12/21/2022 | By Caring Transitions of Chapel Hill

Find unique gifts while saving money by shopping second-hand. With an open mind and a sprinkle of creativity, you can find meaningful thrifted gifts for everyone on your list. These ideas from Caring Transitions of Chapel Hill can get you started.

When you shop at thrift stores, garage sales, community swaps, and estate sales, you can find special gifts with a personal touch that you wouldn’t get from a big box store. In addition:

  • Thrifted gifts are better for the environment.
  • It’s a nice way to support local stores and your community.
  • Thrifted gifts are a great way to save money while possibly getting a higher-quality item than if you were buying new.
  • Bonus: thrifting is trendy among the younger generation, who tend to be more away of its environmental benefits.

Thrifted gift ideas

Upcycled and reused items made into planters. Image by Hollyharryoz. Find unique gifts while saving money by shopping second-hand to find meaningful thrifted gifts for everyone on your list.
  1. Artwork. Wall art is by nature gently used, making it a top choice as a thrifted gift.
  2. Bikes. A grandchild who just outgrew a tricycle or a small bike might be ready to upgrade to something larger.
  3. Board games. Second-hand board games – maybe even a unique or vintage board game – enhance game nights with family and friends. Make sure all the pieces are included, of course.
  4. Books. Given the inexpensive prices of second-hand books, you can provide kids or book lovers with weeks of happy reading.
  5. Candles or DIY teacup candle. If you’re into candle making, grab a tea cup or two and fill it with a beautiful, homemade candle.
  6. Clothing accessories. Scarves, purses, designer handbags, etc. can be great options for many people on your list. If you have a daughter or granddaughter who’s into fashion, find a purse, clean it, and fill it with items such as hair ties and lipstick.
  7. DIY upcycled gifts. The upcycling possibilities are endless for furniture, wooden boxes, little sets of drawers, old jewelry boxes, and more.
  8. Fabric. Do you like to sew? Shop for fabric and old clothes to make a quilt, personalized curtains, reusable shopping bags, etc.
  9. Frames. Thrift stores and garage sales are bursting with frames. You can upcycle them, fill them with pictures of the grandkids or preserve pressed flowers or anniversary cards
  10. Home décor. Look for side tables, lamps, mirrors, storage bins, and other useful and aesthetically pleasing home decorating items.
  11. Jewelry. You can often find some great hidden gems when looking for pre-loved jewelry.
  12. Mugs and Mason jars. Most established households won’t need these items, but you can fill them with cookie ingredients, hot cocoa and marshmallows, sand art, colored stones, flowers, holiday coffee, or homemade sugar scrubs, for a thoughtful gift.
  13. Pots for plants. Look for a pot or two and then add the plant yourself. You may also find garden tools, gloves, and a pack of seeds to accessorize the gift.
  14. Records and albums. If you know someone who is into the oldies, you can’t go wrong with records and albums (as long as they have a turntable!). You may even find a vintage record player in good condition.
  15. Serving trays. Trays are easy to come by when you’re thrifting, and with a little creativity you can transform them into a work of art: a chalkboard, a rustic serving tray, a jewelry tray, wall art, and more.
  16. Sports equipment. This is great for the active grandkids or sports enthusiasts.
  17. Toys. There are often high quality, like-new toys hiding in the corners of thrift shops and yard sales. Sometimes you can even find video game consoles, video games, and other lightly used tech items that are basically like new. With anything electronic, try to test it out before you buy.

This article originally appeared at the Caring Transitions of Chapel Hill blog and has been trimmed for use on Seniors Guide. Caring Transitions franchises offer senior relocation services as well as estate sales and online auctions at the CTBIDS site.

Caring Transitions of Chapel Hill