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  • Cathy Borg

How to Regift. (A Decluttering Guide to Repurposing Gifts!)

Updated: Dec 23, 2022


A man and women. The man has his hand covering his mouth with a mischievous look. As he's handed a gift to the woman.

Regifting has become almost trendy.

It's cool to give thoughtful gifts that don't add more toxic load to the planet.

It's not cool to hold on to a gift that you don't want or need out of guilt.


You don't have to keep a gift to appreciate the gift and the giver.

REFRAME YOUR THINKING ABOUT REGIFTING!

  • Regifting is a responsible alternative to waste. Just because you dislike being wasteful doesn't mean you're a cheapskate. On the contrary, you're more of a savvy eco-warrior.

  • And don't be afraid you might get found out. If your gifts are generic, there's no chance. Just make sure they're unopened, recent, not monogrammed, and appropriate to the recipient.

So, play your cards right and no one's the wiser and everyone is richer.


Think about regifting as a way to clear out your closet and give a welcomed gift without adding more trash to the planet. You'll find it may be a way to surprise friends and family with something meaningful when you use a little forethought and creativity.


Look. We've all been there - you open a gift, smile, say thank you, and then realize that it's something you'll never use. But what to do? You don't want to let these unopened, unwanted gifts languish in your closet taking up valuable real estate?


Regifting makes sense.

You save money, clear space and it's eco-friendly. Remember just because you don't want it, doesn't mean that someone else doesn't. So keep an open mind.


Regift like a pro:

Discover regifting's benefits, etiquette, types of gifts to regift, and creative ways to do it.


What Regifting is

The act of regifting involves passing on an unused, duplicate, or unneeded gift to someone who may be able to use and appreciate it. The point is that it is not being wasted.


hand with brush wiping off "un" from unwanted. leaving wanted written on the blackboard

The Benefits of Regifting

In addition to saving you the price of a gift, regifting can also reduce the time and effort spent on shopping for gifts for others. Regifting also reduces clutter, which is one of its best benefits. It's a thoughtful way to repurpose and recycle items that might otherwise be thrown away. Why let an unwanted gift languish, go bad or yellow with age; pass it along to someone who can benefit from it now.


blackboard. Etiquette written in yellow chalk

Etiquette

What better way to find out about the etiquette of regifting than from the Emily Post website? According to the website https://www.emilypost.com, "gift recycling" should be infrequent and you never regift any used, dated, hand-made, or one-of-a-kind products. Further, when regifting you should avoid hurting people's feelings.


Yes, there are certain rules that should be followed when giving away a gift you have previously received.

  1. Absolutely do avoid hurting a person's feelings. For example, you need to be careful that you don't regift something to the person who originally gave it to you. It could be incredibly awkward and hurtful.

  2. Second, you should always make sure the gift is in good condition, as you wouldn’t want to give away something that is damaged or worse yet, a gift that you've already used.

  3. Never regift hand-made, or one-of-a-kind products.

  4. Make sure the gift isn't engraved, autographed, or has a personal dedication. (An actual instance of regifting involves a newlywed couple. They received several silver ice buckets and regifted one that had their names engraved on it without realizing it!)

  5. It's also important to check that the item hasn't been opened or used in any way. Otherwise, you could be in for an uncomfortable moment when the recipient opens it to discover it is dirty or broken. A good friend once gave me a lovely red leather purse. The only problem was it was used. How did I know it was regifted? There were food crumbs in the purse. It felt like she hadn’t taken the time in choosing this gift. Not a good feeling.

  6. So make sure the gift is pristine and that you rewrap the gift. It will feel new!

  7. Most importantly, make sure to pick a gift that is appropriate for the recipient. OR THIS MIGHT HAPPEN -


big man scowling. Holds up a tiny knit sweater



Best Gifts to Regift


Wine

Place the wine or spirit in an elegant wine bag and regift it right away if you know the recipient will enjoy it. It is ideal to regift a bottle of specialty beer, spirits, or wine only if the seal is still intact.


bottle of wine

Small appliances

Small appliances that are popular for regifting include cordless mixers, mini waffle makers, rice cookers, and gadgets. Make certain that the items are still in their original packaging and are unused.


single waffle maker

Books

If you know this is an author or a subject that the potential recipient enjoys - regift it. (just make sure there is no personal inscription.)

book


Candles

Scented candles make excellent regifts. If you know the recipient likes or wears this fragrance and it's still in its original packaging, consider giving it to them. If you don't know what they prefer, go with unscented.

3 lit yellow candles


Certain Clothing

Regift clothing: If it hasn't been worn; the original tags are still attached; and it's a one-size-fits-all. Hats, scarves, socks, wraps, are fashionable items excellent for regifting. Avoid size-specific items like shoes, pants, and underwear that may be too personal. Choose colors and patterns that are neutral.

light blue knitted scarf

Gift Cards

Gift cards are one of the best types of gifts to regift, especially for stores that the recipient frequents. Gift cards are a wonderful way to show someone you care because you know they'll get something that they want or need.


woman holding up a gift certificate


Unopened Gift Sets

Unopened gift sets of snacks, coffee, tea, or beauty products are a great choice. Not only are these items frequently of high quality, but because the gift will still be in its original packaging, the recipient won't be able to tell that it was previously owned.



git set of body soaps and creams products


Electronics

Electronics that haven't been taken out of their packaging are excellent regifts. A laptop or tablet, headphones, speakers, music players, and gaming systems, are examples.


headphones

Gifts that should not be regifted

It is best to avoid regifting items that have already been opened or used. Personal smells such as perfume and cologne, as well as monogrammed or handcrafted things, should not be regifted.


What is the most regifted gift?

Wine and candles top the list of regifted items. These are generic gifts that still make the recipient feel appreciated.


Creative Ways to Regift

  1. Regift any time. Perhaps you receive a book that you already have or that you'll never read. Instead of letting it gather dust on your shelf, give it to a friend who will appreciate it. There's no rule that says regifting is limited to special occasions. Be spontaneous. If you know your friend would like it; give it to them. You didn't spend money on it and it's thoughtful and fun.

  2. From clothing swaps to baby showers, hold a party where all of the gifts are regifted.

  3. Personalize the gift. Add a personal touch by finding a way to customize the regifted gift to the receiver. For example, if you are regifting a candle, add a personalized label or tag with a special message. if you were given a pair of mittens, add a monogram of the recipient’s initials to make it a truly special present.

  4. Make it a set. Put together multiple items to create a thoughtful gift set. For instance, you can regift a book, add some chocolates, and include a handwritten note.

  5. Wrap it in a different package. Wrapping the gift in a different package can make it seem like a brand-new item.

  6. Wrapping in scarves or fancy tea towels is another way to regift.

woman wrapping present using a scarf
  • A fundraiser. At our church, we have a regifting table that is always an exciting hit! Congregants bring in their unused, unopened items to help us in our fundraising efforts. It's a great way to get rid of something you don't need while raising money for something worthwhile.



Final Words

It's no secret that we live in a world of excess, and our closets and cupboards are often filled with the clutter that comes with too much of anything. As we approach the holidays, it's a good time to reflect on our impact on the environment and the joy that comes with giving.

Whether you're trying to reduce the number of new goods you buy, or you're looking for a new and creative way to give, regifting is a great way to turn clutter into joyful surprises.


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