Unwanted Gifts: 18 Ways to Cure the Unwanted Gift Blues

gift by mysza831

Photo by permission of Kasia

Updated on 12/17/2012.

It’s bright and shiny and often carries an equally bright ribbon.  You open the box and you start to sweat when you look into the box.  It can only be described as (shuddering…) the UNWANTED Gift.   Maybe it is two sizes too big. Perhaps it looks like it has been sitting in someone’s closet just waiting to be given to another person.  (Yes, you are in the presence of a “re-gifter.”  You know who you are.)  Maybe, it is something you simply do not like.

Didn’t you hear growing up, “it is the gift that counts?” Well, until you get the Aunt Millie special, that saying takes on a new meaning. Here are 18 ways to leave your Unwanted Gift (If you want to sing Paul Simon’s song, “Fifty Ways to leave your Lover,” then just go right ahead as you read this list. I don’t care if you can carry a tune.)

  • Swap those unwanted DVDs, books, or CDs, Reid!  Check out Swap, (formerly known as Swaptree)  the multi-media swapping site. See my other  article for other book, CD, and DVD swapping sites.
  • Swap everything even the garden hose, Rose.   Super swap at SwopLot. Not into the impersonalized idea of online swapping? Get close and personal at your local SwopMeet.
  • Got unwanted game, Lane? Swap it at Goozex.
  • Barter harder, George at Barter Place . Offer to barter or sell your unwanted lovelies.
  • Do the Swapace, Mace. There are over 80,000 items ready for you to swap listed on the site. Who loves you?
  • Don’t like that shade of make-up or mascara, Sarah? Swap it and other skincare products at Makeup Alley. While you are there, join their forum and converse with beauty product lovers. There is even a green thread for us eco lovers.
  • Have a yard sale, Gail! At your next yard sale, create a table of all your unwanted gifts. Let each person who spends over $25 get to choose a gift of their choice. One caveat. Make sure the gift givers do not come to your yard sale! (Thanks to Woman’s Day for this tip.)
  • Leave the gift, Biff! Put the gift near your mailbox or house with a note to say “free” or “take it if you want it.” It will be gone by the day’s end. (Another Woman’s Day tip!)
  • Give it away, Ray on Freecycle. Another free service where one person’s trash, is another person’s treasure!
  • Clothes item too big or too small, Paul? Did not like the sweater or shirt you received? Swap it at Swapstyle. (For Green Talk UK readers,check out more swap shops here.)
  • Donate it to a charity, Harriet! Consider giving the gift to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. For more information on other charities that accept donations, check here.
  • Give some heart, Bart. Give the gift to someone who you know will like it. You can offer it to your friends, co-workers, neighbors, or cleaning women. Just explain that you are offering the gift because you thought they might like it.
  • Don’t get antsy, Nancy. Simply exchange it. I always obtain a gift receipt when I purchase something for someone else. There are plenty of picky people like me in the world.
  • Remake it, Jake. Practice the 3 Rs, Repurpose, Reuse, and Re-do. Make something else out of the gift, shorten it, or use it for something other than what was intended.
  • Not sure if re-gifting is okay, Renee? According to Louise Fox, director of Protocol Solutions and The Etiquette Ladies, there is a proper way to re-gift.   Although she says this practice is still unacceptable,  upon rare occasions  you can re-gift when certain criteria are met. Follow the rules, gentlemen and ladies.

What ideas do you have to rid your closet of unwanted gifts?

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  1. 1


    Hi, we’d like to invite you to check out Europe’s biggest clothes swapping website called Bigwardrobe.com – the home to tonnes (literally!) of very stylish unwanted Christmas presents – including gorgeous clothes, sexy shoes and must-have bags!

  2. 2

    lunia says

    On http://www.barterquest.com you can not only swap dvds, books, games and cds but anything you can imagine! clothes, electronics, even services!

    I am already registered on BarterQuest, it’s great!
    Currently, they have a promotion running:

    “Until January 15, 2009, we want to see who can send us the best offer for a Prada Leather Handbag, a Nintendo Wii, or an iPod Touch. If you offer us something good, you might be trading it in for one of these items! All you need to do is register on BarterQuest, post the item (or items) you want to barter, make us an offer we can’t refuse before January 15, and on January 21st we’ll choose the best offer for each of these items. It’s that simple, and it’s free!”


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