Unwelcome surprises. It’s an overwhelming sensation. Unveiling the gift, and your mind echoes, “what compelled them to choose this for me?” Accompanied by the lingering thought, “how can I possibly make use of this?”
If you can hide your emotions, you smile and lie. For those less fortunate, your natural reaction creates tension in the air.
Surprisingly, I have never encountered an abundance of complications when it comes to receiving gifts, even prior to embracing a minimalist lifestyle. It seems that my friends and family possessed an innate understanding of my desires. However, when it comes to my beloved wife, Maša, an entirely contrasting narrative unfolds…
Continuously, she finds herself on the receiving end of gifts that utterly fail to hit the bullseye. The enigma lies in her aura, subtly whispering, “I desire the flickering glow of candles and the soothing essence of bath salts,” resulting in a predictable pattern. Being bestowed with unwanted presents proves to be exasperating, uncomfortable, and an utter drain on her precious time.
I imagine it would be even worse if we had kids! Shout out to all the minimalist families dealing with inbound gifts.
We’ve gained a great deal of knowledge about navigating these circumstances much more effectively over the years.
In this post, I will unveil various ways to deal with an undesirable present, both in the short term and in the distant future. However, before we proceed, let us pause and appreciate the intrinsic worth of a gift.
The story of presenting gifts is a lengthy and diverse one.
While the act of presenting gifts may have existed since the earliest days of humanity’s existence, the customs and connotations tied to this practice have undergone substantial transformation throughout history.
Gift-giving, across diverse cultures, serves as a beautiful expression of appreciation and gratitude. Moreover, it acts as a powerful tool to strengthen social connections and foster positive relationships.
In the realm of love languages, author Gary Chapman introduced the concept of gift-giving as one of the five expressive forms. For certain individuals, the mere act of bestowing a gift brings intrinsic joy and satisfaction.
You likely have a person in your existence (maybe even yourself) who derives immense delight from discovering the ideal gift for their cherished ones and witnessing the sheer bliss it evokes.
Regardless of the motives behind it, the act of giving gifts is an age-old and all-encompassing custom that exhibits no indications of deceleration. Therefore, when you engage in the exchange of presents with another individual, pause for a moment to contemplate the profound chronicles of this revered practice.
Listen: Handling Presents As a Minimalist – Episode 012.
The not-so-beautiful gesture of an unwanted gift
What if the present you give or receive turns out to be a total failure? It occurs more frequently than you might imagine.
According to a recent survey conducted in 2020, a majority of 62% of Americans admitted to exaggerating their level of appreciation for a gift. Furthermore, an impressive 55% of individuals even take the effort to prominently showcase these presents whenever the gift-giver pays a visit. Evidently, we seem to struggle when it comes to mastering the art of genuine gratitude.
Setting emotions aside, the gift-giver wants you to be happy. There could be a bunch of reasons why the present didn’t resonate:.
Considering the circumstances, there is a lot of potential for mistakes, which in turn increases the chances of receiving unwanted presents.
Moreover, you cling onto these possessions out of fear of causing offense, while they simply accumulate dust, occupy precious room in your abode, and serve as a perpetual reminder of how unfamiliar certain individuals are with your true essence.
It’s important to mention that those who give gifts genuinely desire your happiness and would likely feel even more disheartened if you were compelled to hold onto something that didn’t bring you joy. That’s precisely why it’s customary to include receipts alongside presents for our dear ones, in case there arises a need for exchange or return.
Moreover, the bestower has effectively accomplished their objective through their act of presenting you with a gift. In the words of Marie Kondo, “the essence of a gift lies in its reception.”
Finally, when a generous soul presents you with a gift, the baton of ownership gracefully passes into your hands. Henceforth, this cherished possession becomes solely your responsibility, affording you the freedom to wield it as you see fit.
In a little while, I’ll be revealing a few strategies for handling these belongings. Yet, the true essence lies in minimizing the chances of acquiring undesired presents right from the start.
How to prevent unwanted gifts
To avoid receiving unwanted gifts, the initial stride involves identifying the potential givers, such as family members, friends, colleagues, or parents of your children’s friends. Once you have ascertained the origins, it is crucial to establish certain anticipations.
There are two methods for establishing expectations: the subtle method and the direct method.
