A Few Things You Can Do With Unneeded Presents

The first challenge is saying thank you for something you can’t use, but here’s some ideas about what to do next

unwanted gift
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After a surplus of well-intentioned gifts from coworkers, family and friends, it’s good to have a plan for what to do with the extra, unwanted goodies. There’s the tried and true practice of re-gifting (with its attendant need to keep track of who gave what and avoid confronting the giver with their original present). But if keeping gifts around until a re-gifting opportunity pops up sounds like a headache—or if you live in a small enough space that you legitimately don't have room for stuff you don't need or want, Tiny House Blog has other suggestions for how to winnow down your holiday haul . Here are a few:

  • Return and exchange for something more suitable. "Most people are not offended if they know you will wear/use the gift and truly like it."
  • A barter or White Elephant exchange set up at New Year’s Eve gatherings can offer a quick turnaround option. (If you’re not familiar with the rules of such exchanges, Tiny House Blog has a simple explanation.)
  • Sell them online. "Use a new or alias screen name just in case someone sees your ad and recognizes the gift." Grandparents.com writes that BuyMyTronics and Gazelle will give you a quote for electronics and take them off your hands right away. Money Crashers has a list of 36 bartering and swapping websites so you can get something you might need.
  • If you have a gift card you won’t appreciate, there are also a bunch of websites that will let you sell or trade them.

Finally, you could give the gifts to charity. Tiny House Blog recommends that you "Call local charities to see if they’re willing to accept the type of item you’re thinking about donating. Charity Navigator is America’s Largest Charity Evaluator and is a great resource for finding organizations in your own backyard."

If gifts are frequently mismatched to your tastes and needs, maybe consider encouraging alternative gift giving ideas like charity donations. Or ask that your family and friends give you an experience or their time (say, a trip to a museum or a game). Yes, it can be hard to change the habits of that one person who always thinks they’ve found the perfect thing, but it can’t hurt to ask.

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