Near my house is a charity warehouse that sells pre-loved clothing by the kilogram - $6 per kilo to be exact. Here I've had many happy, slightly frenzied quick Saturday morning shopping sprees.
Armed with a big bag, a few tissues (for the sneezes from the dust) and an open mind, I approach the piled high mounds of unsorted, unfolded garments and start to sort through it. My method for approaching the chaos is to position myself at a vacant section of a bin and look for fabric and colours that appeal to me, then check the style, condition, size etc. Of course you must be mindful of your fellow shoppers. I had a tense conversation with someone over territory recently, it's emotional! And it's particularly busy early in the mornings when the dealers come in to skim off the particularly good stuff.
Since having kids I haven't enjoyed conventional shopping at all, and can very rarely bring myself to pay the price for decent clothes when there are so many other financial pressures on our young family, as most people face. So this place has pretty much been my clothing shop for the past few years. Some of my past treasures include my favourite pink cord fitted jacket, 2 pair of Sass & Bide jeans (1 sold on ebay, one kept), Metalicus tops, grey woolen Witchery cardigan (currently being re-purposed - more on that later), fabric for re-purposing, woolen blanket and linen tablecloth featuring Australian native flowers print.
I visited last weekend for the first time in a while and for $12 (2kg) took home 12 things:
- petrol blue jersey ruffle top
- black Saba wool cardigan (you can never have too many black or grey cardigans, right?)
for the Mr:
- Ben Sherman shirt
for the big girl:
- school tracksuit pants
- gingham voile shirred summer shirt
for the little girl:
- cheeky monkey pyjama pants
for the baby:
- Minihaha brand shorts
to sell on ebay (when/if I get my act together):
- Kookai geometric pattern wrap dress
- sparkly silver summer top
- jersey butterfly sleeve top
to cut up and make into other things:
- sky blue linen shirt - inspired by a linen patchwork quilt in my new book
- oatmeal coloured linen trousers (maybe to be turned into cushion covers)
It's a curiously satisfying thing to search through a pile of old stuff and find some treasures. Maybe it goes back to the hunter-gatherer thing - I'm gathering, as women do. Well, that's my excuse... do you enjoy gathering?