, most of the items you find ‘will’ be good quality generally speaking, so try to find another selection criteria other than ‘in good nic’.    It may be a charity however there are still levels of quality that even a charity will strive for.

Dress Appropriately

Remember, when you’re going to second hand stores, they may be located within cheap rent spaces most of the time.  This doesn’t mean unclean however it may mean limited fitting rooms and ‘space’ in general. So be prepared to wait long periods of time if you want to try on your bargain finds within a fitting room.  My solution I learned long ago was to dress prepared.  I tend to wear leggings and a long, slightly relaxed tank dress, with easy to remove, slip on shoes.

Trying on most clothing items should be an ease whilst wearing my outfit and removed the need to head into a change room.  All I needed was a mirror.

I’ve always been a little weary with shoes. Mainly because I am a little bit of a germaphobe and have trouble getting my head around putting my feet into someone else’s pre loved, worn, sweaty shoes. In saying that, I have found some great 2nd shoes that required minimal restoration. images (14)

Look at the insides of the shoes and see if it is easy to clean and disinfect. Is the inner shoe peeling or gaping?

Check the sole and ensure there is still some good traction and also that it’s still relatively attached to the main part of the shoe? Re-heeling or re-soleling is very expensive. Unless you’ve hunted down a pair of vintage YSL sandals…I wouldn’t be investing in shoes you need to take to a cobbler.

Try it on? Just a little tip, I always have a couple spare pairs of sockets in my car glove compartment, just in case I drive past an enticing op-shop and find some shoes I want to try on. Of course if you’re not a germ freak like me, try on at free will.

When trying in, walk around a little and see if it still wears well and fits well.

images (15)Location
Again if you are after a particular item think of the location and demographics of the second hand store you are visiting. This will have an impact on the type of clothes available.  It’s not just about the nicer the location the better the quality…think about the general lifestyle and culture.

For example, if I am looking for more modern clothes, I head to my preferred store in the hustle and bustle of Surfers Paradise. For more vintage items, I visit a store that is within very close distance of local retirement and elderly leisure homes. And for a general variety of options I visit my local, head distribution centers.

Research your surrounding areas and this brings us back to the first point…if you have an idea of what you are looking for, it may guide which location you visit.

Be patient
Like I said, I have a love for second hand shopping. With this, I have patience to spend time in these stores to locate a lost treasure.

There are times when I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot of vintage clothes and then there are times when I feel like every, single fashionista in town has caught on to my love of op-shopping and stolen all the clothes.

It’s hit and miss. So I view this as a hobby at times. If I desperately need an outfit for an event and I have limited time, I may skip the 2nd hand shops and head to an actual department store.

Plan, plan, plan and don’t leave things to the last minute and don’t get frustrated when you don’t find anything.

And that is all of my helpful (I hope) tips and hints on how to successfully rummage, bargain find, peruse your local vintage stores.

Have fun and keep an eye out for my next post covering all my latest finds! Very exciting!

Replacing one addiction with another?

I have read in many self help books about addiction, that when you try to battle the demons of one addiction, you can sometimes replace them with another to fill the ‘void’.

Mainly this is also due the the fact that a lot of addicts have what is know as ‘addictive personalities.’

I understand that for me…understanding why I shopped to extreme levels, will help me close that ‘void’ for good however in the meantime, I am certain that I DO NOT want to to pick up another nasty habit.

Now to be honest with you all…I really don’t think I will ever turn to other addictions. Ironically, although I consume copious amounts of chocolate, I am too health conscious of the bad affects of alcohol to ever turn to alcohol. However, after much deliberation…I have compiled a list of ‘Habits’ that I am willing to pick up in order to replace my shopping one.

Habits I’d be happy to take on board

1. Compulsive Cleaning (everyone loves a shiny, febreeze smelling house)

2. Excessive saving (for the purpose of a holiday or any other than clothing)

3. Workaholic (the productive kind…not the burn out and die kind)

4. Gym addict (work that gluteus maximus)

5. DIY Projects (why not recycle and refashion my 1 million items of clothes)

6. Charity (donate my time and funds to good causes instead of my closet)

Side Note: Please understand…everything I write is a reflection of what I am going through and my beliefs. I am not an advocate. I am not some self help guru out there trying to actively help others with my words. I started this blog for myself. To reflect. Originally, I made it anonymous, then I used an alias. However, I didn’t want to hide or lie any more. So now I write this blog as me and it is about my life and my thoughts. If you don’t agree with it…move on because I never claimed to be an expert in addiction however this is my story.

