unwanted gifts presents items clothing

Day: 4 Unwanted items or presents

Your trash my treasure 

The holiday season is a beautiful time for giving and receiving. Within the more commercial, obligatory side of gifting presents for the sake of it, present giving can also add to quite a lot of plastic waste. 

Over half of all adults receive a present each festive season that they don’t intend to keep. New research from St James’s Place has found that 18% of children’s Christmas presents will go unused, be exchanged or worse – get thrown away. Let’s normalise regifting unwanted items or presents, receiving second-hand presents, and gifting presents from charity shops.

If you have received a present that you do not want or need, pass it on. If it is socially acceptable, you may want to politely let the person know that you don’t need the present, giving them a chance to return it. 

Here are six ways to handle unwanted items or presents:

  1. Donate to your local charity/thrift shop
  2. If it is clothes, you can take it to a clothing bank deposit
  3. Re-wrap the gift and give it to a friend, family or colleague
  4. Take it to a car boot sale 
  5. Place it on eBay, Facebook market place, gumtree or, if clothes, Depop or any other online market place and see what happens
  6. Put the item on your doorstep for one day and night with a “free” sign, to see if it goes and if not bring it inside the next morning

My parents showed me from a young age that if we don’t want something that someone else might find useful, we can put it on the doorstep. I couldn’t believe some of the stuff they would leave out, thinking a random item is surely not useful to someone else. But much to my surprise 9 times out of 10 by the next day the doorstep item was gone.

In my lifetime, I have found so many great items from the street. I’ve taken them home, cleaned and brushed them up, giving them a new bit of life. For example, a shelf and shoe rack, which was really useful as I’d just moved to a new city.

Regifting is a great way to share the love and kindness a present was given to you. Just note who gave it to you and avoid passing it back to the person who gave it to you!

What do you do with your unwanted gifts? Let me know in the comment section below.

Take me to Day one, two, or three of the 31-Day plastic free challenge.

Mia Hadrill

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