Op Shop Dolls Remembered

The other day I read a post by Jenjoy of “All Dolled Up” about some dolls that she had recently been given to fix up. Reading about the fun she had tidying and redressing a batch of LOL and Barbie dolls reminded me of how much I used to enjoy doing that.

Disney doll from the Op Shop.

As you know when I worked at the Op Shop in Geeveston I was always bringing dolls home to clean and redress. They were mostly modern dolls and not the type that I would buy for myself. Some of them I admit I found downright ugly. However, I enjoyed taking these dirty, untidy rejects and making them into better versions of themselves.

We did pride ourselves at that shop in only selling nice clean goods. We felt that if we wouldn’t buy the clothing there for ourselves or our families then it wasn’t good enough to sell to other people so things that were stained, dirty or torn got ditched. I felt that the same should apply to the dolls. Even though we were only selling them for a couple of dollars I didn’t think it looked good to have them sitting on the shelves naked and dishevelled. People have often said to me that it was nice of me to do it for the kids but it wasn’t only for them. I felt bad for the dolls being left like that and I had fun being “The Doll Lady”.

I haven’t been seeing a lot of dolls in Op Shops recently. The one I worked in was an independent one and all the donations were from local people. The big charity stores like, City Mission, St Vincent de Paul, Lifeline and the Salvation Army operate more like businesses and I think that their stock goes to central warehouses to be sorted and distributed to the stores. I imagine that a lot of those dolls go straight to landfill.

A baby doll I brought home from the Op Shop

A few of the dolls I worked on did end up getting a home with me or with Naomi. We always paid for them of course. While I was looking for photos for this post I ended up reading a lot of my old Op Shop posts. What a lot of weekends I spent working on dolls and what a lot of fun it was to photograph them before and after. If I had the opportunity to get a free source of dolls to fix up and redonate in future I’d love to do it again.



  1. I remember your Op shop revamp posts. They were great fun and intriguing as I had never seen some of the dolls. You did a good job fixing them up and I’m sure the children who bought them, or were given them, really appreciated it, as well as the coffers of the charity you helped fill, and the dumps that you saved them from. Perhaps you could offer your services to a local Op shop or Charity as an outreach worker for dolls? Just pick them up, fix them up and return? I would have thought some charity shops would be enlightened enough to give you their unsaleable dolls, as it’s no loss to them. You could always show them the past posts so that they could see what great work you do.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I also remember all your great doll restoration posts. It was fun to see how you could bring a doll back to life. There’s a lot of satisfaction in restoring a doll. Sad to think so many dolls end up in landfill when they could be restored and continue to bring joy. I hope you and Naomi can figure out a way to rescue more dolls. Good luck!

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  3. Some rescues I’ve donated to a local thrift shop because they seem to rarely have them. It’s a great place to educate as well, it is where I got one of my first vintage ken’s for $2, and offered $20 for him but they said he was already marked so that’s what he had to go for. I tag what-ever I can so if they ever sell on-line they know how to list them.I know my wanting dolls will always exceed my space/ability to retain what I love.You have given me the ability to re-habilitate more dolls to share.Great blog!

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