Swapping is hot and Goodwill finds are cool again. But while we’re excited to find the perfect t-shirt for our own closet, donning used goods still carries a stigma for some.
Should not be.
Second-hand gifts are better for your wallet, your community and the environment.
“The planet is drowning in excess,” says Lauren Bravo, 34, London-based author of How to Break Up With Fast Fashion. “It feels more sustainable to buy from things that already exist in the world than to add to the demand for more, more, more.”
Not convinced? Here are four great benefits of secondhand gifts, plus some tips and ideas to help you save on a gift this holiday season.
Second hand gift bag
1. It’s better for the environment
Fast fashion and fast furniture generate an incredible amount of waste. In 2018 alone, nearly 21 million tons of textile, furniture and furniture waste ended up in landfills, according to the latest data released by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Purchasing a used hoodie, jacket, vase, coffee table, or virtually any other item prevents it from landing in a landfill or on a foreign shore (where much of our donated clothing lands). Most second-hand purchases are also made locally, so you avoid many of the environmental impacts that come with packing and shipping items.
2. Secondhand is more budget friendly
You may have noticed, but everything is more expensive right now (inflation hit a 40-year high in September). Even with rising prices, buying used is almost always less expensive than buying new.
This author recently received a set of eight vintage cocktail glasses that my parents picked up for 50 cents a piece at a local thrift store. (Yes, they left the price tags.) A similar set from Anthropologie currently sells for $56 for a set of four.
And Bravo says home improvement stores allow her to gift higher-quality items.
“I can afford to buy more expensive brands for people if I get things second-hand,” she says. “And frankly, they’re often still new in their box.”
3. Support small business
Vintage and thrift stores are almost always small businesses – and they’re counting on your support this holiday season.
In fact, 73 percent of small business owners say holiday sales like Black Friday and Small Business Saturday are important to their business’ success, according to a new NerdWallet survey of more than 3,000 U.S. adults (including more than 900 business owners small). conducted online by The Harris Poll between October 3-5, 2022.
Money spent at small local shops usually stays in the community, supporting jobs and other businesses. Popular nonprofit stores like Goodwill and the Habitat for Humanity ReStore give back to the local community in many other ways, too. Sales from items purchased at Habitat ReStores, for example, help build and rehabilitate homes for local families.
4. Saving gifts have a history
It could be something special about a book, a handbag or an item of clothing previously owned by someone else. The item has lived another life and sometimes literally has the grades to prove it.
“My wife bought me a book of love poems from a second-hand bookshop where the previous owner (of the book) and his partner wrote notes to each other,” says Michael Morris, 45, who lives in Brooklyn and runs a men’s lifestyle website. . “It’s a book of love poems with a real love story in the margin and it’s incredibly moving. It’s one of my prized possessions.”
Tips for second-hand gifts
Last-minute shoppers, take note: thrift gifts work best when you have time to find the perfect item. So start your holiday shopping now. Or better yet, hunt for second-hand gifts all year round.
Thrift stores, vintage stores, used bookstores and Goodwill are all great places to look for second-hand gifts, but estate sales can also yield treasures, says Richard Clews, 55, a retail and trading founder electronic who lives in Boston.
“Estate sales is the gold mine for me,” says Clews. “You can find such magnificent objects that have history and care and wisdom all wrapped up in something meaningful.”
Neighborhood listservs, the Facebook marketplace, and Buy Nothing groups can also yield treasures, especially if there are children on your gift list. Kids grow old without toys pretty quickly (assuming they get them at all), and you can often find like-new toys for a few bucks—or better yet, free.
While young children will rarely make fun of a slightly crushed toy, it’s best to show the others on your gift list that you put some thought into their gift. This is always the case, but it is especially true for much-loved gifts.
“It really has to show that you had the person in mind—that you know them and love them and that you found something they’d really appreciate,” says Morris. “If you can let that guide your decisions, you can find an incredible second-hand gift.”
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