Unwanted Gifts? Try These 4 Discreet Options

by Jessica Sommerfield · 1 comment

Are you familiar with this after-holiday scenario? Gifts are cluttering up your home, many of which you won’t use, don’t need, or simply have duplicates of. This is something we’ve all experienced! But what do you do when you’re facing a pile of unwanted gifts?

The easiest way of dealing with unwanted items, while remaining discreet, is to return them to the retailer they came from. But not all company policies support gift returns without a receipt, and many gift-givers neglect to include them.

So what can you do with unwanted gifts? Other than chalking these gifts up as a loss on both ends, here are a few suggestions you might consider.

1. Be direct and ask for a receipt.

I feel uncomfortable admitting a gift was a flop, particularly if I know the person meant well or put a lot of thought and effort into it. After all, it’s really the thought that counts, right?

But that still leaves me with an item I’m not going to use. The most direct and humbling way to deal with this is to ask the gifter for a receipt, or at least the place of purchase so you can return it.

As long as you’re polite, and sensitive of others’ feelings, being honest is always the best approach. People generally understand that not every gift is a perfect fit, and genuinely want you to be able to enjoy something you’ll like and use.

If you’re not comfortable with the direct approach, you might be able to find out where they purchased it, in a round-about manner so you can make an attempt at returning it. You could also do a quick online search to see what stores carry that particular item.

2. Try returning items without a receipt.

Many store policies directly state they won’t accept returns without a receipt, but with the volume of returns being processed after the holidays, they may practice more leniency.

As always, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Even if you aren’t refunded in cash, you may be able to get store credit good towards purchasing something else.

3. Consider reselling.

eBay, Craigslist, and other online flea markets offer the opportunity to get money out of unwanted items without hurting anyone’s feelings (unless, of course, they find out you sold them).

You’re able to make some extra cash while giving up an item to someone who will actually use it. Additionally, selling an item online can be discreet and less conspicuous than re-gifting.

4. Donate to a cause.

While it makes sense to get a refund, there are still scenarios you won’t be able to feasibly convert an item into cash or store credit. A great perspective is to recognize this as an opportunity to be generous.

Donate the unwanted gift to thrift shops that are non-profit, to a homeless shelter, or to the human development branch of your county or state. Besides the reward of giving, most of these donations are tax-deductible for the value of the item.

What to Do With Unwanted Gifts

Don’t feel like you’re forced to keep unwanted items in your home. The giver almost always wants you to use the item, and is genuinely interested in you getting enjoyment from it.

Use one of these smart, and feel-good options to eliminate gifts from cluttering up your home, while giving it to someone who needs it.

What’s another way to handle unwanted gifts? How do you handle extra clutter in your home?

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  • Kayla @ Everything Finance says:

    Good ideas here! I returned a gift my BFF gave me a few years ago and unfortunately she found out 🙁 I felt super bad, but I knew I just wasn’t going to use what she had given me. I still have the store credit and I haven’t used it yet…

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