Current Moon Phase:

Waning Gibbous

Waning Gibbous

87% Of Full

Shopping Second-Hand This Holiday Season? It’s The Next Big Trend

Is it unthinkable to give used items at the holidays? Think again! It's not only a money-saving idea but can actually be appreciated. Here are some tips to make the most of it

Does someone on your gift list dream big? Are they hoping to see Gucci or Hermes under the tree? Some of the items on their wish list may be out of reach for your wallet. Rather than going into debt this holiday season, why not consider second-hand or resale shopping? This new to me trend in gift-giving is gaining popularity. In fact, the resale market is on the rise on every business level— from small, local shops, to huge retailers like Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, and J.C. Penney. Here’s how to make the most of it to ensure you’re getting the best deals.

It’s Not Regifting

We’re not talking about 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 has expanded to reach a broader range of consumers. It’s easier than ever to find quality pre-owned items in good or even mint condition.

Where to Shop

There’s something for everyone on your gift list via auctions, online shops and groups, local boutiques, antique stores, thrift shops, and craft and vintage markets. Local consignment stores are also ideal places to look for gently used gifts. 

A Money Saver

Buying gently used items at lower prices saves you money. Sometimes you can find used luxury designer labels like up to 70% off the retail cost when shopping consigned luxury goods. Vintage is popular too: jewelry, art & collectibles, retro fashion, books, tableware, and furniture are wanted items.

Shopping for a trendy farmhouse, country, or vintage decorating styles? Used furniture upcycled with chalk or milk paint finishes is in abundance at vintage and craft markets and on social media marketplaces. If you have a friend or family member that collects vintage items, snap a photo on your phone of what they collect to help you identify the right item when shopping in brick-and-mortar shops, at auctions, and online.

Vintage finds are perfect for the collector.

Why It’s Time To Consider Second-Hand

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. 

Shop Smart

Shopping the second-hand marketplace can be fun and rewarding, but you must do your homework, ask questions and carefully inspect everything before buying. Rely on these tips when making purchases:

Word of Mouth.  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.

Be sure to inspect items thoroughly.

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 – 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.

A Booming Trend

The world of online resale markets is booming: Poshmark, Fashionphile, RealReal Inc., eBay, threadUP, Plato’s Closet, Etsy, and more are popping up. In fact, according to thredUP, an online secondhand clothing store, this trend is likely to continue to grow as younger consumers are purchasing second-hand items 2.5 times more frequently than older consumers. That translates to $51 billion in growth in the U.S. resale market by the year 2023.

What do you think: What item would you love to receive and wouldn’t mind if it’s second-hand?

Head - Ear pain
Deborah Tukua

Deborah Tukua is a natural living, healthy lifestyle writer and author of 7 non-fiction books, including Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. She has been a writer for the Farmers' Almanac since 2004.

Keep Exploring

1 Comment
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I love shopping estate sales. Many times an elderly relative is downsizing and what a treasure trove of beautiful vintage items. Most in excellent condition. Something I would always be pleased to receive well used? ANYTHING Cast Iron. The finish already done!

Plan Your Day. Grow Your Life.

Sign up today for inspiring articles, tips & weather forecasts!