I love bargain-hunting for a bit of retro chic, and so I was delighted to find the Op Shop culture in Auckland. Op(portunity) Shops are a bit like charity shops in the UK. At the top end, they're commercial ventures selling vintage pieces for not-so-vintage prices, while there are also Salvation Army and church-run affairs. The focus is on recycling rather than raising money for charity, in contrast to the UK.
Having de-camped over here with only what Emirates would let me carry, I gave away most of my clothes before coming. (Oh, I hate moving house!) And then there are bedclothes and furniture to think about. Our room came with a built-in wardrobe and a mattress, but that's about it. And there are two of us in a relatively small space - lots of potential for clutter. If I was going to avoid insanity, I would need some drawers and shelves quickly!
Since Ikea hasn't made it to New Zealand (if anyone knows when they're coming, please tell me), there are few options for cheaply kitting out a bedsit. I thoroughly recommend the Salvation Army's furniture Op Shop on Dominion Road:
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And for cheap formica flatpacks, there's the Warehouse, which sells most things and is everywhere - not great on quality though.
But my best discovery so far is a little room under the church across the road. It's only open on weekdays, so I guess I won't be able to go after I start work, but what a goldmine! There are many trendy Op Shops on K Road (a main road in central Auckland which is famous for Op Shops) but they don't have the range that this place does. What's even better is that they're currently having an end-of-summer sale - everything is a dollar (less than 50p). Except some books, which are cheaper. So far I've not managed to spend $20 there - not for want of trying. I've bought several pieces of clothing, about 15 books, a few things for the kitchen, a sheet, a duvet and a duvet cover...!