So, there’s only three weeks until Christmas Day, and you haven’t made a start on organising presents, sound familiar? The thought of going to the shops and joining all the crowds frantically searching at late night shopping makes you feel a little bit queasy and exhausted. Never fear, on Days 4 and 5 of our Advent of Reframing Christmas series, we here at Reframe Waste have a few nifty ideas to source some thoughtful gifts for all the special people in your life and it may be in a few places that you’ve never thought of venturing…

The great decluttering frenzy of 2019!

In 2019, minimalist trends from Netflix shows like Tidying up with Marie Kondo that have been extremely popular with Australians and op shops have been inundated with goods during this decluttering frenzy. For the busiest donation period of the year, January – February 2019, the Salvation Army has reported an 18% increase on the level of donations that they have received, likely due to the KonMari effect. Whilst in Sydney, St Vincent de Paul had a 38% increase in donations in the first three weeks of 2019, the volume swelling to 50,000 kilograms a week!

If you’re feeling inspired to try out the KonMari method, before taking your goodies to a local op-shop have a look and assess what may be a great option for a gift for a loved one. Sustainability Victoria has adapted the KonMari approach and suggested this great seventh step of:

“Embracing ‘mottainai’ (もったいない), the Japanese approach to reflect on waste and take action to reduce, reuse, recycle and respect.”The Age.

Political cartoonist Matt Golding asks us to reflect on what we’re donating

Pre-loved items are good value for your wallet and the environment!

It’s great that pre-loved presents are starting to lose their stigma, as there is increased public awareness of climate change and how much energy, water and greenhouse gas emissions are embodied into creating products. The other element that is amazing about sourcing items from op-shops is that they are at a significantly lower price point than what you’d typically find in a department store for the same item.

With the Marie Kondo influence this year, the sheer variety of items that are unique and of high quality is actually quite staggering. In Brisbane, it certainly feels like there has been an expansion in this space with more op-shop spaces opening to accommodate this demand.

In addition, at an op-shop, there is so much flexibility with items not being pre-bundled, you can really create something special that relates to the person you are giving the gift to. I took to the streets last week locally to see if I could make some gifts bundles, so I wandered down to my two favourite places in West End.

1. St Veronica’s Thrift Shop

St Veronica’s Thrift Shop is a West End icon, located on the Hardgrave Road restaurant precinct, just down from the West End State School. It’s a short bus ride from the city on the 199, right to the Rialto stop at its door.

St Veronica’s Thrift Shop is easily accessible at 89 Hardgrave Rd by public transport, right next to the 199 Stop!

Walking inside you’re transported to a gorgeous thrift shop space, with a tonne of variety across clothing for all ages, kitchenware and dinner-sets, books, music, jewellery and accessories, kids toys, sporting goods and house plants.

Fey and the volunteer team were incredibly warm, welcoming and helpful on Friday, and I was shown two incredible resources, that I had never noticed before when I mentioned that I love to cook and crochet.

In their kitchenware area, they have a huge tub of glass jars available for purchase ranging from 20c for the small size and 50c for large jars, perfect if you love to do your own canning/preserving or if you’re trying to transition your kitchen impact towards zero waste. I have been to the store several times and I had not noticed that they have a massive selection of fabric, wool, cushions, linen and patchwork and at prices that are great value if you love to crochet, knit or sew!

You can check out where your thrift shop dollars are going and even consider contributing extra by taking a look at the St Veronica Welfare Committee’s website. Each year they conduct 6 special appeals for communities in need, with the West End Magazine describing recent assistance to Ethiopia where funds were sent to Sire in Nekemte early in 2019. For their November – December appeal they are collecting funds to assist the local community of St Joseph’s English Medium School in Kerala, India to furnish a computer laboratory for its students.

Vinnies West End

Vinnies West End located on Montague Road is a recent addition to the West End community this year, opening on Saturday 1st June! This store is readily accessed via the City Glider – 60 and 192 services, with convenient parking for donating goods from the boot of your car.

Vinnies West End is located at 381 Montague Road and has parking options!

The floorspace of this store is incredible and is one of the largest op-shop spaces that I’ve been to in Brisbane. There is an extended area for clothing, jewellery and accessories for all ages including division across fashion periods (vintage, retro, 80s) and occasion (formal attire, beach days, smart casual work clothes).

A space is dedicated to furniture items, different hobbies with books, music on CD and vinyl, and crafting materials for fabric, wool and cushions. If you’ve just recently moved into a new place, their kitchen selection is incredible for glasses and plates. One thing that stood out to me was the kids toy selection, where you could fill a bag of gorgeous soft toys for $4!

If you have any questions or a looking for something in particular, Debbi and the volunteer team are happy to assist. I had a great chat with all the staff on Friday and was kindly shown a few jewellery pieces and able to test the sizing for a gift for my sister’s birthday 🙂 .

By supporting Vinnies, your dollars will go back to the local community to people in need. In 2018, in Victoria 13.5 million dollars worth of material aid and support was provided. This Christmas, Vinnies are also running a Christmas Appeal to help end poverty, with donations going towards feeding, providing financial assistance for rent and bills for families in need.  

To follow Vinnies, also check out their Facebook page specifically for their QLD stores.

Share with us!

Love these ideas? Have a few op-shop discoveries of your own? Feel free to post in the comments below and stay tuned for Part Two of pre-loved and upcycled gifts to find out what bargain gifts I discovered on my adventures!

Today’s feature image is a sign on display from the lovely St Veronica’s Thrift Shop that I snapped on Friday morning. 🙂

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