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Guest Post: Becoming a confident pre-loved gifter

Skye Bains, founder of The Gift Rebellion, shares some ideas on making an easy transition to pre-loved gifting.

For as long as I remember (let’s say I remember the 80s…), ALL presents came very shiny and new, in packaging. It was almost unthinkable that someone would give a second-hand gift and, generally, there was unspoken agreement that second-hand equalled ‘old’, ‘inferior’ and ‘stingy’.

We all know everything moves in cycles though. Our grandparents regularly shared their good quality belongings as gifts. Thankfully, after a period of being out of fashion, this idea is starting to make a come-back.

It’s great news for our planet and for all creatures on it (including us!) that pre-loved gifting is becoming popular again. This means:

  • less resources used to make new things and the packaging they come in

  • reduced carbon emissions from factories and shipping

  • better quality gifts that last longer and can have many lives

  • less rubbish going to landfill

Two of the biggest barriers to pre-loved gifting are letting go of our ‘stuff’ (worrying that we don’t have enough… search ‘abundance mentality’ online to help remedy this) and worrying about others rejecting and judging us and our gifts.

It’s fairly simple to overcome these barriers by creating new habits, knowing where to find great gifts and easing into pre-loved gifting.

Here are some tips to help you become a confident pre-loved gifter:

1. It’s the thought that counts

When deciding on a present, it’s always nice to stop and think about the receiver for a moment: an interest they’ve mentioned, their home décor or clothing style or a personal experience you’ve shared. Do you have something you’re willing to let go of that your friend will love and give new life to? Something they admire in your home that you no longer notice?

Kids often feel the joy and excitement of giving and know exactly what they want to give their friends. They might surprise you with their readiness to part with their belongings. Generally, pre-loved or home-made gifts from child to child are received very well. Knowing the toy they now own was once loved by their friend makes the gift so much more special. It works the same way for adults.

When it comes to choosing a present, books, toys, home décor, clothing, puzzles and games are great pre-loved gifts to share with your friends.

(Note: It’s important to find a thoughtful, good-quality gift in good condition that your friend will actually like, we’re not just getting rid of our junk!)

2. The pre-loved gift hunt

With the amount of stuff we all own, there are infinite places to find a great pre-loved gift. The secret is to give yourself some extra time to avoid running to the shop at the last minute.

Here are some of the best places to find pre-loved gifts:

  • At home: Try your bookshelf, game cupboard, wardrobe, storage area or living space. Home is the best place to find a present. Sharing what we have is the ultimate way to give sustainably.

  • Online: Ebay, Gumtree and Facebook marketplace all carry millions of pre-loved items for times when you have a specific gift in mind. (Just remember that you might need a bit of extra time to have the item delivered.)

  • Op/thrift shops: You’ll usually find a range of gifts in op shops from books, games and clothing to homewares and sports gear. Sifting through an op-shop for a great present can be fun.

  • Vintage shops and second-hand shops: An online search will bring up pre-loved shops in your area with specific interests for anyone: book-lovers, gamers, fashionistas, handymen etc.

3. Be gentle on yourself

If you’re feeling really brave, you can jump in the deep end and give your pre-loved gift as normal.

But not feeling so brave? There are many ways to ease yourself into pre-loved gifting. Here are some ideas:

  • Add a plant, flowers or something homemade to your pre-loved gift. For adults, this could be a book you want to share with your friend plus a beautiful bouquet or a cutting of one of your indoor plants in a nice pot. For kids, you could make something to go with a gift: a decorated cardboard bed for the soft toy your child is giving or homemade playdough with some pre-loved animals.

  • You can give a gift together with the offer of your time. For example, give a jigsaw puzzle with the offer to make it together over a nice cup of tea and cake. Or teach your friend how to play the game you’ve given them. Your time is a priceless gift.

  • Adding a gift voucher or money to supplement your pre-loved gift might make the transition easier for you.

  • If you need a bit of help explaining why you’re giving a pre-loved gift you can also try using The Gift Rebellion gift wrap to show your gift is great for our planet.

However you give, talking about your pre-loved gift is a great way to start a conversation about sharing what we have rather than always buying new. Don’t forget to include kids in these conversations: they’re usually enthusiastic about getting on board with sustainable ideas and will carry them into the future.


About Skye Bains

Skye started The Gift Rebellion in 2020 as a way to ‘break the rules of giving’. The Gift Rebellion is a movement to care for our planet by encouraging people to share what they have rather than buying new gifts.

More information at



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