What Not To Donate @ Op-Shops

We’ve been doing another round of de-cluttering around the house post-Christmas, we go by the usual system – three piles for keep, throw out and donate. Many charitable organizations rely on the public’s donations in order to support themselves and whilst donations are always welcomed and encouraged, there are a few items that should not be placed in the donation pile.

Last year Australians donated over 300,000 tonnes of items to charity op-shops, 60,000 of which ended up in landfill at a significant cost to the organisation. This is what makes this list important as donating inappropriate goods can actually be counterproductive at times. (Thoughtful Donations: What Not to Give to a Charity Op-Shop, 2013)

LittlePop has volunteered at an op-shop before and this allowed us to be more aware of what is and isn’t appropriate to donate to op-shops. We understand that not everyone has this knowledge and so thought we would compile a list to share with our readers 🙂

We also thought this would be relevant because of the holiday period that’s just passed, I estimate many people are also in the midst of de-cluttering a little bit. We have noticed quite an influx of unopened or almost new items laying around at our local op-shops, I assume these to be unwanted Christmas gifts – which is unfortunate. I am thankful though that they are being given a second chance rather than ending up in landfill.


  1. Soiled or damaged undergarments – it may be surprising to some of us but this is very common. Be carefull when donating these items, for sanitary reasons there are very specific guidelines about which ones can be put up for sale. Ideally these would be hardly worn, or new and they should always be clean – most of the people who work at op-shops are volunteers, they don’t want to be going through piles of crusty strangers underwear.
  2. Books, DVDs, CDs, records, tapes and VHS – some of these are fine for donation, in fact they are fine for donation provided they are still in good condition. The reason I put these on the list is more because of the rate of which they are bought vs how many of them are donated. These items are a bit harder to re-sell, I’m not really sure why but it almost certainly has a lot to do with the digitization of media as well as the fading out of certain technologies such as video players, record players and tape players. Children’s books, DVDs and CDs do have a higher rate of sale provided they are in reasonable condition because most parents know their kids will be chewing on, throwing and (hopefully not) but occasionally ripping books over time, so it is a good way to save a bit of $$$
  3. Electrical Goods – in order to re-sell electrical goods you need a special license, and a lot of places do not have this. It is also very risky as all these items must be carefully inspected for defaults, water damage etc… they don’t want a law-suit on their hands for someone being electrocuted! Some places do have specialists who come in once a week to provide minor fixes to various items. It’s best to check this out with your local op-shop before donating, they’ll be great full you did 🙂
  4. Toys – Toys can be tricky as they have to be inspected to make sure they still have all their parts before selling. If the sorter has not come across this toy before it can be difficult to make a judgement on this.

I think that’s the end of our list for now…


Charities report increase in junk dumped, and more people taking items from the front of stores

The main thing to keep in mind is Op shops are not dumping grounds, it may save you $$$ by avoiding charges at the local tip, but all you are really doing is passing that cost on to others who are not responsible for it.  You’re better off making use of local hard rubbish services in the area, or listing things like electrical goods on eBay. The op shop you give these things to is paying a significant amount of money every year to remove our unusable/unsaleable items which are dumped at the front of the shop or in their bins.  We have many op shops around us and its frustrating to see the loads of stuff left on their door steps every night, we have also noticed that passers by often come down after the shops are closed and go through these bags – taking them for free and making even more mess for volunteers to clean up.

Our golden rule is ‘if you wouldn’t give it to a friend, it belongs in the bin’

Do you have any advice on giving to op-shops? or alternate ways of getting rid of things?
Little & Big xxx


Merry Christmas and Happy New year to all :)

Well we here at ThriftyPop had a marvellous Christmas. We both love giving gifts even more so than receiving them and delighted in putting our heads together and making + buying second hand gifts for our loved ones.

