By Bobbi Burger Brunoehler of Bobbisbargains.
When my kids were little, I got almost all of their toys and clothes at yard sales. They didn’t even know that toys came in packaging until they were six years old. After all, why pay 90% more to have the toy come encased in unnecessary, resource-depleting material? A 4-year-old really doesn’t care. They only want the toy.
Since my family was used to receiving presents that were pre-owned, it was no big deal to keep doing it at Christmas time. It’s not like I’m giving them dirty, ripped and broken items. At a yard or estate sale, I find gently used or never used items that are financially out of reach if they were brand new. Just this weekend, I purchased a hip like-new soft leather jacket for my daughter. Retail price new: $200. Yard sale price: $5. It’s a no-brainer. Wrap it up in a pretty re-usable holiday bag with tissue paper and it’s a WOW present.
I do realize that in some circles giving used items as gifts is considered gauche. I read on MSN Money that are used aren’t “real” gifts. What does THAT mean? Because I didn’t go to a retail store and hand over way too much money for pristine packaging that my gift isn’t real?
The truth is that I only give used items to my family and my very best friends who understand and appreciate my shopping philosophy. I follow basic regifting rules and find my friends thoroughly enjoy the gorgeous cashmere sweater or music CD that I give them after a day of yard sale hunting.
Personally, my very favorite gifts are items that have been handmade for me. It doesn’t matter if it is a cookie, a picture, a handmade scarf or a poem. It is all in the presentation and the thought that went into the gift. It is NOT about the money or the packaging.
Here are my five rules for gifting from yard sales:
- Ensure the item is totally clean and in good working order. If it needs batteries, buy and install them so that it works immediately.
- Present the present nicely. I really like using gift bags with tissue paper. The bags can be reused and the tissue makes it look festive.
- Make a handmade gift tag. They are easy and fun to make. Put a little extra love and attention into the tag. Attach to the hang tag a picture of you and the gift receiver when you were in kindergarten together, lyrics from a meaningful song or just a pretty holiday sticker.
- If the item does not have the manual, find it online, print it out, and include it with the gift.
- Do not apologize for your gift. You went shopping for it, paid good money for it, wrapped and delivered it. This takes far more effort and is more meaningful than just ordering a gift card from Amazon.
So readers, what do you think? Gifting from yard sales or not? Let me hear from you.