With Auckland’s high cost of living, it can be hard to fork out for new clothes, or new anything really. But op shops are plentiful here and the thrill of finding something special for less than $5 – which goes towards a good cause – can’t be beat.
My mum used to drag my brother and I to op shops so often when we were kids that we made up a bratty rhyme: op shops, where nobody goes, op shops, where there’s crappy clothes.
Now, older and a bit wiser, I’ve come to realise:
- The clothes aren’t crappy – volunteers sort through donations to find the good quality stuff.
- It’s better for the environment to buy second-hand – fast fashion, while cheap, is detrimental to the environment. The clothing industry is the second largest polluter in the world because of its carbon footprint.
- There’s more than clothes – furniture, glassware, kitchenware, knick-knacks, books, art, appliances and tools.
It’s also pretty fun, even relaxing, poking around stores on a Saturday (most are shut Sundays).
Here are 12 of the best op shops in Auckland.
The large Salvation Army Family Store here has heaps of glassware, kitchen things, plus furniture and art; you’re bound to find something to suit your tastes here. 49 Mayfair Place, Glen Innes
Just across the road, the SPCA op shop is well organised and has a lot of clothes, and a lot of shoes. 217 Taniwha St, Glen Innes
Head over to Panmure to the Red Cross for some great finds, too.
Go to the Dove Hospice Shop in St Heliers for racks of quality clothing in great condition. Brands like Trelise Cooper, Citta and Zara have been found here, as well as some great books. 30 St Heliers Bay Road, St Heliers, Auckland 1071
Head to Dominion Rd for a double whammy: the Salvation Army and Red Cross op shops are right beside each other. Some of the clothing prices are at the higher end for an op shop but still great value, especially for some of the well-made defunct NZ brands. For furniture and books, head down the driveway behind the Sallies. 200 Dominion Rd and 202 Dominion Rd, Mt Eden
Over in Mt Eden village, there’s a Mercy Hospice Shop where you can find some great stuff like merino tops, nice men’s shirts, jewellery and homewares. 453 Mt Eden Rd, Mt Eden
In the walkway under the grandstand at Avondale Market on Sundays, there’s a shop full of curios and collectables, and quite a few stalls with knick-knacks that are good for poking about in. Every Sunday, 6am-noon, Avondale Racecourse, Ash St, Avondale
The Hospice Pop Op Shop is a cute little store with clothes and bric-a-brac – there’s a good selection of kitchen things and appliances. 568 Te Atatu Rd, Te Atatu
Take a trip over the bridge and hit up a few op shops in one go. The SPCA op shop is pretty decent with clothes, homewares and toys with plenty of life left in them. 60 Mokoia Road, Birkenhead
The Sallies store here is quite big and has a high turnover of quality furniture through its doors, as well as interesting bric-a-brac, plus clothes, of course. 42 Birkenhead Ave, Birkenhead
The Clothing Collective is more curated and pricier than a usual op shop but there are some sweet finds to be had here, with half of the proceeds going to the Mental Health Foundation. Highbury Shopping Centre, Birkenhead
If you’re ever up this way, the Hibiscus Hospice Shoppe is a good place to stop by for clothes that have been carefully selected. 41 Florence Ave, Orewa
This is not an op shop but the Orewa Trade Market is just around the corner from the Hibiscus Hospice Shoppe, and full of second hand furniture and appliances – I picked up an old-school Kenwood mixer here for $20. 6 George Lowe Pl, Orewa
For some more tips on shopping sustainably, see Auckland Council's handy tips.
This article was updated September 2019.