Now that Christmas is over, you are probably trying to figure out what to do with the unusable or unwanted gifts you received. The holidays can be a time of unnecessary excess, and when you want to live a zero-waste lifestyle, it can be difficult to know what to do with wasteful items. Without hurting the giver’s feelings, you need to find ways of putting the gifts to good use in another way. Here are a few common tips that may help to address the dilemma.


Receiving something you’ll never use means you will have to store it or pass it on somewhere it can be put to use. For example, if you get a collector’s item that you already have as part of a set, or if you have recently sold your collection, you may want to donate the gift item to a children’s social services program or a school where the new piece will help to complete the set. Another way to reuse an unwanted gift is to exchange it for a similar item. For example, if you received gift cards to stores you never shop at, you can sell gift cards online for cash or exchange them for credit or cards you will use.


Some gifts that have no appeal for you might be the perfect item you’ve been looking for to give someone as a birthday gift. A specialty scarf or a certain perfume could be regifted to another person, which will save you the cost of buying a present for that occasion. You may have the opportunity to participate in a gift exchange where the giver will not be present, and thus give the unwanted item in exchange for something else that you might like or need more.


You may receive a few gifts that offer little to no value. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to sell them or exchange them for something else you would like instead. You might just have to donate it to the thrift store for a donor’s receipt. Recycling items that you don’t want or cannot use will benefit others, and you can get at least a minor tax deduction when you file income tax returns.


Gifts that come with price tags or return receipts will let you return them to the store for a direct product exchange or a cash refund. Look for the receipt with the gift, take the item to the store to see what they will give you in return without a receipt. In some cases, anything is better than being stuck with a gift you will never use.

No gift is completely a loss if you can use one of the above options to turn your dud into something of value. Use these creative ways to turn grit into gold and avoid excess clutter and waste in your life. This is also a good time of year to get rid of old items that your new gifts can replace.