Op-shopping became one of my biggest discoveries when I moved to Australia. Really. I am addicted. Op-shopping was not in my vocabulary in Vietnam. People either give away unwanted goods or bin them; I rarely saw a second-hand shop. However, now an op-shop is my first retail stop.

The goods in op-shops are just so cheap: 50 cent books, $5 shoes, $10 dresses. And the variety! You could furnish a whole house without going to many places. Sofa beds or pianos, pillows or study lamps, jewellery or formal dresses can all be found in the one-stop shop. Most of the items have been pre-loved by someone just like you. It is no different than taking clothes from your sisters or brothers.

Environmentalists embrace op-shopping because op-shopping is recycling. It helps reduce landfills, wastes and save the environment. The community also benefits. At first I didn’t know this, I thought they were just like other businesses. Since then I have discovered that Lifeline and Vinnies – the two popular shops on Boundary Street – recycle profits back to the community. I have come to appreciate the volunteers who work there.

So next time when you need to buy something, take advantage of the opportunities in our neighbourhood first!

Han Huynh

Image by Colin Bushell