Repurpose, Recycle & Make Money from Unwanted Gifts

   By SheSpeaksTeam  Jan 15, 2013

Now that the holiday decorations have been stored away it's a good time to turn attention to the gifts you received that, though well-intentioned, have little chance of being used - and to think about how all those R's (Regift, Recycle, Reuse, Resell, Repurpose) may help you save some money.

Regifting is giving a gift that you received - as a gift to someone else.  If you are thinking of dipping a toe in these waters, says more than half of adults recently surveyed by Money Management International find regifting acceptable.  Even the social etiquette experts at the Emily Post Institute approve of the practice in some instances.

As you organize items that may be happier with a different owner, make sure that there are no monograms, expiration dates, receipts, gift cards or other forms of personalization attached, and that the item is in new condition. Create a list of anyone you think is a good match (and be sure to note who gave you the gift to avoid a future boomerang) and store the items in a box you can easily find in case you need a last-minute gift in a hurry. And if none get used, at least you’ll be ready to celebrate in style when National Regifting Day rolls around next December 18th!

Recycling is not just breaking down the packaging around a gift, but revolves around the concept of Green Gifting for a lower environmental (and budgetary) impact because many of us have, well, too much stuff! If you find yourself invited to a Green Gifting event, you can add to the fun by using recycled wrapping paper, ribbons and gift bags, or substituting newspaper for giftwrap (the concept is more about useful consumerism and resourcefulness than non-purchasing).  

And then there is Reselling, which can be a welcome source of extra cash. Some websites that have caught our attention are, an online site that pays a portion upfront for accepted new and like-new quality clothing that your kids have outgrown, and, which can help turn unwanted gift cards into cash!

Did you receive gifts you don't know what to do with this holiday season? What do you usually do with unwanted gifts? Do you donate them, or let them pile-up? Have you ever tried selling through a site like or purchasing through a site like


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boundlesslives by boundlesslives | S OZONE PARK, NY
Jan 28, 2013

I buy a lot of things on clearance after the season is over, I was able to use those things as gifts for the holidays, It really helped me save money. Some of the things I got in August and just stored them neatly until I was ready. I was even able to gift a friends baby a swimsuit for their trip to the Dominican Republic. He absolutely loved it! He has no idea I paid a third of its original price!

cardreader by cardreader | Dudley, MA
Jan 22, 2013

I either return to a store selling the product taking a lesser value gift card. I also donate to the recycle /take shed at the town dump. This year is different two gifts were received as an attempt to hurt. Not sure how to handle this situation.. The offenders were siblings. It was ment to hurt.

grammamonsey by grammamonsey | TOPEKA, KS
Jan 18, 2013

What a great idea although i personally wouldn't return my gifts as I hardly receive gifts anyway.

msfriendly by msfriendly | MONROE, WI
Jan 17, 2013

I don't think I would resell my gifts. But, I don't like clutter in my life and if I'm not truly going to use a gift, I will just give it to a friend if they would like it. I like to do this knowing someone else is truly going to enjoy something I can't use.

cowgirlpeg by cowgirlpeg | MIDLAND, TX
Jan 16, 2013

Hmm...I never thought about selling my gifts. I have a "regift" party Christmas night. I invite friends who don't have small kiddos or family nearby. We play an exchange game.

ddavidso by ddavidso | elkton, MD
Jan 16, 2013

I have a brunch on New years Day each year called the "Bad Santa Party". Everyone who attends brings a wrapped gift that just did no suit them. It gets put under our tree. We pick numbers from a hat to see the order of gift selection. You either select a wrapped gift or "steal" a gift that has been opened and give that person your number to pick. A gift can only be "stolen" 2 xs otherwise it takes forever. It is very fun and many times people actuallly like the gift they get from it.

AskSugarJones by AskSugarJones | CARLSBAD, CA
Jan 16, 2013

Another great resource is You can post boxes of curated items that you don't need or want and find other great boxes to purchase.

heavenly41 by heavenly41 | PORTLAND, OR
Jan 16, 2013

I buy stuff on clearance after holidays to make amazing gifts throughout the year.. Ex. a white easter basket / green & white gingam trimmed w/ eyelet material (very cute) I had I just used for holding organic baby products, bottles, etc. for my daughter who is expecting he first cild, my grandson:). I like to "re-gift" in that way. I will also buy from ths fantasic 2nd hand store near me (I get a lot of clothes & shoes with tags still on: Nike, Doc Martens, etc). When I get tired of the items I will sell in a garage sale and can actually make back what I put into it if it's still in good condition. I also have given very nice clothes from here as gifts. Nothing wrong with a little re-use. People need to remember also, what is one man's "garbage" is another man's "treasure".

PattyC28 by PattyC28 | LA FAYETTE, GA
Jan 16, 2013

I'm committed to decluttering my life and my surroundings and organizing the things I feel I MUST have as well. We all have received a gift that was either hideous or served no useful purpose. To Regift that item to someone as a sincere gift is the reason Regifting has gotten such a bad rap. If you don't like the item and question whether anyone you know would like it, donate it instead of wrapping it up and presenting it to someone. Lately, there have been many resources for finding ways to remake clothing items into new, useful products. Instead of tossing those holey and stained garments, I'm using them in quilts, blankets, scarves, hats and mittens, etc. There is little wasted fabric even when cutting out around stains and holes. In addition, anything with buttons is a BONUS since I can add those to my collection. I rarely resell anything I was given, but I'm not above bartering with friends and coworkers.

RoyalT by RoyalT | NEW YORK, NY
Jan 15, 2013

Thredup is such a brilliant idea. I have so many great clothes from my kids, I usually try to pass to friends and neighbours but sometimes size and season just don't work. Thredup is a great option for those old clothes to find a new home.