Millions of people will return a Christmas gift this week. Friends will return those earrings that just weren’t their style, and teens everywhere will take back the clothes they didn’t like. But what of those gifts you don’t want, but have no idea what store they came from? What to do with that gift card from a store where you never shop? Don’t let those gifts rot in the back of your closet or junk drawer. Of course you can always donate them, but maybe you could really use a gift, you just don’t want the one you received. There are ways to ensure those unwanted gifts don’t go to waste.
Let’s start with those gift cards. There are many problems with giving gift cards as presents, but the most obvious is that people lose them. Gift cards have somehow become the gift de jour for your nieces, nephews and grandkids in their 20’s because you don’t know them well enough to pick out something they’d actually enjoy. Fine. But did you know that 40% of millennials say they have lost a gift card. Yup. So that hard earned money you spent so that your granddaughter could pick out her own sweatshirt was basically flushed down the toilet. And if you are the recipient of a gift card you will never use, there are options. You can turn those gift cards into cash or swap it for a different gift card that you will use. There are plenty of gift card exchange websites that will either give you money for the unwanted gift card, or let you spend the value to trade them for a card you actually want.
Okay, now what about that sweater that you would actually wear if it wasn’t in an avocado green that makes your skin look sallow? There’s a redhead out there somewhere who would love it. You could take it to a nearby consignment store, but even easier are the online services that do it for you. Consider using a mail-in reseller. Websites like ThredUp and others will give you a bag and mailing label. You ship the clothes - and sometimes accessories too - in the bag and send it off. More often than not, the website puts in all the descriptions and photos for you, so you don’t have to do a thing. When your clothing sells, the website sticks the cash in your account. Done.
Finally, maybe you got a gift that you really, really wanted, like a new laptop or tablet. Yay for you, but that can also cause problems like creating a drawer full of leftover gadgets. Many aren’t sure what to do with their old electronics. It’s great if you have someone who will be excited to get your old phone, but does anyone really want that first generation tablet? There may be a way to get some cash out of your old electronics. Don’t try to get any money for your kid’s iPhone 4, though, I tried. That phone is so outdated you’ll have to just turn it into a surveillance camera. But for nearly any other gadget, there are websites that will buy it from you. Gazelle and others make it super easy. Put in a few details about your old electronics, and the website gives you a cash offer. If you agree to it, the company sends everything you need to ship it to them and pays for the shipping costs.
A sad reality of Christmas is that nearly everyone receives a gift or two that they don’t want and will never use. But the web has made it easy for us to get money for those unwanted gifts. And the gift giver never has to know. Your secret is safe with me.