5 Tricks to Dealing with Unwanted Wedding Gifts

An aerial view of a gift-wrapped package surrounded by white flowers.

When I got married, I didn’t want any gifts. My husband and I had already been living together for four years, and we already had all the accoutrements a couple might need to start their married life. I didn’t want people buying us things we didn’t need, and I definitely didn’t want to spend time putting together a gift registry (I absolutely LOATHE shopping).

Admittedly, I solved this problem in a weird way (I had a surprise wedding, so none of my guests knew to bring gifts at all!) While not everyone can surprise guests with their nuptials, many couples receive gifts from their guests that are, well, let’s just say “not what they wanted.”

What do you do with gifts you’d rather not receive? Here are a few ideas.

1. Return It

If your loved one bought you something that’s a little odd, check to see if they included a gift receipt. Many guests provide receipts in case a couple wants to swap out their gift for something in another color, or to replace an item if it doesn’t work properly (especially kitchen appliances). With that receipt, you can return the unwanted item for something that’s more your style.

Don’t have the receipt? If you know where the gift was purchased, you may still have a chance. Call up the store and find out what the return policy is. If your gift is unused and still in the box, you may be able to do an exchange or get store credit.

2. Regift It

A young woman giving her friend a gift.

Have you ever gotten a gift and thought, “Well, this isn’t for me, but I know someone who’d LOVE IT!” This is your time to “regift”—in other words, pass on your gift to someone who will appreciate it more.

Of course, regifting isn’t always an easy task. It can result in a lot of hurt feelings if done carelessly! Only regift sparingly when you know the gift will be perfect for the other person, and never regift within the same circle of friends. If you follow these rules, you’ll be able to keep unwanted gifts out of your home and make someone else happy in the process.

3. Sell It

As the old saying goes, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” The same goes for unwanted wedding gifts! You may not want a set of fine china with a dainty floral print, but someone out there certainly does. Why not make them happy (and make a few bucks) by selling them the set?

Selling wedding gifts may seem like poor etiquette, but it’s actually very common. In fact, a 2013 survey of married couples found that 82% of them put a few gifts up for sale! Go ahead and list those unwanted gifts on eBay or the Buy Nothing Project, and use the cash you receive to get something you really need.

4. Donate It

Boxes around household items.

You’ve received a gift that you don’t really want. Unfortunately, you can’t return it, and it isn’t getting much attention on any online marketplaces. You don’t know anyone who could use it, either…so it looks like you’re stuck with it, right? Not quite. You could always donate the gift to a charitable organization.

This option is a quick and easy way to get the item out of your hair—though admittedly, it doesn’t have the promise of cash that our two previous options offered. But if you really want to be rid of an unwanted gift, donation will get the job done.

5. Store It

A woman stacking storage boxes on a shelf.

When all other options fail, there’s always the old standby: store the gift somewhere. In a closet, a garage, the attic—anywhere that keeps it out of the way. This method accomplishes your primary goal (getting the unwanted gift out of your hair) while also saving it for any potential future use. This is a great idea for things like small kitchen appliances. After all, you never know when your current blender will break!

With these tips, you’ll be able to find a place for every wedding gift you receive—even if that place is in someone else’s home!

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