The Golden Rules of Unwanted Gifts

Admit it, some of those holiday gifts were not exactly what you needed or were hoping for. You don’t have to feel bad. You’re not the only one who raised an eyebrow when opening that gift card to Lids, or like my daughter, cried when she didn’t get an iPad mini. (Cue embarrassing parent moment.)

The first golden rule of receiving ANY gift is to send a thank you note. Period. The gift isn’t about you - the gift is about the person giving it. So smile and be thankful for that person. And let them know it.

The second golden rule of receiving any unwanted gifts is not to feel badly about passing it on as swiftly as possible. Here are a few ways you can turn those unwanted gifts into cash - or at least pass on the extra clutter in your house.

Return it.

The easiest way to get rid of a gift is to return it. Check to se if the giver included a gift receipt, but if not, many stores will change it for store credit even without a receipt. But don’t delay - stores are more lenient about exchanges around the holidays.

Donate it.

Well, someone liked it enough to purchase it for you, so someone else might like it enough to purchase it at Goodwill, right? Pass along the love. In addition to local charities, you can look at Charity Navigator to get some other creative ideas, or Good 360 for a list of over 1600 charities that are looking to receive items.

Sell it Online.

Besides Craigslist, Amazon or eBay, there are other online resources for selling your more valuable items, like electronics. Check out Gazelle, sites that will buy your item directly from you, giving you a quote immediately. (Just a warning, though: you are not going to get rich doing this. Most items don’t sell for anywhere near their initial value.)

Garage Sale.

Are the holiday gifts the only thing you’d like to get rid of in your house this year? If not, let them be the catalyst to hold a garage sale when the weather gets nice enough. Sales like this are a perfect way to turn your clutter into cash - you may be surprised!


If selling the gift online or throwing a yard sale is too much for you, try Freecycle. Post an item, and then an interested member in your city will pick it up for free. (You can also list items on Craigslist for free, too.) This way, you can be assured that your gift will find an appreciative home.

Host a Post-Holiday White Elephant Party.

There are plenty of parties before the holidays - how about hosting a mid-winter gathering? Bust those February blues with some friends and laughter. Most likely, your guests may have received holiday gift items to unload as well.

Re-gift It.

Do you think re-gifting is tacky? For years, the thought was taboo. Now, the idea is gaining social acceptance. American Express found that 79% of people surveyed (See Wall Street Journal Infographic) think that re-gifting is acceptable around the holidays. You can even visit the website for some tips on re-gifting - the site has been around since 2006! A word of caution, however. Only re-gift an item if you actually think the next recipient will appreciate it. Don’t do it just to offload something you don’t want to another friend.

Do you have other suggestions for dealing with unwanted gifts? Let us hear about them!

#holiday #orgnzrheather #napo #organizer

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