Thrift Gifts: Preloved Finds for Holiday Gift Giving

Some things stand the test of time: a classic book, a colorful scarf, a cute end table, quality cookware. With a bit of time for searching, the perfect gift may be at a secondhand store near you. 

There are two types of secondhand stores.

Thrift Stores

These include stores operated by non-profit organizations and for-profit businesses. Non-profit organizations use thrift stores to raise money for their cause and provide work opportunities. Well-known nationwide non-profits include Goodwill and the Salvation Army. Local non-profits that typically operate thrift stores include hospital auxiliaries and charitable and religious non-profit organizations.

Many thrift stores have a wide variety of items, from clothes to toys to home goods.

However, some stores specialize in a particular type of item, such as a used book and game store. 

Consignment Stores 

Another category of stores where you can find new-to-you treasures is a consignment store. Consignment stores sell items on consignment, meaning that people can sell items they no longer need at the store. Both the store and the original owner of the item receive a portion of the sale price.  

Some consignment stores specialize in a particular item, such as: 

  • furniture and home accessories
  • women’s clothing
  • kids’ toys and clothing
  • sporting goods

As you begin thrifting, here are some tips to consider.

1. Visit several stores.  

While many thrift and secondhand stores carry similar merchandise, visiting several stores will give you a feel for the quality, cleanliness and variety of items available.  

Take a friend with you and make this a fun time.

2. Consider who you’re purchasing for.  

What colors do they like? What hobbies do they enjoy? What type of books do they read? Do they have a collection?   

3. Look for quality. 

Since you are buying secondhand, spend extra time looking at the quality and condition of the items before you buy. Sometimes you will luck out and find clothing or a home accessory that is new, with the tags still on. Other times what seems in good condition may have a small tear or stain.    

4. Watch for sales.

Sales are one way to be even thriftier with your money and most secondhand stores have them. 

5. Not sure what someone will like?

Give them a gift card or a special thrifting outing. 

Pretty much all kids will get a kick out of choosing their own game, toy or book. They might even surprise you and pick out a ballerina figurine or picture of their favorite woodland animal.  

Adult shoppers, especially those who appreciate a good deal and reusing items to help the environment, will enjoy shopping for themselves.  

The search for unique or nostalgic items can be a highlight, so maybe your “gift” is a special day out with a friend.  Treat them to breakfast or a coffee, then spend the day thrifting together.   

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