Last Minute Pre-loved Gift Ideas

Tara Dickinson
7 minute read

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You love giving gifts but may have run out of time before the special day, whether that’s a Christmas holiday gift or any other time of the year. With little time and a budget conscious gift list, heading to a second-hand store is a great way to take care of literally every person on your gift list.

When you think about it, what is the purpose of gift giving? One, to make your giftee feel happy, surprised, nostalgic, and simply sharing a connection; letting them know you love and care about them. The right gift is thoughtful and unique. By shopping second-hand you are choosing a sustainable way to live your values of eco-consciousness and sustainability while also sharing moments of joy.

The walls of any stigma around secondhand gifts are falling as the world of preloved products has opened up in a huge way. Gently used and even new items in these second-hand shops are available on the market now in every single category imaginable. From toys, to trucks, to cookware, clothes, and costume jewelry. Kayaks, king sized beds, kitchen appliances, and classic collectibles are just a smattering of the enormous market of second-hand goods available at your favorite local and on-line markets.

It’s important to remember that secondhand does not mean second-best. There are a wealth of secondhand gift ideas for everyone that they would be delighted to receive. Thrift stores are amazing places to find the perfect gift within your budget, and that is meaningful for your loved one.

Let’s look at the following list to see what ideas can inspire you for last minute preloved gift ideas for everyone in your giving circle.


There are a couple thoughts about giving gifts of art works.

  1. One, you have a gift receiver who is an artist or knows quite distinctly what type of art they like and feel moved by. If you have a candidate like that, hopefully you can find something in their preferred style.
  2. Or two, which seems to be more of the normal case, the person really doesn't have too much knowledge about art and has yet to quite determine their favorite style or artists. This a a fun gift to shop for as the world of art is SO diverse and eclectic that you can find pieces that will open your giftee eyes and transport them. Second-hand stores, estate sales, and the like are great places to pick up old artworks, even finding a genuine hidden collectible item in many cases.

At the same time that you are looking for art, take a look at the frames. Sometimes the frames that just mediocre art is housed in are more lovely than the art images themselves. You can take these frames and use them for new artworks by inserting pieces of fancy fabric, wall paper, or other objects to frame. When grouped together in more than one piece they make a stunning wall display. Another idea is to up-cycle the frame into something else, like this serving tray from a picture frame.


Baking Kit

Gather several items from the second-hand cooking section and put together a baking kit for the aspiring chef on your list. A nice combination might include:

  • Old-fashioned cookie cutters made with tin or aluminum (many of these date back to the 30’s and would be considered collectibles).
  • A mason jar filled with the dry ingredients for sugar cookies.
  • Rolling pins.
  • Mixing bowls.
  • Apron.
  • Vintage recipe books.

Dress-Up Box: Great For Kids

Before kids hit their pre-teen years, their imaginations are in overdrive, and they love playing dress-up and make-believe. A really fun last minute second-hand gift for children is to put together a trunk, suitcase, or box filled with fun items for playtime. Some ideas would include:

  • Slippers, boots, heels, or other fun shoes
  • Hats
  • Scarves and boas
  • Costume jewelry
  • Capes


Second-hand shops are notorious for having a wealth of preloved vintage jewelry pieces. With the history and mystery around these items plus the high quality, they make really great secondhand gifts. Vintage jewelry is one thing that people expect to be old so that takes away from any shyness about giving something that was once used. A few online resources include Etsy and eBay but just about every charity, antique, and second-hand shop has a vintage jewelry section.


Preloved vintage homeware is another very popular category as a collectible item and also a useful one for those on your list who enjoy spending their creative time designing the perfect home. Some special ideas include:

  • Vintage mirrors
  • Cookware
  • Furniture pieces: chairs, dressers, side tables
  • Lamps & lighting pieces
  • Accessories

Framed Photos

Friends and family love to be reminded of the best times you’ve had together. Dig up an old photo from your stash, or print one out. Take a second-hand frame and give it a good clean or spruce-up with paint or additional decoration items if you’d like to customize it for that individual. You can also frame just about anything and make it special for that person.

Some other ideas to frame include:

  • Sheets of meaningful music
  • A poem
  • A illustration from an art book
  • Items from nature
  • Children’s art work
  • 3-D items like a paintbrush, shells, drum sticks, coins, etc.

Scarf & Belt Combo

This is a great gift that could work for men or women. Second-hand stores in the cooler climatic cities are full of scarves and wraps of all kinds, from the outrageously different to the posh and stylish name brands. These are very simple last minute second-hand gifts to grab and go. For an extra bonus, find a matching belt and create a little gift set by wrapping the belt around a scarf to make a stylish package.

Sports & Music Equipment

Sports and gym equipment in the second-hand arena are truly gems. For whatever reason, people tend to give away almost new exercise equipment at a notorious rate. You can truly find amazing deals and almost new items at these shops. This is a great way to afford big presents for a loved one to get into that sport or hobby they’ve always wanted.

  • You can find equipment at a fraction of the cost of brand new.
  • Upgrade equipment for a sports enthusiast.
  • Musical instruments can also be purchased second-hand. These are especially great for kids who are just beginning and unsure about their commitment at the onset.


Children outgrow toys quite rapidly as they change and grow so fast each year. This leaves a lot of parents donating gently used preloved toys galore for you to snap up! You can find a wide assortment of toys in good condition for a large age-range of kids. Some ideas that are normally found in second-hand stores include:

  • Legos
  • Duplo
  • Wooden toys
  • Dolls
  • Bikes
  • Games
  • Sports equipment
  • Electronics

Charity shops, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and Gumtree are all great places to look. Facebook Marketplace also has prices that are reasonable and many sellers are open to negotiating.

Vintage Vinyl

Secondhand gift ideas that work especially well are gifts that people expect to be old. One of these is vinyl. Vinyl records are enjoying a revival right now, with vinyl outselling CDs for the first time in forty years. If your loved one is into vinyl, then a vintage record from one of their favourite artists would make a great secondhand gift idea. Online Discogs is a great place to look for second-hand vinyl. Locally, your second-hand shops most likely have a music section where you can find some treasures.


Gifting second-hand items is the new affordable and eco-conscious way to give meaningful presents nowadays. Gifting is about sharing a little bit of yourself and passing it along. One tip is to make sure to match the gift to the recipient, meaning put a little thought into it! If the present is still in good shape and it’s something you believe your recipient will appreciate then it won’t matter how many people have pre-loved it. Happy hunting and gifting!

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