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Five things you should never buy new

Photo credit: Silvia Sala (Flickr)

Photo credit: Silvia Sala (Flickr)

Are you guilty of purchasing these items brand new? Gabrielle Chariton of Not Really An Activist shares five things you should skip the shops for and buy secondhand.

Clothes aren’t the only things that clever non-activists pick up in op shops. A good op shop is like a department store, only smaller and with less ambient lighting. Here are five things that are always in plentiful supply in op shops that you really should never buy new.


There’s always been a huge market for second hand books, and with the price of a paperback now hitting the $35 dollar mark, there’s never been a better time to start flipping through a book that’s already been read. Most op shops sell books, so hunt around until you find a store that stocks the type of tomes you’re interested in. Prices will start at about $8 and head south from there. (Paperbacks will often set you back only a couple of dollars.)


Glasses, cups, plates, coffee plungers, sieves, colanders, serving platters – you name it, the op-shop has it. While you might not want to fill your saucepan drawer at home with second-hand pots and pans, if you go camping regularly or have a holiday house you need to kit out, the op-shop’s the best way to go.

Scarves and costume jewellery

Nothing like a colourful scarf to jooosh up the old jeans and t-shirt combo. Don’t shell out $50 on one scarf at David Jones … spend a morning digging through the scarf bin at your local op shop and buy  one for every day of the week at $3 apiece. If you’re into a bit of bling, rummage through the jewellery basket – there’s always a colourful jumble of beads, interesting bangles, and earrings (where I personally haven’t ventured, but I’m a bit squeamish about other people’s earlobes).


Please don’t buy new toys for your children. Kids grow out of and lose interest in toys so fast that the production of new items is almost a crime. Op shops are positively overflowing with toys of all kinds – from unloved teddies looking for a new home to board games, jigsaws, and the full gamut of those horrible plastic things we all buy for babies. Many of these are barely used.

Pet bedding

Got a dog? Cat? Is their bed getting a bit on the nose? Op shops sell old towels and other linen for next to nothing. So next time you’re out shopping, pick up a pile of towels to refresh the stinky pet bedding. No washing required.

Photo credit: Silvia Sala cc

Article originally published on Not Really An Activist.

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