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Unwanted Gifts: 3 Simple Steps to Deal

Unwanted gifts are a cause of stress in many homes. If you need help letting go, keep reading for essential mindset shifts and practical suggestions to do so.

As we creep further into January, a question lingers on your mind.  What should you do with those unwanted gifts?  

Sadly, unwanted gifts are a common challenge in North American households.  In a sobering survey, 61% of Americans admitted they got at least one unwanted gift over the holidays.  Finder.com reports a staggering $15.2 billion dollars is spent on unwanted gifts each year in America alone.

Unwanted gifts come in many forms.  

fondue pot you’ll stash in a guest room closet.  A set of strawberry scented body washes that smell like a scratch and sniff sticker from grade school.  Or the classic seasonal gifts that arrive 5-6 times a year: holiday-themed tea towels that clash with your everyday aesthetic.

Why not just hide them away?

Karen Kingston, author of Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, addresses the energy of unwanted gifts in your home:

“Some people keep unwanted gifts out of loyalty to the person who gave it to them, to which I say, if it’s a genuine friendship, then keeping the gift can get in the way of it. Every time you look at the object or think about it, you remember your disappointment and your energy drops. As the old saying goes, it truly is the thought that counts. It’s far better to accept the love that was given with the gift and let the physical item go.”

If you received gifts that didn’t spark joy this holiday season, follow the tips below:

infographic with 3 steps to deal with unwanted gifts

Always Protect Your Home's Energy

Unwanted gifts are tough to deal with because of the emotions tied to them.  However, you’ll find with practice the more you release them, the better you’ll feel.

Clear Clutter in an hour or less!
This guide shows you the exact 4-step process I use with my organizing clients. If you try to clear clutter but end up working in circles and feeling frustrated, try The Clear Your Life Method instead.
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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Kitty

    Ooh, spot on! I get gifts before and out of guilt, they never leave their “hiding places”. Yes, not that I am not grateful to the giver; it is just that I do not like them (not my style) or I cannot use them. Thank you for the short yet very practical advice!

    1. Jen

      Hey! Thanks for reading and the comment. And you’re so right, it’s complicated – you can be grateful to the giver and still not need those gifts in your life 😉

  2. Sheila

    20 years ago I started a bingo fundraiser for my daughters’s swim team . I hosted it at the start of FEBRUARY and challenged everyone, kids included to donate presents they received as prizes. It was a big hit with a lot of people. The swim team kept it going after we left , COVID created some problems , so now it’s an online silent auction.

    With 4 kids , 6 years from oldest to youngest, I realized when they were young that I did not want all the packaging and things that came from our extended families. So instead of gifts at Christmas I asked if family would give gift cards to the movies instead, my husband’s family didn’t really like the idea but I held fast. Going to a movie as a family of 6 was very expensive… I with the gift cards we could enjoy an experience together and not have to deal with unwanted stuff. This extended into birthdays, my sister took my eldest horse back riding, a friend took another camping, my son got to go to hockey games….museums, concerts, play parks…my kids remember those occasions not the remote control car that broke or the doll that sat in the corner. Giving the gift of time is so precious.

    1. Jen

      Sheila, the fundraiser idea is amazing. Glad it was such a hit! Thank you for reading and sharing your experiences 🙂

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