Some of the things we came up with were

  1. A personalised engraved wine bottle
  2. Some first edition classic books (Big Pop received a collection of six first edition Enid Blyton novels, Gorgeous!)
  3. A 1963 original copy of The Amazing Spiderman comic book
  4. Big Pop also collects green Depression Ware glass so I bought her a nice bowl from the Waverley Antique Bazaar
  5. Experience based gifts such as cooking lessons, pampering packages, and deep water diving courses
  6. Charitable gifts to Oxfam and World Vision ❤

What we enjoyed the most was how little stress we felt going into the holiday season. We had a new focus, and that was spending time with our family catching up and connecting over the holiday period while we all had time to do so. Our gifts were all well received and it was wonderful to see how thoughtful others had been with buying us gifts we had many thoughtful gifts given to us including plants, charitable gifts, holiday park vouchers and locally made jewellery.

image image

Coming into the new year I will not be making any mind-blowing resolutions, I think I will make an effort to start slowing down and enjoying life a little more, I’m going to learn to put my phone down… or more shockingly turn it off. I want to go on more walks, check up on social media less and stop putting so much pressure on myself because there are only 24 hours in a day and its not always possible to get everything done.

Reactions + Gift Ideas we love day fourteen!

Since starting BNN I have been keeping a mental note of the responses we have received when telling  others about our BNN commitments

One of the funniest conversations I had was at work when I was explaining the ins and outs of BNN and the few items I believed were acceptable to buy new (In this case we were focussing on me buying a new mouthguard for hockey after the dog got a hold of the old one)

Of course I can buy the mouthguard… It’s for my own safety! I’d rather buy a new mouthguard than have no teeth‘ I said

The response I received was equally justified:

well if you have that as a rule you may as well buy a Porsche and claim it under safety‘.

That statement has stuck with me for both it’s humour but also to remind me not to overstretch my limits, for instance when we first started BNN I had a slip up when I convinced myself I had to buy a new lipstick and that was ok because I get chapped lips. Truthfully I did not need that lipstick and I have worn it only a hand full of times since. BNN has taught me to simplify things, yes I could buy that lipstick (just like how I could  buy a Porsche)… or I could make do with the jar of paw paw cream in the cupboard. I’m not saying I can’t buy lipstick, BNN is our journey and we will do with it what we want but having the gift of hindsight has taught me that stepping back and taking a more simplistic view of things can often provide a longer lasting satisfaction than cluttering my life with stuff….or lipstick ever will.

That’s just a little snippet I had wanted to share on here for a while 🙂

PS. todays gift idea!

I have decided it is now officially last minute gift time… What about candles??


Also did you know you can re-use old candle wax to make new candles?!

Day thirteen: Gifts we love

Journal Jars!

Big Pop originally came up with this idea when she was studying community care and used it for one of her assessments. We both really like the idea and have donated these to market stalls to be sold occasionally.

Journal jars are a creative way to encourage someone to start slowly keeping a journal. The idea behind this jar is that you take out one prompt a day, paste it to your journal page and write a response to the prompt.  The prompts are able to be used in group settings to encourage discussion and also make great gifts for all ages.

Here’s how it’s done:


  1. Jar or small cardboard box or basket or ceramic pot
  2. Paper or fabric to decorate
  3. Printed Journal prompts (you can access from websites listed below.  They can be printed on plain, coloured or patterned paper)
  4. Scissors
  5. Paste
  6. OPTIONAL – Journal or book, pen or pencil


  1. Choose a container
  2. Decorate the container
  3. Paste a label or saying on the front of the container
  4. Cut out journal prompts ( you can use decorative scissors or plan)
  5. Fold journal prompts or roll around a pencil then place in the jar.
  6. Add a tag using ribbon from the ideas below

Resource: Scrapjazz ‘all about me journaling prompts’  


Happiness is…


If the phone were to ring right now, who would you want it to be?


Do you like progress?


10 types of food or dishes you’ve never eaten that you’d like to try


What would be the perfect autumn day?


If you could choose a different time period to live in, when would it be?


Name any life changing books you’ve read.


Five places you would like to visit are:


Your 10 greatest joys


Nobody knows that you…


Character traits you think others admire in you.


Things you’ve done you never thought you could do:


People you’ve met that you gained the most from

People you’ve met that you gained the most from


Name everything you’ve done that you’re proud of

Places you’ve visited that you’ve enjoyed


Helpful Links


Big Pop xx

Day twelve: gift ideas we love

What good is a gift without a gorgeous gift tag to finish it off??!

Make sure you finish off that beautifully wrapped piece of Christmas goodness with a nice gift tag addressed to the recipient 🙂

Don’t stick with boring Hallmark gift tags this year, get a bit creative. There’s a really nice feeling I get when I customise my gift cards and make them all a little unique.

