Unwanted Gifts

I have found that unwanted gifts is a really controversial topic. People feel icky about it, like talking about money but why?

When working with clients, decluttering their homes or talking to people on social media about letting go of their things, one of the biggest stumbling blocks is letting go of something someone else gave to them. They may not use it any more, it may be out of date or no longer fit or they may have never liked it in the first place but it stays in their home for the sole reason that it was gifted to them by someone else.

However, let’s take a moment to step back and really look at the definition of a gift.

Using this definition, if someone has passed on the item to you with nothing expected in return other than the satisfaction of knowing they have shown you they are thinking of you on a particular occasion or to say thank you etc, once said item has been received by you, their goal of the gift has been achieved. You feel great knowing that person wanted to show their affection and they have been able to celebrate you in the form of a gift.

That gift is now yours to do what you wish with and is your property. Of course, as I am sure we all do, we all give gifts that we think the other person would love BUT nevertheless that doesn’t always happen or a gift that once was loved no longer is e.g. a child growing out of a toy or item of clothing. 

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

So, if, everytime you look at that item it only gives you negative feelings, whether that is in general as adding to the clutter that is causing you stress, or just that you feel guilt for not using a gift or it is that you simply do not like the item to look at, why would you want that in your home. Your home should be filled with wonderful items that serve a purpose to you. A safe haven away from those negative emotions and things that cause you stress (no unfortunately that does not mean you can get rid of your kids or partner!)

The other thing to think of here is what would you want someone else to do if you gave them a gift and the only reason why 5 years later it is still in their home is because you gave it to them, despite the fact it is no longer of any use to them? I am sure the answer here would be to part ways as frankly you had forgotten about said gift once it had left your hands.

If you are still reading this thinking that it is rude to let go of gifts, here are some other thoughts that may help you part ways.


Donating any item is always good to do. Not only is it an eco-friendly solution if it can be re-used but it may also raise funds for a charity or be given to someone who would really benefit from it. Just because you no longer have a purpose for it, doesn’t mean no one else will. Plus, you will feel great for doing your bit and essentially you are giving the person who gifted it to you the chance to put their gift to good use and not waste their money which removes some guilt from you.


You do not have to feel guilty about selling on an item, especially if has never been used but did not feel you could tell the person who gifted you the item that it wasn’t appropriate. The gift was intended to make you smile, solve a problem and make you happy to celebrate you. By selling on the item, you can use the funds raised to buy something that does make you happy, that you like etc and in a round about way helping that gift fulfil its purpose instead of collecting dust and being a complete waste of someones money.


Now here is the controversial bit as people may be getting on board with removing the item from their home but giving to someone else as a gift?!? What!! Hear me out here. The purpose of a gift has been established earlier on, there is no need to repeat again here. At which point did that definition say that you had to go to a shop and part ways with physical cash to be able to qualify it as a gift? It didn’t did it. 

If the item is used, the gift may not be for any particular occasion other than you knew that the recipient would love the item and so when they came to mind you wanted to give it to them to have. They will appreciate that you thought of them and now they have something that they love. A perfect definition of a gift.

If the item is brand new and hasn’t been opened, you know the recipient will absolutely love the item, why not use it as a gift for an occasion? If it is something you would buy for that person anyway you have just saved yourself some pennies. That money saved can then be spent on something you will enjoy. Therefore, the recipient of your gift gets something they love and knows that you wanted to celebrate them and the person who gave you the gift fulfilled their purpose by showing you that they were thinking of you and you got to enjoy something you wouldn’t have otherwise spent the money on.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Food for thought anyway.

I would love to know your thoughts on unwanted gifts and if this is an obstacle you also face? The best way to get in touch and start the conversation is over on Instagram @theorganisedco._

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