Have you heard about freecycle?? A friend introduced me to it. It is a Yahoo! group you can join for free and it is all about getting and giving stuff for free wherever you live.
It is amazing sometimes the things that people give. This little 18-month girl Gap coat was found through freecycle and it is like new. If you are willing to be patient and keep your eye out you could find a lot of treasures. Also, consider keeping your eye out for the materials you need for the gifts you are wanting to make and give (like fabric and scrap wood).
Note: You can request "porch pick-ups" whether you are giving or getting items to avoid going into or inviting strangers into your home.