The subtle approach
By cleverly incorporating suggestions into your discussion, you can miraculously transform the dynamics of your connection with the benevolent individual.
You’ve just embarked on a journey of minimalism and decluttering, opening up a world of possibilities to share the transformations taking place. To illustrate, you might express:
“I’ve recently organized my garage, and I was amazed by the number of items I contributed.”
“I viewed a film about minimalism, and it has altered my perspective on things.”
“I’m participating in a buy-nothing challenge this year. Would you like to join me?”
“We have introduced a policy where only one toy can be used at a time by the children, and it has made a significant impact on our lives.”
By initiating a dialogue regarding the transformation of your values, you have the potential to ignite intrigue and encourage active involvement from your dear ones. If they are attuned, they will discern your subtle hints and probably inquire further to better understand their future offerings.
The direct approach
In case you lack familiarity with your potential benefactors or have an endlessly persistent individual who consistently presents you with unwanted or unnecessary items, assuming they know what suits you best, it is crucial to adopt a more straightforward and open approach while establishing your preferences.
Resetting expectations right after receiving an undesirable gift from someone is not the ideal time, but it is possible to do so.
Flip the script and engage in a conversation during the season diametrically opposed to when you anticipate receiving the gift. Let’s say, engage in a heartfelt dialogue with your loved ones in the month of March, contemplating the art of gracefully handling Christmas presents. Alternatively, infuse a touch of anticipation by penning down your gift expectations within the invitation for your upcoming baby shower.
Learn more: How does a minimalist Christmas appear?
Maintain a positive dialogue even when faced with opposition. Concentrate on your desires and necessities rather than dwelling on the things you dislike (further elaboration to follow).
Additionally, express the transformative nature of your evolving values, as you embrace a heightened sense of mindfulness towards the elements you invite into your existence. Elaborate on the profound effects clutter has on you, vividly illustrating the inconveniences and disturbances caused by unwelcome possessions. It is reassuring to know that the majority of individuals are empathetic and appreciative of your intentions, often offering their respect and understanding.
Develop a way to share gift ideas you’ll benefit from
Sharing your wishlist with loved ones has become a timeless recommendation. This tried-and-true approach holds immense value. Imagine, for instance, expressing your desires as a unified front on your wedding invitations, or envision your little one aspiring to generate funds for their treasured cause.
If you have a great connection, you can actually send screenshots of your deserted cart products from your preferred online shop.
However, instead of just having a simple wishlist, why not unlock your imagination and transform it into a dynamic exchange? One intriguing approach is to initiate a conversation with potential gift-givers, genuinely inquiring about their deepest desires. Perhaps they possess a collection of essential items that they long for. This gentle prompt might then inspire them to reciprocate and inquire about your own heartfelt wishes.
Another method is to set up regular donations. For instance, for each birthday, ask for:
The fascinating aspect of these repetitive presents lies in the element of unexpectedness embedded in every single item or encounter. It could reach a stage where you find yourself eagerly awaiting the kind of cake that will arrive or the venue for your annual dinner outing.
Additionally, should you desire, you have the option to invite the generous benefactor to partake in the ongoing exchange of gifts, thereby providing them with a motivation to select something that brings mutual delight and satisfaction.
Following the implementation of these ingenious tactics, I have been bestowed with a plethora of remarkable presents. Acquainted with my profound fondness for gastronomy and unforgettable moments, my loved ones have bestowed upon me lavish coupons to exclusive epicurean havens, a romantic evening dining with my beloved spouse, and fully-funded escapades. Being a fervent proponent of minimalism, my dear ones are well aware that, more often than not, tangible gifts are not on my wish list.
Learn more: A Minimalists Guide To Giving Experiences (90+ Ideas).
But what about those pesky gifts that manage to slip through from an unforeseen benefactor? Or how can you handle the accumulation of items piling up in your gift cemetery? Here, I present you with 5 strategies to address unwanted presents.
5 ways to deal with unwanted gifts
Figuring out what to do with unwanted presents can often pose a challenge. Whether it’s an unattractive sweater gifted by a kind-hearted aunt or a brand-new coffee machine that doesn’t align with your lifestyle, the dilemma remains.
Don’t let these gifts languish on a forgotten shelf, regardless of the situation. Instead, there are 5 interesting choices for those unwanted presents: donate, re-gift, repurpose, return, or retain. Now, let’s delve into the intricacies of each option.
