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Re-Gifting 101

For Christmas one year, I received a well-intentioned, expensive, but off-the-mark gift of a large serving bowl. I live in a small house so we don’t do much entertaining, and it was too large for any of my possible storage spaces. What could I do with it? 

Just as I was about to donate it, a dear friend mentioned she was attending the wedding of a relative she wasn’t close to, and she was trying to decide what to bring as a gift. Suddenly, both of our problems were solved.

We have all heard—and probably experienced firsthand—horror stories of re-gifting gone horribly wrong. When done with care, however, it can work out well for everyone.

If you feel any guilt about it, let etiquette expert, Miss Manners, put your mind to rest. In her book, Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior, she wrote that returning, donating to charity, and re-gifting are not rude “if the rule is strictly observed about protecting the donor from knowing. This requires fresh wrappings and logs of who gave what, and a ban on yard sales and re-gifting anywhere near the donor.”

Here are a few guidelines to help you save face: 

  • Only re-gift an item once.  If you suspect an item is already a re-gift, you can’t take the risk of re-gifting it again.
  • Don’t give outdated items. If you’re going to re-gift things like electronics and clothing, do it while the electronics are still current models and the clothing is still in style.
  • Match the gift to the recipient just as carefully as you would if you were buying something new.
  • Remove all previous gift-wrap.
  • Wipe the gift down to remove any dust from storage.
  • Never re-gift anything other than brand new.
  • Only keep items to be re-gifted for 12 calendar months.  Longer than that and the carrying cost is greater than the price of the gift.

If all of the Do’s and Don’ts of re-gifting is just too much to bear, you are probably better off returning, donating, or selling the item.

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About the Author

Jennifer Snyder

Jennifer Snyder

My name is Jennifer Snyder CPO, Chief Executive Organizer of Neat as a Pin Organizing Experts, a Waco-based company of Professional Organizers that is not only focused on organizing the clutter in your home or office but also clutter of the heart and mind. 

I am happy that you are taking an interest in the benefits of getting your home and life organized.  Living an organized life is for everyone!

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