The Ultimate Guide to Thrifted Gifts

Feb 5, 2021 | Sustainable Fashion, Sustainable Lifestyle, Thrifting

by Dotty Liao. 

Finding a good gift can be a fun and exciting task to undertake when it comes to buying something special for those we care about. Many times, we limit ourselves to buying only new products as presents, overlooking the benefits of buying items from second-hand shops such as priceless, rare and very niche finds that we aren’t able to find new.  There usually is something for everyone if you go to your city’s main second-hand shop and truly dig around. 

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you’re looking for a special gift that’s tailored to the unique taste of the recipient. Make sure you have enough time to really think about what kind of things they might appreciate so that the process of looking for a perfect pre-owned present is less daunting. If you’re going into the hunt knowing very little, there are plenty of great DIY ideas that anyone would love. 

For our family or someone near and dear to you, you might want to go all-out and splurge on a nicer gift. You can do that without adding to the landfill or buying new, but if you’re not sure you want to rely on the local antique shop, just go online!

Stores like ThredUp, Poshmark, theRealReal and Tradesy are changing the way we shop for pre-owned items. Many of these products are sold by individuals instead of directly through a single company distribution center, but for sites like Poshmark and the RealReal, you can rest assured that the second-hand designer item you’re purchasing is verified for authenticity. Many of these designer items are in brand-new condition – some with their original tags attached! 


So if the next time you’re at the thrift store looking for some gifts, here are some good things to look for: 

  • Unique retro lighting or decor – a gorgeous and unique lamp can light up the right person’s day

  • Framed art – for the quirky artistic collector, this is a great gift to receive
  • Designer bags – find brand new items from their favorite brands for a fraction of what they would pay in store (make sure you are buying an authenticated product with proof of authenticity)
  • Fine jewelry – from art deco rings to intricate necklaces and brooches that boast breath-taking designs, you can find one-of-a-kind estate jewelry and even heirlooms
  • Collectibles – some popular collectibles include coins, golf clubs, figurines and more 
  • Books – find classic editions or collections
  • Antique glassware that can clean up nicely or be your next DIY project
  • Antique trinkets – look for unique salt-and-pepper shakers in brand new condition are not uncommon finds in antique shops

If you are in a hurry to find a good second-hand gift, you can search for local antique or vintage shops near you to visit. Every store is different, but you can find gems that your family and friends might appreciate if you are willing to do the searching. 

Another great idea is to make a basket or bag filled with homemade treats or goods. Just buy a vintage or rustic-looking basket from the thrift store, some simple mason jars (or use some empty ones from home and just remove any labeling) or glassware, additional little pieces that will fit into the basket.

Nice gift ideas that are easily found at any thrift shops are photo frames which you can use to frame a photo of you and your giftee, a drawing or a nice poem. You can even find a book at the thrift shop containing a passage to frame! 

Candle sticks are often found in new or almost-new condition. If the packaging is old and ugly, take the candles out and bundle them together with a ribbon or in a small sachet. 

If you want to add more of a homemade touch to the basket, you could bake some desserts to add to the basket, or concoct a homemade bath scrub with what you already have at home!

If you’re in need of more inspiration, tips for thrifting, or want to discover more small online vintage and thrift shops, download the GoodHuman app. We have all the thrifting and secondhand inspiration you could ever need!