I have a saying that ‘op shopping is not just a hobby, but a way of life’ and I encourage everyone I meet to give it a go. Op shopping is currently making a huge comeback, and you can find beautiful one-off pieces that will completely transform your room or your wardrobe; all while keeping your ecological footprint down. Here I round up my top tips and favourite local op shops.

Opshop Diaries:

Op shoppers are a tribe of crafty, clever, creative people looking to save pieces that get cast aside. We like to hang on to things that have history and tell stories. Recently I started both an Instagram and Facebook page both under the name Opshop Diaries. Here I highlight what you can do with your op shop scores. I want to educate people on the sustainability of op shopping and how this will save our planet. I show how to repurpose our items, turning old into new and teaching you how to look at furniture differently. We don’t all have to have the same look as everyone else, make your space original with one off pieces! Start collecting items that you can group together and carry a style theme throughout your home. This could be mirrors, pottery, or even Crown Lyn China. Whatever you’re drawn to is a great place to start!

What’s on offer here in Manawatū?

Manawatū has some of the best op shops around, and believe me I’ve been to a few! There are so many Feilding and Palmerston North op shops to choose from, and they all deliver a service that helps them give back to the community. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to support them and their particular cause. I’ve provided a full list of all my favourites at the end of this blog – so stay tuned!

How do I get a bargain?

I’m an everyday op shopper. I realise not everyone has the luxury of that but it does enable me to see what’s new in the store. If you can commit to once a week, then you are sure to be able to find a few bargains of your own. Most op shops are now open Saturday mornings, and my husband and I have made it a date to stalk our local op shops every Saturday. He loves to collect records so it’s a great way for us to connect and do something together. The op shops have something for everyone, no matter your interests.








View this post on Instagram















Crown Lynn you make my heart sing! Collect the things that make you happy! That way you will enjoy looking at them everyday. #intetiordesign#crownlynn#opshopfinds#savetheplanet?#collections#starttoday#thiftfinds   A post shared by Megan Gowan (@opshop_diaries) on

Why do I love op shopping?

I come from a large family and my mother didn’t sew, she op shopped. We were always at school galas rummaging through the clothing or the white elephant stall and I quickly figured out that if I tagged along she might buy me something of my own. My mum had a great eye for finding the right stuff and I picked up this skill from her. This is easy to pick up once you get on a roll.

How op shops have changed:

When we arrived in Feilding 18 years ago, the op shop was the first place I wanted to find. Back then, they still had that old smell and boxes of clothes that you had to sort through. Now op shops are a bit more user-friendly and have become a department store of all things second hand. Items are well presented, clean and sorted. Many op shops also offer a pick up and drop off service for a small fee for the larger items that you just can’t seem to fit in the back of your boot.








View this post on Instagram


















A post shared by Megan Gowan (@opshop_diaries) on

My op shop connection:

As a young mum I have fond memories of putting my son in his pram and walking down to the Salvation Army store. I didn’t drive back then and I was pregnant with our second child so the outing became my life line. The volunteers were so lovely and would always make me a cup of tea when I arrived. I would put my son in the play pen and I’d look for baby clothes, especially woollen items for the new arrival. This then lead to fill a bag for $2, another weekly outing. From here, my passion just grew. Money was tight back then so I felt like I was doing my part by buying second hand, and my family never went without.








View this post on Instagram


















A post shared by Megan Gowan (@opshop_diaries) on

My love for second hand will never diminish, it’s totally in my blood. But if you’ve never stepped into an op shop, I want to encourage you to give it a go, you won’t be disappointed! You never know what you may find. From clothing your children with second hand school uniforms, to finding a new pair of show stopper shoes, there is something for everyone. I challenge you to make it your 2019 goal to find an op shop and make the change to sustainability, you won’t look back!

A list of recommended local op shops:

Words & Photography by Megan Gowan. For more tips and inspiration make sure to follow Opshop Diaries on Facebook and Instagram.

Words & Photography by Megan Gowan

For more tips & inspiration make sure to follow Opshop Diaries

Facebook and Instagram