When it comes to donating unwanted gifts, there are some key considerations to bear in mind. Primarily, it is crucial to ensure that the gift is in impeccable condition. Nobody desires to receive a pre-owned or flawed present, thus it is imperative to exclusively contribute items that are in top-notch condition.
Consider the recipient who would truly cherish the gift. Numerous diverse organizations embrace donations, thus selecting one that resonates with your core principles becomes vital.
When it comes to donating clothes, think about supporting a nearby women’s shelter. When it comes to donating toys, consider bringing joy to a children’s hospital. And when it comes to donating food, why not make a difference by supporting a food bank?
By thinking about who would most appreciate the gift, you can be sure that your donation is going to a good cause.
Upcycling is a fantastic method to unleash your creativity with the presents you no longer desire.
As an instance, in the event that you are gifted with a vase that fails to captivate your interest, you have the liberty to repurpose it as a charming pencil holder adorning your workspace. Alternatively, if you happen to be bestowed with an oversized shirt, you can effortlessly transform it into a cozy pillowcase.
There are countless opportunities for repurposing unwanted presents. So let your imagination run wild and discover what you can create.
Can re-gifting be considered morally questionable? This thought has crossed my mind on numerous occasions. I have observed individuals in my life attempting to discreetly pass on items, with outcomes ranging from triumph to utter failure.
Ultimately, I am of the opinion that re-gifting can be a successful strategy to dispose of unwanted presents, provided it is executed with finesse.
First and foremost, ensure that the item is in excellent condition. You wouldn’t want to give away something that is broken or previously used.
Secondly, make sure the item is suitable for the individual you are presenting it to.
Firstly, ensure that all tags or personal touches are eliminated from the item. It is essential to prevent the recipient from discovering its previous status as a gift for another individual. This may seem evident, but it is crucial to evade any potential uncomfortable moments.
Finally, refrain from informing the initial gift provider that you have re-gifted their present.
You can give away unwanted presents without any discomfort or emotional harm by adhering to these straightforward instructions.
Dealing with the act of returning a gift calls for a graceful approach, whether it involves returning it to the generous donor or to the original store of purchase.
When you decide to return a gift to its original giver, it becomes crucial to articulate the reasons behind your choice. The aim is to avoid causing any emotional distress or implying any errors on their part. It’s possible that they were simply uninformed about certain crucial details.
As an illustration, you might express that the item didn’t align with your personal taste or that you already possessed something akin to it. In the event of a strong and sincere bond, you could opt for a more straightforward approach and convey that the item doesn’t resonate with your envisioned usage.
When returning the gift to the store, it is crucial to possess evidence of the purchase, typically in the form of a gift receipt.
Before embarking on your shopping journey, it’s wise to inquire about the return policies of various stores. By adhering to the appropriate protocols, you can effortlessly bid adieu to those unwanted gifts.
It is worth noting that certain establishments may decline returns for items that have been opened. Hence, it is advisable to thoroughly review the return policy prior to initiating the return process for your gift.
Occasionally, the optimal choice is to retain an undesired present.
It could be true in situations where the present originates from a cherished companion or relative who bestowed something profoundly sentimental upon them – regardless of whether you fail to perceive its value. Picture a precious piece of jewelry bestowed upon you by your late grandmother.
Perhaps the current holds the capability for future usefulness, even if its present intention escapes you.
When you come across such situations, it’s wise to hold onto the present and secure a designated spot to store it until its perfect timing. Choose a special chest, sketchbook, closet, or corner within your humble abode to house these treasures, ensuring their presence remains limited and they don’t engulf excessive room.
When it comes to handling unwanted gifts, a plethora of options await your discerning choice. Select the option that resonates most harmoniously with your unique circumstances and personal preferences.
By dedicating some time to contemplate your options, you can ensure to make the optimal choice for all parties concerned.
Managing unwanted gifts
Dealing with unwanted gifts can present a delightful puzzle, with a myriad of approaches to explore. The art of gracefully managing an unneeded token hinges on the unique circumstances and the intricate dynamics between the generous soul and the recipient.
By adhering to these straightforward suggestions, you can gracefully eliminate undesired presents without causing harm to anyone’s emotions while maintaining a clutter-free environment.