Buying secondhand is so much more acceptable than it used to be.
In fact, where once buying used stuff could only be done in thrift shops or yard sales, now you can browse multiple online marketplaces for quality used goods. You’ll find many that even offer buyer protections like a return policy or a "certified used" designation that assures a product's quality and functionality.
There are niche marketplaces for used toys, baby gear or fashion apparel, as well as large general marketplaces where you can find just about anything you might otherwise buy new.
Is buying used and open-box gifts tacky?
But even with the massive growth of this new circular economy, there's one area where used and open-box items may still carry a stigma: gifts.
While you may find your own friends and community warming to the idea, many still believe that it’s considered a bit tacky to gift something that's used. Giving something used may seem to suggest that the recipient isn’t worth a shiny new item.
Survey responses support giving used gifts
But is that really true? Would a friend resent you for prioritizing sustainability when considering a gift for them? Some surveys suggest that the answer is probably no.
In one such survey, 61% of respondents said they'd be fine receiving a pre-owned gift.
Ninety three percent of shoppers in the U.S. have or are open to buying secondhand products for themselves, according to a report from resale platform ThredUP. So why would they find receiving a used item a problem?
When it comes to toys, most parents know how it goes. Their kids’ toys will look used within minutes of coming out of the box anyway, so what would be the problem with giving them second hand toys that have already seen a little action.
In fact, most moms admit they’d be absolutely fine receiving second hand toys for their kids – even though they still feel a bit funny about doing it themselves.
But with ever-increasing concerns about climate change and the environment, the idea of re-gifting or giving something used really is becoming more acceptable.
Why people shop secondhand
Many people shop secondhand for the savings. And many shop secondhand because it’s a sustainable way to shop. Giving used toys as a gift can be a thoughtful and environmentally friendly choice in many situations. Below are some considerations to keep in mind:
- Eco-Friendly: Giving second hand toys is a sustainable and eco-friendly choice, as it reduces the demand for new manufacturing and helps minimize waste.
- Budget-Friendly: Second hand toys are often more affordable than new ones, making them a practical option for people on a budget.
- Vintage or Collectible: Some used toys may be vintage or collectible items, which can hold sentimental or monetary value. These can make unique and cherished gifts for the recipient.
- Child's Age and Interests: When giving used toys to children, consider their age and interests. Ensure that the toy is safe, age-appropriate, and something the child will enjoy.
- Cleanliness and Safety: It's important to thoroughly clean and sanitize used toys before gifting them to ensure they are safe and free from germs or allergens. Check for any recalls or safety concerns related to the toy. If you purchase from a reputable online marketplace like Toycycle, cleaning, inspecting, and recall research has already been done for you.
- Personal Connection: If you have a personal connection to the toy, such as it being a cherished item from your own childhood, it can add sentimental value to the gift.
- Communication: When giving a used toy as a gift, it's a good idea to communicate openly with the recipient about its origin to set clear expectations and avoid any misunderstandings. You may want to share your thoughts on sustainability and it’s importance to you.
- Supporting Local Businesses: Consider buying used or open-box toys from local thrift stores or online marketplaces to support local businesses and reduce the environmental impact of shipping.
- Alternative Gift Options: If you're uncertain about giving a second hand toy, you could explore other sustainable gift options, such as handmade or upcycled items. Or many online resale marketplaces offer eGift cards. Toycycle sells New, open-box, and second hand toys, so with a gift card the recipient can choose for themselves.
Giving second hand toys as gifts is a thoughtful choice
In conclusion, giving second hand toys as gifts can be a thoughtful choice if done with consideration for the recipient's age, interests, and safety. It's also a sustainable and budget-friendly option that aligns with a more environmentally conscious approach to gift-giving.
When wrapping your gift, you might choose to share the sustainability aspect with the recipient. That lets them know the thought you put into the purchase.