I've got a hang up about buying things for gifts at thrift stores. I love doing it, LOVE. Because you can get the people on your list more interesting, more personal and more valuable gifts for much less money. My problem is that there's a lot of stigma around it. Which is silly. I mean, if you buy something 'vintage' off Etsy or from a fancy Vintage Shop, it's legitimate. But buy it from a thrift store? Party foul.
Well today I'm going to share with you the kinds of things I look for and buy, yes, as gifts for other people at the thrift store, and my tips for making them just as legitimate as something generic and cheap at Wal Mart.
There are a thousand amazing pieces of jewelry at thrift stores. (Trust me, I've got a literal box full to prove it.) But if you look closely you can find some incredibly cute and timeless pieces among the 1,000 shell necklaces and tarnished chains. Just think about the kind of piece you yourself would love to receive, and the receiver's tastes! For instance, my friend Suzzy adores aqua and chunky jewelry, so those earrings would be perfect for her.
2. Small quirky dishes and glassware
Vintage and interesting china plates and bowls abound that thrift, and usually for under $1. How often do you see quirky Anthropologie dishes used to display jewelry or catch clutter? How about saving about $30 per dish? Yeah. Point made. These dishes are all vintage Japanese china, and are gorgeous, the perfect to stash my wedding ring in while doing dishes.
Belts, jewelry (see above), silk scarves, wallets, etc. All are perfect small gifts, and can usually be found made from high quality materials for under $5. These areas and bins of the store are often treasure troves full of potential gifts!
4. Actual sterling silver pieces
Real silver pieces (the one above is one of my favorite finds, a ring holder/earring dish) are a thrift store staple. Usually these can be found in the kitchen area. Silverware, serving dishes, trays and teapots are mainly what to look out for, and I spot them fairly frequently. If you give them a polish, you've got a valuable and gorgeous gift.
Name brand, designer purses are actually more common then you'd think at thrift stores. I have a collection of around 8 Coach bags at this point, all from thrift stores. My daughter is even getting one for Christmas! This is the section where it pays to be able to know what real leather feels and looks like, it'll pay off. And with a good cleaning no one is going to complain about getting a Coach purse as a gift!
6. Craft supplies
Crafty people like craft supplies as gifts, yo. I was actually going to ask for fancy wool yarns for Christmas myself, but then found a literal bin of these gorgeous merino wool skeins for only $1 a piece. That's a huge savings! Things like vintage sewing patterns, knitting needle's, crochet hooks, yarn, fabric, scrapbooking stickers and paper...all can be found by digging a little through the craft supply isle.
Confession time: I do not understand why people buy their kids new toys. No judgement, but you can almost always find the newest coolest toy hotness at thrift stores within a couple months, often times in the packaging or with tags. For under $5. My son is getting an honest-to-God train table and three giant bags of wooden Thomas brand trains for Christmas. And for all the trains + the table I paid under $50. You just can't top that. Look for kids books too, and stuffed animals with the tags still on. Need Legos? You can often find giant mixed bags of legos too.
8. Niche Kitch (or nerd gear)
So, everyone knows one of those people. Those people who take fandom to a new level, possibly obsessive. Possibly Star Trek related *cough cough.* Thrift store shopping is awesome because sometimes you can give them much more specific gifts then Wal Mart Star Trek brand body wash. The Enterprise NC1701-D above was a thrift store find of that type. Keep your eyes peeled for vintage Star Wars shirts, anime DVD's, Hello Kitty gear, etc. You won't be disappointed!
9. Wall art
There's no shortage of wall art at thrift, certainly. But did you know that some of it is actually...good? The canvas above is part of a matched set and was a whopping $2. The '42' is made from vintage sign numbers (10 coolness points if you can name the reference!)
Even more then wall art, there are almost always hundreds of books at any thrift store. And most of them are pristine copies of bestsellers that someone else only read once. Know what that means? That means that you can give someone on your list the same book you might buy at the book store, for less then a buck! In addition, if you have a true book lover on your list you can go hog wild and buy them more then one! What's better then one book? TEN BOOKS! Just make sure you choose a copy that someone might really enjoy, and in good condition.
Don't forget the wrapping!
My last tip for taking a thrift store find and making it presentable is this: Wrap it pretty! You saved all that money, right? Spend a tiny portion of that on some pretty wrapping paper, cute tags and nice bows. Presentation is most of what will make or break presenting a thrift store gift as legitimate. After all, isn't that the difference between Etsy and the thrift store? Good packaging! Pretty packaging automatically makes anything inside seem more glamorous and expensive.
I hope you enjoyed this little list! If you found something amazing at a thrift store and gifted it to someone else, or if you've gotten a thrift store gift, tell me about it in the comments! Who doesn't love a good thrift score?