Friday, October 28, 2011

REVIEW: Thrifting by the Kilo @ Summer Hill's Anglicare Warehouse.

Today I finally did something that I had been wanting to do for at least three months, I attended the Anglicare Warehouse located in Summer hill which I had found reviews of online stating that it had a "$6 a kilo" policy. I had originally wanted to go with someone, however, having being unable to organise it with them and being (somewhat) in the area, I decided to stop putting off the visit. This post is a review of the warehouse and also contains some my thrift haul from the trip.

Location: 105 Carlton Crescent, Summer Hill, 2130 (A on the map above).
Contact number: 02 9798 7888.
Opening hours: Monday - Saturday. From memory the sign out the front said that it closed at 3pm Monday - Friday (and closed earlier on Saturday - I think about 1pm), however when I called up I thought the man told me it was open to 5pm on the day I called (a Friday). I'd suggest enquiring before you go, like I did.
Getting there: On one side of Carlton Crescent is apartment buildings and on the other side is the train tracks (further up is the station, so you can easily get a train to Summer Hill and walk up). There was no designated parking, rather you simply had to be lucky enough to find a spot on the curb. I wasn't lucky enough to get one of these parks and instead parked near the wood pizza place which is also located near a Franklins (assumedly the parking spots were for shoppers).

If you choose to park here be careful, it was very hard to find a park (was about lunch time when I arrived) and all the parking bays are dead ends so if there are no available parks you must do a 3 point turn (in this case a 94739473947 point turn) to get back out. When I managed to nab a park there were 3 or 4 cars all sort of stuck around the entrance because they had followed each other in, and were having trouble getting out.

I don't believe there is a back entrance to the shop and I simply backtracked down Carlton Crescent until I reached the Anglicare sign (there's also a big sign reading 105 there). The warehouse is actually located behind the apartments so you must walk down the designated drive / walkway to actually get to it. It felt a bit weird and you have to go round a corner. When I was doing this an elderly couple rounded the corner from the direction I was going and almost gave me a heart attack.

The place is divided into two sections, the actual part of the shop which is priced per kilo (or the 'market') and a small room off to the side which is a normal Anglicare store, and where you can purchase all your goods. Below are a few things of note which I came across while there:

1. Terrible signage.
It's actually $8 a kilo now, something I only discovered when I was trying to find out where to pay (I'm not complaining at the price increase, rather that it took me so long to find the sign). To pay you must go into the normal Anglicare store with your 'market' goods, however, there is a sign above the door stating that you must not bring goods from the market into the store, leaving me pretty confused for a while.

There is also no signs indicating what is actually included in the $8 a kilo bundle. I assumed it was everything related to clothes at the very least (ie. shoes, bags etc) however I was later informed when asking the cashier that this was not the case. Only clothing (tops, bottoms, dresses etc) are included. This left me a little annoyed as I did come across any signage stating this and there is no separate pricing on the shoes or bags (I was eventually told they were $6 a pair, which I was actually really happy with, however, was still annoyed that this wasn't written anywhere).

2. Service.
Now, I understand that many people who work at thrift stores (as they are usually run by charities here) are volunteers, however, there is still some paid employees. There was only one employee that I could find that I could approach (I did spot some in the 'out of bound' zones sorting things), and this was the cashier. However, the entire hour I was there the cashier was on the phone trying to understand some rate plan for her phone / internet. She answered my queries about pricing while she was on hold and only hung up half way through actually serving me when I was ready to make my purchases. I think the most annoying part was that she kept saying to the person on the end of the phone that she was at work and to make it faster.

3. Organisation.
Everything was thrown into giant tubs / crates for you to riffle through (which was actually kind of fun). At first there doesn't look like there is much there, but when you realise that inside the tub is solid clothing it becomes pretty impressive. You have to be willing to spend time riffling through the tubs if you want to find anything, many people there (who I gathered were regulars from their conversations) would sort of empty one tub into another while searching so that they could get to something underneath. This is a fine approach as long as you take into consideration others around you - someone might not appreciate it if you start messing up their own pile by throwing your unwanted goods into it.

The shoe crates while amazing (so many shoes!) were the worse because nothing was tied together. I think I spent most of my time trying to find matching shoes. While I found two pairs, I left disappointed as I couldn't find the match to a pair of cute heels I wanted. The only way to have found it would have been to attempt the approach mentioned above, and when I was looking at the shoes, so were other people, so I didn't want to offend them.

4. Other shoppers.
A majority of the other shoppers were elderly or appeared to be mothers. When I arrived there was a few girls of a similar age to me (I'd say between 17 - 19) leaving with some of their purchases. I had no problems with any of the shoppers, although there was one lady who kept talking to me while we were looking through the shoes. She was quite pleasant (and at first I thought she was staff), although once she asked what my shoe size was she kept showing me shoes that looked about my size. While I was polite about it, I can't say we shared the same taste in clothing.

5. Changing rooms.
While the anglicare 'shop' had two change rooms, the 'market' part had none. It did have a few mirrors upon a wall though. I didn't try anything on (which is extremely out of character for me) and decided to treat it as pot luck.

6. The Anglicare shop.
I actually didn't look here because everything seemed quite expensive (paying $12 for a second hand tie didn't appeal to me, especially when I could have brought one for $1 in a special trolly within the warehouse that were of an equally good condition). Everything was hung up on racks, nice and neat, however it was incredibly crowded and I didn't want to knock anything over.

