Second Hand Holidays

shh2Thrifting and consignment shopping is somewhat of an art. At times it takes patience and perseverance, but the end result is always worth it. Today, the term “vintage” reins in the fashion and home décor world. Many spend noticeable amounts of money on items that recreate fashions from previous eras; but what about authentic, unique items that boast this name all on their own?

With the holidays around the corner and San Joaquin county bursting with an array of quality second hand stores, we’ve created a guide to everything thrift and consignment. From ideas to items, San Joaquin Magazine is here to make this seasons’ gifting the most impressive and thoughtful yet…

So, consignment verses thrift? While one is not better than the other, there is a difference. Both thrift and consignment stores can be home to items reflecting a broad spectrum of time, influence and interest. Neither specializes in a specific item, instead, the difference is found in the way the items are obtained and sold. Thrift store inventory is built based on outside donation and in return, a percentage of item proceeds are then donated to charity. Consignment stores stock their floor with second hand items from people’s homes or collections. These people, known as consigners, split the profit of the item with the consignment store in which it was sold.

Goodwill Industries of San Joaquin, surely one of the best-known thrifting opportunities in our area, add extra value to shopping second hand. As Sally Wooden, Direction of Public Relations explains, shopping at Goodwill is not only an experience in itself, but also an opportunity to support a great cause and help those in need. “People can really feel good about shopping here,” she says.

You can also feel great about consignment shopping because items you find uninteresting become an asset. Local consignment stores vary in the split, but it’s certainly fun to show up somewhere with a few items you haven’t used in awhile to leave with your newest, greatest find. My Best Friends Closet in Tracy allows up to 15 consignment items at a time, and really, it’s like trading outfits with your most fashionable friend. Everyone wins!

Before you dedicate a day to exploring second hand shops in the area, let’s learn about the joys of aging and the value that comes along with it. Everything we purchase can be placed on a historical timeline and labeled with terms often loosely thrown around, like “mid-century modern” and “retro.” While many brand-spanking-new items refer to themselves as such, there is an extra special uniqueness and quality found in items that really just are. The fun part? Finding value is in the eye of the beholder, because the beauty of second hand gems has no bounds and is personalized just for you.

Antique items are among the easiest second hand finds to identify and categorize. Generally, an item labeled “antique” should be at least one hundred years old and represent a noticeable era of style or art. Something covered in dust and asking for a new paint job is not automatically antique, so keep an eye out for the authenticity of these specific items as the term often means a higher price tag. Hayley Jackson of Lodi’s New and Again Consignment Furniture Gallery suggests attention to detail when shopping for antique furniture. As Hayley explains, the value of the piece is reflective of its quality. So, pay attention to manufacture style; even the use of nails can be a tell tail sign of age. Today, solid wood pieces are rarely manufactured but antiques are adorned in unique wooden designs making these older items extra special. And when it comes to identifying this quality, Jackson says knowledge is power… “The more information you have regarding the item, the better!”

While antiques offer a timestamp, vintage items are a bit trickier. The term itself originated as a way to classify a staple in the San Joaquin community… wine. Originally referring to grapes harvested during a specific season, the term can also represent a period of origin or manufacture, which is why the term is usually followed by a certain era, like “a pair of vintage 1960s sunglasses,” for example.

shh1While being attached to a certain decade, vintage items are also known for representing or showing influence from the crème de le crème of the decade in which they are tied. For this reason, vintage items reflect the highest, most fashionable styles from any one person’s favorite period of time. However, the term is really only applicable to decades of at least 20 years our senior.
As we creep closer to present day, second hand shopping boasts another perk. Yes, our local shops are great hubs of past times, but they are also home to great values of the most recent decade. Buying gently used items is a great way to get an extra bang for your buck, while adding excitement and personalization to holiday gifting.

It’s not always easy to just think up the perfect gift. It often requires window-shopping and consideration, especially with a large family, or office wide holiday traditions like “white elephant.” Wooden really explains it best, when she compares shopping at Goodwill to a treasure hunt for the perfect gift.

The variety of items, spanning from last years still-relevant flat screen television, to a 1950s armoire, make choosing an item for someone much more personalized. This isn’t just an opinion, either. Wooden says Goodwills across the country stock their shelves with two to three thousand new items a day, seven days a week. With so many items to choose from, second hand stores give shoppers the option to find an item they may not just think up on their own.

Whether those you love are electronic enthusiasts, book lovers, fashionista’s or anything in between, the second hand shops we have in our area will surely leave everyone on your list feeling loved and wearing a smile! For some, thrifting may seem like a necessity in order to keep a holiday budget on track. But it’s so much more than that – it is an opportunity to find that perfect one-of-a-kind personalized piece you just can’t find anywhere else. It also gives you the ability to avoid the malls, support local businesses and charities, step away from the ‘consumerism’ this holiday season is known for and instead re-claim the deeper sense of gift giving.

New and Again Consignment
210 S. School St.
Lodi, (209) 368-2200
Price Range: $10-$10,000
Specialty: Furniture and home décor ranging from antique to gently used

Treasure Trove
Full Estate Sale & Appraisal Services, Consignment
234 W. Harding Way
Stockton, (209) 547-0433
Specialty: Antiques, furniture,
china, fixtures and more

Goodwill Thrift
Multiple Locations
(209) 369-6052
Price Range: Below $1-$20
Specialty: Denim, books,
home décor, formal wear and more!

Uptown Thrift
21 S. Sacramento St.
Lodi, (209) 608-9970
Price Range: $1-$500
Specialty: Clothes, kitchenware, electronics, décor and more!

My Best Friend’s Closet Consignment
821 N. Central Ave, Tracy
Price Range: $5-$800
Specialty: Name brand and designer clothes and accessories