Wednesday, December 12, 2012

10 Ways to Buy Thrifted Gifts

There is a lot of 'controversy' on shopping thrifted for gifts. Some people think it's taking the 'cheap way out', being lazy, or not being thoughtful enough. In fact it's the opposite. Shopping thrifted takes a lot more time, effort and thought than heading to your local big box store and buying the first thing on the shelf!  Here are ten ways to ensure you are getting the best bang for your buck, and the perfect gift for your loved one!

1. Shop Personal. If you're buying a thrifted gift, this is not the time to shop functional, 'traditional', safe gifts [IE: socks, games, shoes etc]. Spend time considering the person you're shopping for; what are their hobbies, favorite colors, things they collect etc.
Suggestions: Pig figurines for your aunt obsessed with farm animals, vintage photographs for the art connoisseur, unpublished hardcover manuscripts for the reading enthusiasts (I've found a few!)

2. Shop Quality. This is a huge thing to remember when thrifting no matter who you are shopping for. A deal isn't much of a deal if it falls apart the first time you use/wear it! Consider the materials, the brand, and the overall quality of the item. How embarrassing would it be if you purchased a gift that fell apart in the gift bag…and you couldn't return it!
Suggestions: Think Coach over Merona

3. Shop New. Ok it sounds like a contradiction, to shop 'new' at a thrift store. It doesn't have to be new with tags on it, but if you're buying a jacket, make sure it looks and feels new! Clothes shouldn't have a 'broken in' feel to them, items shouldn't have scratches or tears.
Suggestions: Purses that don't have stains, jewelry in flawless condition, books without torn pages.

4. Shop by the Person. Not everyone is 'ok' with thrift stores. Not everyone appreciates the savings, or wearing used clothes, or handling someone else's old stuff. Take that into consideration when shopping. My mom is my thrifting buddy, so I know she would appreciate a thrifted item more than my boyfriend who won't even go into the stores!

5. Shop clean. I would think this would be a no-brainer, but no matter how good the quality and condition is on the item you've purchased, take the time to clean it. Give it a great sparkle. This is when shopping less functional is better. It's one thing to buy yourself a sweater and drop it in the wash when you get home, but you shouldn't have to do that for a gift. Jewelry only requires a quick sanitary wipe, or a purse can have a quick cleaning inside. Even if it looks like it was never used, you should take the time to make sure its as clean as can be before gifting!
Suggestions: Make sure first you have only chosen items that look and feel new, then follow my handy cleaning guide to ensure they sparkle!

6. Shop Unique. This could go hand in hand for shopping personal, but shopping unique means don't buy something that's mass produced, or if you do at least make sure its vintage! If you can buy it at Target now, it's probably not worth saving a buck to buy it used at the thrift store.
Suggestions: Think of antique books, one of a kind paintings, and other vintage goodies!

7. Shop Re-purposed. Let's face it, a huge chunk of the awesome people who shop thrifted, also tend to be a little crafty. Take these skills or creative ideas into consideration when shopping! Maybe you can re-purpose a cool vase into an even cooler lamp, some old t-shirts into a great quilt, or an ugly knit blanket into a pretty scarf. If you can't figure out how to do something, it shouldn't be hard to find someone who can! Homemade gifts are wonderful ways to show people you care, and save money on your end. And you will always end up with a unique one of a kind gift!
Suggestions: mason jars filled with treats like hot chocolate and brownie mix for your neighbors (make sure you sterilize the jars first!), upcycled kitchen utensil artwork for the cook in your family,

8. Shop Repackaged. There's a small chance you're going to find the perfect item, in brand new condition in the original [perfect] packaging. For the items that lack the great packaging, take the time to do something original. This is not the time to throw it in a gift bag and call it good. Try something unique, a bread basket from the thrift store doubles as packaging and functionality. If you're not comfortable going double thrift on a gift, shop the sale sections for something different. A cheap cheese grater could double as packaging to hold the beautiful earrings you bought thrift.

9. Shop Smart. Create a budget before you go. This is somewhere between the basic thrift budget you should always be creating when you go, and your Christmas budget. Be realistic, have an amount you want to spend on a certain person and STICK TO IT. If you end up really below that number, don't feel bad! Holiday shopping is not about the price tag (please ignore what the retail stores are trying to tell you)! As long as you've shopped appropriately for that person, taking into consideration their personality and tastes, then the money you spent on that gift shouldn't matter. It will be the perfect gift whether you paid $5, or $50.
Suggestions: Use my handy little printable for coming up with ideas before you go shopping. Create your budget, keep the idea list in hand and you will find something perfect at your local thrift store.

10. Shop Realistic. Your best friend will love these leather gloves, but there is a tear in the thumb. Drop them. Your mom is going to die over this jacket, but the color isn't quite…normal. Move on. You brother collects carved wooden..things, but you think this is ugly. Keep shopping. Your reaction should be 100% the minute you see something. If you have to think on it for a minute, drop it and move on. Maybe after turning over the entire store you're still thinking about that great tarnished silver jewelry box, you can always head back to that section and see what your reaction is that time. Walking away is a great idea because you'll either forget about the item or feel a huge connection to it. If you put in your cart while you're shopping, by the end you'll feel a connection to it regardless of how much you like it and could end up buying the wrong gift.
Suggestions: When buying mass produced big box store gifts, you can always return the item if its not the right color. But when you buy thrift you don't have the luxury so be smart and realistic about the item before purchasing. If you don't love it for the recipient, then why would they? Make sure you check out my post on how to be a smarter thrifter as well!
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1 comment:

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