Ps. All you non-crafters have a read too, I promise they’re only as hard as you make them – just make sure you’re setting some realistic expectations… it’s not like you’re Picasso! 

Pop Up Cards!

Think these are dated? Think again! These cards are really not that hard and also look really sophisticated and Christmassy 🙂


I found this really well explained tutorial on wikihow

Christmas tree not your style? How about this stack of presents? This uses the same theory but instead of he waved lines on the tree they have cut straight… which is easier anyway 😉


Classic tie on mini gift cards

I’ve collected a few links to websites who have shared some free printable designs. Tie on gift tags are so convenient and can add a nice finishing touch to your gifts under the tree 🙂


I found these ones on babble.com


These have a good amount of cheeky humour to them ‘I totally want to get one of these for myself so, let me know if you don’t want it


orange you lucky! blogged this a few years back which utilises some cool shapes and nice cartoon characters 🙂

I’m going to be honest and say that doing a gift everyday is getting a little hard, so excuse me for not having posted over the weekend xx

Day eleven: gift ideas we love

Give a Young Lady or Gentleman Their Very Own Alphabet 🙂

cover photo - DIY Magnetic Alphabet

Kids need to learn the alphabet at some point in their busy lives, why not make it fun with these cool alphabet magnets!


This first one is done by Ellen Goldberg from Kiwi Magazine it recycles old bottle caps by turning them upside down and inserting letters. If I was to make them I would stick to plastic caps because the metal ones can be rather sharp… Although depending on your child’s age they might be too small. I was trying to think of something larger that is less likely to be swallowed and I thought maybe collecting the Spring Valley juice lids, they are metal but larger and without the sharp bits that are on most glass bottles. If you did accumulate enough Spring Valley lids to make an alphabet set you would also get the joy of reading all the cool facts under the lid!


Second we have I am Momma Here Me Roar who has made some really cute magnets using pebbles (again I would watch the size you’re using here) What a cool way of incorporating a bit of nature into  your kitchen. These would be really low cost to make, you would only need the self adhesive magnet strips and a bit of paint + the rocks which would be free. If your a bit of a control freak you might want to use a stencil here 😛

alphabet rocks

Anyway those are our two tutorials for the day, if your interested there are also a heap that use scrabble tiles but I left them out because I thought it was too obvious and easy (we like a challenge here @ thriftypop!). Whilst searching for these great tutorials I came across a cool article ‘12 Letters that Didn’t Make the Alphabet’ worth a read if you’ve got some time 🙂

I thought they would make a really cute stocking filler maybe put inside one of these gorgeous recycled plastic bottle apple containers! Cute aren’t they! These could be used as packaging material for so many small gifts you may be giving out this Christmas… why not give them a go?


Let me know how these go! xxx

Day ten: gifts we love

Soda Can Ornaments  !


We don’t really drink soft drink in our household but I know plenty of people who do. Aluminium cans can take up to 200 years to decompose and I’m pretty sure we are consuming them at a much faster rate then they are being broken down which is highly unsustainable. Like I’ve said in previous posts I really like the idea of trying to give products a second chance at life before being put in the recycling, or worse – the bin.I try to do this wherever possible and todays post is about ways we can re-use old soda cans and bring them a new lease on life. I’ve chosen the best tutorials that are not too hard but also really nice to look at, something you can look at and be proud of upon completion. These would also make lovely gifts, particularly for those who love to be out in the garden as most of these would look great as garden ornaments too.


Soda Can Coasters

These look really cool and are seriously easy to make.


  • aluminium cans
  • tiles (I would probably go get these from the Knox Transfer Station shop)
  • tin snips (you could probably get away with regular scissors but they will most likely be blunt when you are done)
  • adhesive glue
  • polyurethane (I believe this is some kind of sealant used to make the tiles stronger)
  • foam brush (a normal thickish paint brush or miniature roller would probably work just as well)
  • felt
  • hot glue

More info + tutorial here


Soda Can Lanterns

I can see these being great as decor outside in a patio or entertaining area.They are pretty simple to make, essentially you cut a few slits in the side of the can then give it a little push down to split them apart, full tutorial here.


Soda Can Butterflys

These are so versatile, depending on what size you make them they can be anything from garden stakes to magnets or even earrings. This is one that I think I’ll definitely be attempting…as soon as I can get my hands on a soda can :p

Little Pop xx

Heres how you do it

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