7. Pricing.
Apart from the Anglicare shop, I was very satisfied with pricing. Shoes were $6 a pair (which is very cheap in comparison to my local thrift stores on a usual day) and the bag I brought was $4 (no idea if this was standard for all bags or not). $8 would buy you a kilo of clothing, $12 would buy you a kilo & a half, $16 would buy you two kilos etc. They did have a chart up with this information on it. With this said, if you only wished to purchase one item of clothing (which I was going to do originally), you must still pay a minimum of $8. Due to this I decided I might as well do a bit more rummaging and at least come up with a kilo of things to make the trip worth it.

Overall, I cannot complain about the experience. While there was a few things that could have been improved, the only important factor I believe was the signage. I would definitely recommend visiting the warehouse if you're nearby. If thrifting was a video game, the market of the warehouse would be the 'hardcore' mode. You really do have to hunt for some gems, I actually found my arms were getting sore from rummaging so much. I think it was worth it though. I ended up spending $24 (which is a lot for me to spend in one thrift trip) and had a lot to show for it. To be honest, I was expecting to have to redonate a lot of it once I actually tried it on, however I'm happy with everything. Onwards to the pictures:

These boots cost me $6 and are a perfect fit. They have zippers on the inside of the shoe so that you can easily put them on. The toes were a bit scuffed so I used a permanent marker to go over the scuffed bits and help blend them in.

I got a second pair of (somewhat similar to the first) shoes. These were not scuffed at all, however, I could not get the top of the shoe to balance hence why it is drunkenly leaning against the wall. The downside of this shoe is that it does not have the zipper of the first and thus is a bit of the pain to get on, at least, is a pain to get on one foot. While foot slips in comfortably while the other has trouble getting my heel down pass the hard part in the heel of the shoe. I've been meaning to get a pair of those really tight stocking-like socks, so I am hoping that this will ease the process of putting the one troublesome shoe on. It sucks, particularly because I managed to get it on without so much trouble at the actual store, but for $6 I can hardly complain.

This was actually the first piece of clothing I decided to buy, largely because it's not something I would typically pick out and therefore wanted to experiment with it. Basically it's like a poncho, except it has two massive sleeves. I feel it's very summery which is the look I'm trying to achieve this summer (how original!).

Again something very out of my typical range of clothing. Being oversized and summery are also repeat offenders. The bottom front is actually designed to tie together (or so I think) and the sleeves are three quarters with a rolled edge.

The last picture shows a much closer colour to the correct colour (the others seem quite washed out). While I love button up shirts, I love them even more when they're of a light material rather then stiff-business like ones. This shirt has that light material I like, plus is a lovely sandstone colour. Once again it is massive on me, however, I intend to wear it tucked into a pair of denim shorts with the sleeves rolled up (like picture two).

I put these two together as they're both made out of a sheer black material (and I'm lazy). I brought the first to wear beneath my ever growing collection of sheer tops. The blouse on the other hand interested me for reasons that I could not explain. I'm quite a fan of the collar that you tie at the front. When you tie it as if it's a bow-tie it leaves a reasonable portion of skin between the top button and the bow in view. I'm also considering tying it loosely or tying it behind my back so that it has a really big v at the front. Currently it looks stupid over top of the sheer singlet and without it, it's incredibly transparent so I'm not sure when I will actually wear it.

I originally thought this was a long top and had hoped to wear it as a dress with something under it, however, it turned out to be long enough to wear without stockings / tights. When I first tried this on I was really unhappy with the fit and felt rather dumpy. I then paired it with my white sneaker wedges that I thrifted a while ago and was really happy with the outcome (especially after my sister saw me in it and said it was very pretty). It was obviously the lace detail that won this one for me, although, the fact it has two pockets was also attractive. While the top is fitting, the rest leaves something to be desired and makes me appear larger then I am. I feel the wedges balance this out by displaying my rather slim legs.

The final thing I picked out (which was actually the first thing I looked at when I walked in) was this bag. The straps easily fit inside to make it a clutch. I've been looking for a plain black clutch for ages, particularly one big enough to fit my camera + phone inside. This is probably going to become an essential in my outfits. And yes, I forgot to take a photo of it on my camera so these are from a webcam.

Hopefully once all my new clothes are washed I will post a few photographs of them being worn so that they will look much more flattering.


  1. Awesome post! Thanks for the price increase update. ITs been a while since I went to this place, so was searching around to see if I could find any relevant info- your post was perfect...& I agree about the signange, the first time I went I was confused as hell too!
    Love your finds, hope I find something cool too :)

  2. went there yesterday and will not be returning. agree they do need to put up more signs and put prices on books and bric-a-brak etc. the prices in the store part are way overpriced, i felt ripped off at the cash register. it wasn't a fun shopping adventure like my other weekly op shopping trips. i think i'll stick to vinnie's in newtown and paddington, those places are gold mines.

    1. Paddo and Newtown are the two most overpriced Vinnies - and Surry Hills too.

  3. OMG, ramble much??

  4. OMG, ramble much???

  5. Should add to your bit about 'changing rooms' - you cannot try anything from the tubs on. They only allow you to try on the more expensive items from in the shop.

    It used to be better about half-a-dozen years ago, being around $5 a kg (but less per kg if you bought multiple kilos).

    I would say you can still haggle a bit over the outside shoes and bags, but overall if you don't live near here, I wouldn't bother until their prices get more reasonable for second hand.

  6. Hi , I read with interest your version of op shopping at the Anglicare warehouse.
    I volunteer my time at two OP shops, one 45k away and one in Cooranbong. The one in Cooranbong is the BEST little op shop, they do not sell in kg's but their prices are lower than any other op shop I have been into Maybe we will see you one Sunday.
    Happy OP shopping.

  7. Ohhhh would definitely visit this place one day! I do recommend Crows Nest vinnies as well! (: