REVIVAL: A History of Everyday Life

For a long time, the cheese grater I owned and which everyone I knew owned was the box grater or the handheld flat grater. Then IKEA came out with its “chosigt” grater, which fits snugly over a plastic container and is interchangeable with a plastic lid for storage.

It’s a nifty idea, but it isn’t an original idea. The Tupperware version, in signature Tupperware pale apple green, has been around since the 1960s. And you can potentially find either - or both - at an op shop.

That’s the thing about op shops - the product range might be unpredictable and unreliable, but it can span decades.

I was recently in the market for a new leather belt. I went to an op shop that had a good selection of belts and stood there, trying various ones on. Most of the belts were far too small. Some of them wouldn’t even go around my waist.

When at last I came across a belt that both looked good and was a good fit, I felt as if I’d finally stepped out of the past and back into the modern era. In the modern era, you see, the average woman is a size 14. Not a wasp-waisted, 1950s tupperware party hostess.

Amy Choi grew up in the family business (a Chinese take-away) and is a three-time university dropout. She was once a finalist in the Vogue Talent Contest and flew all the way to London for lunch at Vogue House. She has worked in customer service, as an usher, foster carer, freelance writer and columnist, most recently for The Age. Her first book will be published next year. She's still dating her first boyfriend and they live in country Victoria with their two daughters. Keep track of Amy's op-shopping adventures at her Revival blog... and at GWAS each fortnight.