Reducing my slavery footprint…one clothing item at a time!

Recently there was a news report on ‘The Project’ @theprojecttv regarding slavery in the world and it directed consumers to a website,, where you could actually view your own ‘slavery footprint’. It was an eye opener to see how my lifestyle and living inadvertently supports and fuels the slavery trade around the world. Living a relatively moderate life I believed…after all I don’t even own an ipad, laptop and the other horde of gadgets that my generation have acquired…my ‘slavery footprint’ would be minimal.

Of course, I had a sneaking suspicion that my biggest impact would in fact be my love for shopping and the purchasing of brands that may not necessarily take a conscious effort to source and manufacture their products, free from slavery.

I was right! To supportmy living and lifestyle, I had 60 slaves working for me. My biggest impact were the clothing purchases I had amassed over the years. It was an interesting little exercise for me at first however, as I started delving in deeper and researched the devastating affects of slave labour via consumer demand and also the companies that support it, I felt more than a little sick to my stomach to think I that something that brought me happiness and personal satisfaction was at the cost of another human beings happiness.

My slavery footprint! I have ?? slaves working for me.

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There are so many opinions out there that certain companies are in fact doing good by giving these communities/people jobs, even if it is well below standard living/employment conditions. Secondly, that these companies are only delivering goods and services, fuelled by a consumer demand.

After reading that opinion, it’s hard for me to not believe and feel the opinion of my own, that companies are just blatantly justifying their part in the slave labour through consumer needs and maintain their inability to make a change through a ‘this is the way it is’ mentality.

However, I too as a consumer, is taking part in justifying my spending habits and not taking action.

Now that I know my part, I am making a conscious effort to reverse my actions and reduce my slavery footprint. How? Well, being that clothing is my biggest contributor in having slaves work for me, the first step is to stop buying clothes that directly or indirectly, support slave labour.

This was a very big decision for me but an easy one. To be honest, most of the brands I buy are all manufactured within countries rife with slave labour. The next step, I have decided to start selling the clothing items from non slave free brands, either via eBay, gumtree or direct to friends. With all the funds I make from selling these clothes, I am going to donate to the

This is just a small step to freeing my conscious but most importantly freeing modern day slaves from slave labour. I am not wanting to point the finger at brands that may still use modern day slaves to manufacture their goods. However, I do hope, like myself, the awareness will cause these brands to take action and hopefully one day, I’ll buy those brands again when they are ‘slavery free’.

We can all do our part to make a difference. Take action today.

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Keep an eye out on ebay for items I will be listing soon.

Ebay ID: yostar81

Donation Goal to

One Shopping Addiction with a side of denial thank you!

Hello my name is Yolanda and its been 7 days since my last purchase.

Okay, one thing I want to point out is that unlike other addictions like alcoholism where it’s not necessary to purchase or consume alcohol…shopaholism, you do actually need to purchase clothes from time to time.

Now I’m not saying this to justify purchasing a new Oroton bag or anything, no? But, from time to time, I might need to buy a new pair of jeans, or runners or bras and undies…it’s an essential. But where I have to draw the line now is the cost and at times the volume (I have been known to purchase the same item multiple times…in order to have all the released colors). So instead of buying a $270 pair of Sass n Bide jeans…I have to opt for perhaps a…deep breath…Jeans West alternative.

So back to my post…I have a shopping addiction and it took me many years to admit it. Truth is…deep down, I always knew I had a problem…but it’s not until you actually admit it out aloud that you can take action.

Denial. The dictionary defines it as, ‘A refusal to accept or believe something, such as a doctrine or belief.’

Now I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know how I could have ever possibly believed this was normal and denied having a problem.

I don’t have a wardrobe…I have a Garage!

Look at that? Who in their right mind could deny there is a problem there?

In fact…if a shopping addiction wasn’t the problem, well then me being insane for actually believing this was normal is the possible problem or the fact I could rival any contestant from ‘the biggest hoarder’ show…is another problem. I swear…there’s probably a cat under all those clothes and shoes.

