If you think it’s unthinkable to give used items at the holidays, think again (see what I did there, I made you think LOL)! It’s not only a money-saving idea but can actually be appreciated, especially for those who strive to keep their everyday living centered around earth friendly items. Shopping used or “second hand” really does reflect the old saying “one mans trash is someone else’s treasure”.
Second- hand is not necessarily regifting, which is taking a gift you received from one person and giving it to someone else. In giving second-hand, the focus is on shopping for something special or unique for your gift recipient that may have had a prior owner and a more attractive price tag. Granted, there’s always been a stigma attached to rummaging through thrift store bins and racks BUT today’s second-hand marketplace looks much different than it did even jus t 20 years ago.
It’s easier than ever to find quality pre-owned items in good or even mint condition thanks to the world of online resale markets like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Poshmark, threadUP, Etsy, etc. It’s also not as “taboo” as it used to be, to say that you bought that LV bag or that unique curved sofa at a thrift or second hand store. In fact it’s not just the online market world, take a look at your nearby estate auctions, local boutiques, antique stores, thrift shops, and even some craft and vintage markets, the next time you need a gift or special piece for yourself even, I promise, there’s something for everyone at any of these places for gently used, nearly new items and gifts.
If someone on your gift list dreams about bigger gifts, than your wallet can afford, second hand is the way to go. I mean no one wants to carry around holiday debt through next July over a bag that you bought in December. This new to me trend in gift-giving is gaining popularity Anthropologie and Neiman Marcus, just to name a few offer their own items second hand on their website.
Here’s WHY its a great idea and HOW to make the most of it to ensure you’re getting the best deals.
- In addition to saving money, there are numerous reasons to buy second-hand. It reduces waste (reduce, REUSE, repurpose) and the negative impact on the environment. It only makes sense that we start changing our mindset in thinking that quality is only found in brand new items. Additionally, new sobering research reveals that many new items returned by online shoppers end up in landfills—oftentimes it’s more cost-effective for businesses to destroy returned merchandise than to pay an employee to determine which items can be resold.
- Shopping the second-hand marketplace can be fun and rewarding, but you must do your homework, ask questions and carefully inspect everything before buying.
- Word of mouth about websites or local entities. Ask friends for feedback and recommendations. Learn from the experience of others. Read multiple online reviews before placing an order.
- Buyer beware when shopping for luxury designer goods and other costly items, it’s best to buy from stores that verify and guarantee the authenticity of the products they sell. This information should be clearly stated on their website. You don’t want to spend money on designer leather shoes only to discover later that you paid top dollar for a knock-off. Do your research. Reading online reviews is a must.
- When possible, inspect thoroughly before buying. Browsing at thrift stores, yard sales, and flea markets can be like going on a thrilling treasure hunt. You never know when you’ll find a valuable or unique item. Some department stores donate unsold clothing to nonprofit thrift stores. You may find a new sweater or dress with the retail store tag attached—that’s a score!
- Check the condition of all used garments thoroughly like underarms, seams, etc. for tears, stains, missing buttons, and the like. When shopping for furniture look for damages. A light scratch can be sanded if you’re refinishing or painting the wood piece.
- Conduct the wobble test, is it sturdy? Be realistic about how much repair work you’ll actually do. Check china, ceramic and glassware items for chips and cracks. If you’re shopping vintage ware, check the underside for manufacturer name and country of origin to avoid purchasing cheap imitations. When shopping online, always ask the buyer if there is anything wrong with the item. Ask to see more photos if needed before purchasing.