11 Tips to purge unwanted gifts

The holidays have come and gone. Do you find yourself surrounded by unwanted gifts that loved ones gave? Whether they thought you’d love it, or bought it on clearance, or simply bought you the easiest gift available, it doesn’t matter. The result is that you don’t want it, you don’t love and that it’s taking up valuable real estate in your home. So let’s explore some ways you can purge your unwanted gifts.

I’m sure you’re already familiar with most, if not all of these. The question is this. Have you ever made the time/effort to actually follow through or are they still hanging around your home?

Catalog it:

You’re probably asking yourself “Why would I catalog this if I’m planning to get rid of it?” For exactly that reason. If you receive a lot of gifts and many of them are not wanted, keep a list of the item name, who gave it to you, and the date you received it. Then take it 1 or 2 steps further and note how you ended up purging it once it’s out of your home and if you re-gifted it, to whom. Why? One reason is in case you decide to re-gift it. You certainly don’t want to give it to the person who gifted it to you originally. Another reason is just in case the person who gave it to you asks you about it someday. You’ll know where it went and can decide if you choose to share that with them.

Offer it back to the Gift-Giver:

This may sound rude but if it’s a sentimental and/or handmade gift and you don’t want it, the person who gave it to you may prefer to have it back and gift it to someone who wants/needs it.

Return it to the store where it was purchased for a refund/credit: 

Of course, having a receipt makes this a lot easier but it’s not always necessary.

Sell it:

There are so many options these days it’s impossible to list them all but here’s a few (nextdoor.com), Facebook Marketplace, online resell store, online groups, etc.)

Consign it:

You may have some great local consignment shops that will attempt to see it for you. Their cut of the profit may be well worth the time and energy it didn’t take YOU to try to sell it.

Regift it/Add it to your supply of gifts for others:

If you’re a regifter, this is a great option. But here’s another. Many people will buy popular items on sale and put them aside in their Gift Inventory. A great example is a bottle of wine. This comes in handy if you need a gift very quickly and don’t have time to run out.

Donate it:

You can donate it to nonprofits that will sell it for you and make a profit for themselves. If you choose this option, make sure to get a donation receipt for tax purposes!

Repurpose it:

When you take one thing and reuse it as something else. Did someone give you a cup & saucer set when you’re really a mug type of person? Then get creative and turn it into a bird feeder. Not sure where to start? Just google it for a few million ideas!

Upcycle it:

This is when you use an item in the same way it was intended but after you have improved/changed its appearance. This can be done through paint, add-ons, etc. You’re only limited by your own imagination.

Give it Away:

As they say, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Consider giving the item away for free… whether it’s to someone you know or to a stranger who really wants/needs it via online communities (freecycle.org, etc.)

Swap it:

Did you know there are online swapping websites? If you prefer to keep it inside a smaller circle, plan a get-together with family/friends who love to swap clothes and other goods.

As you can see, there’s no shortage of ideas of what you can do to purge unwanted gifts. My last tip I think is the most valuable. Consider having a conversation with the gift-giver and discuss how to handle future gifts. Do you both/all want to stop them altogether? Do you both want to put together a wish list of things you want/need? Perhaps you want to agree in advance to do something more meaningful together either for yourselves to to help others? As you can see, there are many options to pick from. In fact, you find additional ideas here. Use this as an opportunity to do what’s best for all involved.

Gifts have ribbons, not strings.

Vanna Bonta