Tag Archives: the op shop

Wrapped in a Hug


Recently I bought a new sweater.  Well, new to me at least.  It was one of the purchases steals I got at  The Op Shop a few weeks ago. It is a dark gray, wrap-around cardigan.  It is long and warm and if I could wear it every day, I probably would!

It is kind of a long running joke in our family but Dave keeps our house pretty cold in the winter.  We have oil heat and after many expensive oil bills, instead of turning up the heat, we add extra layers.  The house is NEVER warmer than 65 degrees and that is “high” for us. During the day, when no one is home, it is at 55!!!! At night we kick it up to 60 and we bundle up under layers of blankets.  I sleep in socks and a hat!  The kids have grown to like it….although it is not uncommon to see Drew wearing his flannel robe over his clothes when he is in the house.  Sleeping in fleece pajamas, a sweatshirt over another long sleeved shirt with a hat and wooly socks doesn’t bode well in the romance department, but I guess after 21 years of marriage that honeymoon was over a long time ago!

Therefore warm sweaters are a must in our house.  I am wearing this particular new one for the second time this week. It is just so soft and snuggly, that when I wore it last week to school, I noticed I was getting a lot more hugs than often.  The hugs were lasting longer and at first I wondered why.  When one of my students told me how soft the sweater was she said she just couldn’t stop the hugs and I realized something.  The reason I love these big, snuggly sweaters…this one especially, is because it really does feel like I am wrapped up in a great big hug.

It may have only cost a few dollars at The Op Shop, but it is worth a lot more than that to me!

It Really Isn’t Hard

giving back2

I have a day off today.  Tomorrow too.  It is the NJEA Teachers’ Convention and despite the fact that I would love to be in Atlantic City taking advantage of the classes offered, this year, we just could not swing the cost.  What some people don’t realize is, while the classes offered are free, the hotel, food and gas money is not.  That, along with child care for many people, is a big reason why so many of us in Northern New Jersey can’t take part in this convention. 

I decided instead to make this a productive, charitable day instead.  My day started getting up an hour later than on a normal work day!! Yippee 7am! I spent two hours writing narratives (5 out of 23) for report cards, updating my classroom website and doing some lesson planning.

I loaded up my car with all of the candy donations from school and neighbors and headed over to a Barre class.  A morning exercise class is a luxury to me!  While there, the owner, Lydia and I discussed her next monthly charitable endeavor.  She chooses one per month to promote. This month, we are hoping to gather donations for the local animal shelter.  Upon leaving there, I collected more candy that had been dropped of to her studio, as well as a bag of food that someone had left for the food pantry.

I headed to a thrift shop that I keep reading about.  The Op-Shop. My friend Eebie works there and she posts photos and comments about the great finds there, and knowing how much I love a good deal, Dave encouraged me to go check it out.  All proceeds go to the church that it is affiliated with, so no matter what I found, it would be a win-win situation! I hit the jackpot!  Sweaters, a suede skirt.  I have a new wardrobe for the winter.  When I left, I was even able to donate a bag of clothing that has been in my car.  I had been keeping it there hoping to put it into one of those clothing boxes found in parking lots, but this worked out even better.

Then, it was off to the orthodontist who was going to take all of that candy!  They had a $25 limit, but I brought them nearly 50 pounds of candy thanks to all of the donations.  Along with the $25, they offered another donation to Rent Party after hearing that I would be donating the proceeds to them.

On my way home, I had two more stops to make.  The first was to the food pantry to drop off that bag of food and the second to another neighbor who is collecting Halloween Costumes that will be shared at the school she teaches where many of the students are underprivileged and not able to afford to buy new costumes.  Those costumes were also passed along to me and I was happy to find a place that can make good use of them.

Now, I am home.  About to weed through my closet and drawers to find clothes that I can donate before filling them up with my new treasures from today.  It came full circle.  Such a positive, giving day and sooooo incredibly easy.  All of this done in less than 3 hours. It barely cost me a thing and in the end, so many people are benefiting.

I don’t post this to make people say, “Great job Claire” but to show how easy it really is.  It doesn’t have to cost a lot to make a difference.