If you are like most people, you’re holding onto a lot of stuff that you have absolutely no use for. And between holidays, birthdays, and other miscellaneous special occasions, you’ll likely never run out of stuff you don’t want or need.
But that doesn’t mean all these unwanted gifts have to accumulate dust in a corner of your home. Here are a few ways to divest yourself of that train set your aunt got you four birthdays ago, and other things you have no desire to keep.
Maybe your friends and co-workers are dealing with the same issue of clutter. Or perhaps you have a received a collection of items so arcane you don’t know who could possibly find any use for them.
Well known internet marketplaces like Ebay and Craigslist allow users to post any item for a cash sale. However, there are also swap sites like U-Exchange that can help you turn something you don’t need into an item with more personal value to you. There are also swap websites specifically for books, dvds, games, and other media that can help you and a friendly online stranger refresh both of your entertainment libraries.
Gift Card Exchange
The go-to gift for people who are a hard read are gift cards, butt they can amass into a neat little pile of hypothetical cash. Those tied-up funds can be just as frustrating and burdensome as any other gift if you don’t need anything from the specific vendor.
Luckily, there are sites like Cardpool, Card Hub, and Monster Gift Card that serve as gift card exchanges where you can liquidate those unwanted plastic funds or trade them for more useful ones. Each site has its own terms though, so keep an eye out for website transaction fees and diminishing returns on the amount the gift card is worth if you opt for cash.
A pretty straightforward solution, but one that should be used with discretion. If you received a food scale as a housewarming gift, and your friend has expressed an interest in being more mindful of what she eats, why not try and make a match? It will show your friend you’ve been paying attention.
However, regifting should not be used as an opportunity to foist your clutter onto friends and neighbors. We are trying to make these items useful, not burden someone else with them. So, pay attention to what the people in your life might need and how you could accommodate them. Even if you can’t provide anything you want to consolidate, they will appreciate your enhanced alacrity.
Can the item or part of the item be repurposed into something else? Check out sites like Pinterest that help you repurpose your unwanted items into something else. Make an unwanted wine rack into a cupboard organizer for water bottles. Or repurpose a t-shirt or sweater into a pot holder or floor mat. Finding other ways to use items that don’t seem to be of much use is a great way to better appreciate the gifts you go this year.
If you are looking to be more civically minded with your unwanted gifts, or if you’ve got a load of items that are still in good condition, donation is the most altruistic way to go. The Salvation Army and Goodwill are popular outlets for donating clothes.
And if you do decide to donate, don’t forget that tax deductions can potentially turn your charity into savings down the road. Most donation organizations will offer receipts for the items you donate based on the fair market value of the goods. Take a look at the IRS and Charity Navigator’s donation pages for more in depth resources on the guidelines for deducting your giving.