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Sometimes it really is ‘the thought that counts‘, because the gift itself is something you neither, want, need or like.
But what do you do when you’ve been given something that you know you’ll never use?
Here are 6 ideas on what to do with unwanted gifts.
WHAT TO DO WITH UNWANTED GIFTS
It can be really tricky knowing what to do with an unwanted gift.
I know I’ve often felt a certain amount of guilt at having received a gift that I know I don’t like and will likely never use.
Especially if I know that the person who has given me the gift will have put time, care and emotion into buying and giving the gift to me.
But all the love and care in the world can do nothing to turn a gift you just don’t like or want into one that you do.
So what can you do if you’re gifted something that makes your heart sink rather than sing?
IS IT EVEN OK TO GIVE GIFTS AWAY?
Getting rid of unwanted gifts is an icky subject!
Is it even ok to get rid of a gift that has been chosen with care and given with love?
It is just plain rude and lacking etiquette to not simply hang onto the gift?
Well, I think that it is perfectly fine and in fact a good thing to not keep hold of unwanted gifts.
The important thing is how you go about dispatching them!
Related: How to declutter fast
THE TRUE VALUE OF A GIFT
Something that has really helped me with the guilt of dealing with unwanted gifts was reading something by the brilliant Rachel Hoffman, author of Unf*ck Your Habitat.
The real value of a gift is in the giving and receiving of it. The actual item itself is far less important.”Rachel Hoffman, Unf*ck Your Habitat
Once you think of the act of giving and receiving as the important element of gifting rather than the gift itself, it becomes easier to free yourself up to deal with the gift.
UNWANTED GIFTS ARE CLUTTER
It’s also worth acknowledging that unwanted gifts that you don’t proactively do anything with simply become clutter.
Nobody needs more clutter in their lives.
So use this fact as the impetus to do something about an unwanted gift you’ve recently received or indeed a whole raft of unwanted gifts you’ve squirrelled away to try and forget about.
6 WAYS TO DEAL WITH UNWANTED GIFTS
Do bear in mind the future consequences of getting rid of unwanted gifts altogether.
1. POLITELY DECLINE THE GIFT
No, this doesn’t mean “thanks but no thanks”!
I would also suggest that this is a strategy used with those who you have a really strong relationship with.
Put it this way, none of us would like to think of a gift we’ve given being cast aside unused (or worse still, regifted or given away to charity… see ideas below!!!).
So, if for example, the gift is clothing, you could try saying that you love it, but the colour or size just isn’t right and see if the person who is giving it to you still has the receipt.
You can then either ask for the receipt so that you can arrange an exchange or they might offer to return the item and give you something else that is better suited to you with the money.
2. RETURN THE GIFT TO THE SHOP
Sometimes a thoughtful gift-giver will include a gift receipt in with their gift.
This is like a free-pass to return the gift if it isn’t right for you.
The trick here is to get round to returning the gift as soon as possible.
Don’t leave the gift and receipt for months on end.
Some major stores will allow you to exchange an unwanted item if you don’t have the receipt. It’s at the store’s discretion, so you can’t demand an exchange. But it’s certainly worth looking into if there’s something you know you would prefer.
3. DONATE THE GIFT TO CHARITY
There are two key things to think about here.
- Make sure you take the unwanted gift to the charity shop as soon as you are able. Don’t simply add it to a pile or cupboard full of other clutter that you will one day take.
- The gift-giver must never know you donated the gift to charity. So be careful which charity shop you donate to!
Now this can be dangerous territory!
- First up, the gift must be in its original packaging and completely unused by you
- Secondly, you must make absolutely sure that the OGG (original gift giver) must never find out. This includes being sure to never accidentally regift the gift to the OGG!!
- Thirdly, the new recipient must never suspect that the gift is a regift
I have a gift cupboard in our house that contains, gift-wrap, tape, packaging and future gifts.
Some of these future gifts are things I’ve seen and bought knowing they will come in useful for someone as a gift. Some of them are gifts for regifting.
Nobody gets to see inside this cupboard except for me.
This is the rule that avoids surprises being spoilt and secrets being broken.
5. SELL IT
You can sell the gift on somewhere like eBay if you think the time it will take you to list and send it off is going to be covered by the money you could earn.
I’d say this is a pretty safe way of dealing with an unwanted gift, as the person who buys it is highly unlikely to be anyone in your social circle or live anywhere near you.
6. ACCEPT THAT IT WILL BE PART OF YOUR LIFE
Sometimes you perhaps just have to accept that a gift you don’t really like will have to be part of your life, at least for a while.
Ultimately, you need to weigh up whether the upset caused by getting rid of the gift will outweigh the benefits of not having the gift in your possession.
Given that most gifts are given with love and thought, it’s worth hanging onto an ugly vase or having your child wear a hideous item of clothing just once so that the gift-giver isn’t hurt.
Hello, I’m Luci, founder of Mums Make Lists (Est. 2011). Over the last decade or so, I have combined my experience as a mum, journalist and shopping editor to create useful guides and lists of ideas and inspiration to make it easier for busy parents to plan and host kids’ parties and find great gifts. Read more.