So yes, it took me years to come to terms and finally get a handle on my problem. But bit by bit and day by day things are getting better. Hopefully, if you out there have a problem just like me, you won’t have to go to the length of taking over your garage, whilst your new Toyota Corolla remains parked in your driveway braving the elements, just so your ‘clothes’ can have a home.


Save them dollars…DIY it!

So in a bid to save my money…I started my first DIY project.

The Inspiration:

The fabulous designer – IXIAH.  The moment I viewed her collections I fell in love with her  wonderfully eclectic and unique items with such creative, styling and layering.

Territories Long Sleeve White Top

Of particular, to-die-for, lusting….I absolutely adore the ‘Territories Long sleeve White Shirt’.  Of course, with my current decision to work on my spending habits and get it to a more healthier level, justifying the purchase of this top seemed very unreasonable.


Having never embarked on a DIY project before, I was uncertain as to how successful I’d be.  However, after taking some notes from the very successful creator of ‘A Pair & a Spare’, I had found some new enthusiasm and inspiration.

The Project:

Below are the following items purchased for my project:

  • One white long sleeved top from Valley Girl – $4.99
  • 1 metre of tapestry material from spotlight – $9.00 p/m

The method: Having some sewing experience from watching my talented sister, I measured the length of the shirt, front and back, and then cut pieces of material in the measured length and choose a desired width of about 4 cm (allowing 1 cm for sewing allowance.)

Next, I simply sewed the pieces of fabric directly onto the front and back of shirt.  Slightly folding about half a centimetre on each side of the fabric strip to create a clean edge, I sewed the fabric on the shirt.  I say simply, which it was, however being a novice I am quite slow.

The finished product:

My version of the much adored top.

For a total of $15 and about 2 hours of my time, I was able to recreate a version of the much coveted Ixiah top.  It’s not as beautiful as the inspiration top however it will do for now. 🙂

Hopefully I’ll have plenty more blog posts to come of my creative little projects.

If you’re a DIY expert, I’d love to see some of your projects for more inspiration so follow me on instagram or comment with your blog link so I can check you out.

Removing temptations….Easier said then done!

What has been happening in my world….

So, this just in….I failed at acquiring any form of serenity and overcoming my habit of compulsive shopping.

Working for an online retailer was one temptation proving too much for me to overcome. Like any person of habit, I’ve had to restart my recovery and focus on removing temptations to my addiction. Easier said then done!

Just to prove to you my epic failure at curbing my spending habit, I have reluctantly posted a picture of my cork board at work that houses the collection of tags from all the purchases I have made during my short time at my place of employment. I feel that revealing this will definitely help in my steps to freedom of shopping addiction…fingers crossed.


My work cork board! FAIL

The infamous ‘Clothing tag’ cork board displaying my purchase history

Granted…I did buy these items with my super awesome 40% off staff discount, however that only allowed me to foolishly justify these purchases even more. To be honest, I am not sure how to overcome this great temptation at work; but I am seriously considering asking the IT department to disable my staff code for the time being and may resort to wearing blinkers (similar to what horses wear) whilst at work and walking past any clothing racks.

Blinkers Needed

Removing temptations!!!! Who would have thought that a simple item such as a glossy magazine, could hold so much power and temptation. And it doesn’t stop there. Nearly every social site I am a member of, has exponentially fuelled my addiction further with all the exposure to the latest fashions, trends and stylish fashionistas modelling their purchases….argghghgh. Social sites such as Pinterest, Instagram and facebook…I hate you!!!


However, I have struggled to delete these totally. What I have done is ceased to follow any account remotely fashion related. Queue super boring timeline and feed filled with countless posts on ‘my baby is so cute’ pictures or ‘fitspo….look at my abs’ pictures.

Nonetheless, I feel somewhat better having taken steps to remove these temptations. It’s only time now until I can attend a doctors appointment without cowering in the corner away from the dreaded table filled with magazines and reading material, in fear that I may see an item of clothing that I simply must have and strategise in my head how to acquire such piece while I wait for said doctors appointment.

With that…it’s a process and I am trusting this process to take its course.