The not quite right · Turning trash into treasure

Turning trash into treasure (or what to do with unwanted gifts)

I don’t really think any gift is truly trash (but I do love a good attention-grabbing headline) and I don’t think there are truly any unwanted gifts. They might be gifts you already have (perhaps that book you wanted that you told too many people about?), that gift you have enough of already (there might be only so many bottles of bubble bath you can fit on your shelf), that gift that didn’t quite fit, or the gift that just isn’t quite to your taste (I’m thinking secret santa gifts maybe a culprit here?!).

For the unwanted gifts that don’t quite fit or you already have

But there is always something you can do with these not quite right presents and unwanted gifts. Obviously (for the most part) if it is something that doesn’t fit quite right, or that you already have, then see if you can exchange it yourself either with or without a receipt.

We’ve all gotten a lot smarter with shopping (as have the retailers) and gift receipts can be included in the present if you are the gift-giver or can be asked for if not. Some shops – according to consumer expert Which – will offer a credit note for an item without a receipt but its not a given (this all applies to the UK so if anyone has tips for other countries pop them in the comments please), if you know the person you got the gift from well enough they will want you to have a present that fits or you don’t already have.

For the unwanted gifts that you have enough of already or just aren’t to your taste

If it is something homemade then your options maybe limited (unless you want to pass off something someone else has made as your own?!) but there are always ideas. Homemade unwanted food gifts could be brought into work to be shared, or given to someone you know that will appreciate that homemade Irish cream (that would be me) or those homemade chocolate truffles (again I can appreciate those too), or regifted through a food sharing app such as OLIO.

There is always the option to sell an unwanted present through eBay or Shpock or even Facebook and make a bit of money. Perhaps the only pitfall is if the person who gave you the gift follows your items on any of those sites!

Then there is the feel good factor of donating an unwanted gift to charity. Barnardo’s are doing a ‘not so you’ gift exchange and offering a £10 voucher for Evans in return for good quality unwanted gifts (donate by 28th February). But all charities need regular donation of things that will be trash to you but treasure to someone else (that extra book or the scarf that isn’t your colour perhaps?) so if you can afford to, why not send a few of those unwanted presents their way instead?

Personally, I like hanging onto those unwanted gifts that I have enough of or aren’t to my taste (not that I have very many) and look at who else might appreciate them. Having a quick Google it seems that there was a time when this was frowned upon and that even now there is a certain ‘protocol’ for regifting. Thriftiness and environmentally-friendliness are two things that I think we are all doing as a nation and I think regifting fits right in with this. It is reducing waste as we aren’t just throwing something in the bin and it is giving something to someone else you know they will enjoy without having to spend a penny. What’s not to love?

As someone who has a gift cupboard there are occasional (but none this year (honest!)) unwanted presents that end up in there and will go to someone else who I know will either love it or treat it in the same way I have. I’m always after ideas for gifts both wanted and unwanted so any other ideas please share in the comments 🙂



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