We’re all trying to reduce unnecessary consumption, so it’s a frustrating fact of life that when it comes to Christmas we still get caught up in gift giving for the sake of it, because we feel we have to. As such, recent statistics from Which? suggest that one in four of us will have received an unwanted or unsuitable gift this Christmas – be it a beauty gift set that will gather dust or a hideous jumper that’s totally the wrong colour for you.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand having surplus stuff hanging around the house (it makes me feel physically uneasy), so we’ve gathered six easy, no-hassle ways to part with your unwanted gifts. And no, you shouldn’t feel guilty at all.
What should I do with my unwanted Christmas gifts?
How to regift properly
The knee-jerk reaction may be to get your unwanted gifts out of your house. I get it – out of sight, out of mind. But take a minute to consider whether your unwanted item may make the perfect gift for someone else (one man’s trash and all that…), and therefore save you money and hassle in the future.
It’s a thrifty and sustainable method of rehoming unsuitable items – you could even start a regifting shelf, drawer or cupboard, a stash you can dip into every time you need a last-minute gift or (dreaded) secret santa present. Just make sure you don’t regift to the original giver.
Where to donate
I’m betting you received at least one ‘bath & body’ gift set you won’t use, right? Don’t chuck it, check out thehygienebank.com and beautybanks.org.uk, two brilliant organisations that accept donations of unused toiletries, skincare and make-up and ensure that they get to those in the community who need them most, and operate in the same way as food banks. Both organisations have drop-off points all over the country where you can easily post your donations – just head to their websites to find out more.
While you’re at it, why not put out a call to your friends to see if they have anything to donate as well? If it’s clothing or accessories you’re looking to donate, you can either head to your local charity shop or clothes bank or do some research into local women’s refuges that may be in need.
How to do a clothes swap
Consider organising a ‘swap shop’ with your friends where you can peruse each other’s unwanted gifts and switch your item for something you want. Turn it into an event; wine, nibbles, music. It’s a great way to rehome your gift while also scratching the itch for something new.
How to re-sell
There are so many options when it comes to reselling now – Depop, Vinted, Vestiaire, eBay, Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace are just a few of the most popular. Listing items is foolproof and can be done via your phone.
For clothing and accessories, we’d recommend Vinted and Depop in particular. As a general rule of thumb, the more effort you put into your listing, the more appealing your item will be and therefore the quicker it will sell, so it’s worth making sure your photos and descriptions are well thought out. Make sure to consider postage and packaging costs and time frames, and research beforehand to check you’re setting the right price.
You can even list your item on multiple platforms at one time to increase your chances of a sale – but if you’re going to do this ensure you keep a close eye on all of them so you don’t accidentally sell something twice and end up with a disappointed buyer.
If you’re looking for something a little more hassle-free, try Thrift+. They send you a bag, you post back your unwanted item or items, they photograph, list and sell on your behalf (taking a fee) then you can choose to either donate the profits to a chosen charity, receive it all in Thrift+ store credit or split it 50/50. Simple, and a nice middle-ground between selling and donating.
Give it away
Sometimes donating an item to a charity shop can seem a little short sighted – it may be out of your hands but who knows how long it will linger on their shelves for? That’s where platforms like Olio and Freecycle come in, enabling you to give your item away for free to someone who specifically wants or needs it. Simply post the details on your chosen platform and wait for a response.
If you’ve received clothing or accessories that you don’t want, you may be able to return them to the store they were bought from. It’s worth noting that no store is legally obliged to accept a return unless an item is faulty.
However, many stores have their own, far more generous, returns policies. If you received a gift receipt alongside your gift, there’s a very good chance you’ll be able to exchange it for something you want, a credit note or in some cases a monetary refund. If you didn’t receive a gift receipt, it’s worth taking the item to the store and finding out what their policy is – some will still allow you to exchange it or issue you with a credit note instead.
Either that, or you could ask the gift giver for the receipt – but let’s be honest, no one wants to have that conversation…