Using Unwanted Christmas Gifts

About: It's just in my nature to make things rather than buy them. One, because I was raised watching my mom and dad building things. Two, I'm a recent college grad, which pretty much means poverty-stricken. A lo...

Everybody gets them. Those little presents that make you wonder 'what the heck am I going to do with THIS?!' And wouldn't you know it, these presents never seem to have a gift receipt.

From the questionable clothing gift to items you already own, I'm going to help you use them for good (sorry, no evil here).

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Step 1: Regift!

For items that you already have or simply aren't interested in, you just might have a friend or family member that would like, say, an entire set of honeysuckle bath products. Slap a bow on it and give it away! At least it's going to a good home.

Step 2: Secondhand Shops

For clothing that just doesn't work for you, items you couldn't regift, or if you're getting rid of things to make room for that new present, look around town for secondhand shops. Your unwanted items just might make you a little cash. Some secondhand shops even donate their proceeds to local charities.

Where I live, there's Edward McKays, where customers can sell back books, movies, and used electronics. Gamestop, FYE, and other movie/music/gamer stores will usually accept new and slightly used products. (This is not an advertisement, just fact.)

Step 3: Demo Time!

Some presents (like the bag below) are poorly constructed and really not worth the effort of trying to sell. A little demolition time will usually reap some interesting parts for other projects. I'm thinking of using the fake leather on this bag to make a leather case. The magnetic clasp and metallic ring will go in my hardware box, ready to be used for another instructable.

Unwanted clothing that can't be given away or donated is great for harvesting fabric, buttons, and zippers. I recently took apart an ugly sweater so I could keep the soft yarn.

If you're not fond of the color, there's always dye and fabric paints. Get creative!

I'm going to try staining the red leather with black ink.

Step 4: Donate!

Companies like Goodwill and the Salvation Army accept most items as donations, from mattresses to bowling balls. Profits from reselling these items will help the unfortunate, and keep usable items from going into a landfill.

Step 5: Dump 'em

Broken items that are can't be used will sadly go to the garbage heap. But before you dump them, check to see if any of the parts have recyclable, plastic, or metal.

Many companies accept old cell phones and electronics--they harvest the usable parts and safely recycle them.

You may not have gotten supplies for your next instructable, but you did help make them into something new.

Homemade Holidays: Holiday Gifts

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    Step 2 -Woman's Shelters are in desperate need of personal care/cosmetics etc, new unopened (but check around - it varies). They may also be accepting donations of woman's & children's clothing. Kudos to the author of this piece---- Very Good THinking!!!!! Everything is re-usable - at least once! If not a few times before you throw it away.

    1 reply

    10 years ago on Step 5

    Suggestion for one more step: try joining a freecyclefreecycle group - even broken things might have a use to somebody, I've seen all sorts of strange things being exchanged in my local group, and it's only a small one.

    3 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Step 5

    craigslist also has a "free" section where you can get rid of almost anything.


    Reply 10 years ago on Step 5

    Ah yes, indeed, lots of ways to get rid of your junk for free.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Don't forget donating. Even if the items aren't the best quality, Goodwill or the Salvation Army will find someone who will appreciate them!

    isn't it funny- before i saw your ible, i tried Ebay and couldn't find one-maybe a red purse isn't in my future at the moment lol! what are you going to make with the leather...? ;0) You prob have some cool ideas. Share?? Next ible???


    I also thought...You can buy a needle especially for repairing leather. It looks a little like a fish hook. My husband used one to sew up a leather steering wheel I had when I had an Austin Mini back in the'70's (sure miss that car)


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Nice haul from that purse! Post the results of the reuse - it should look awesome. For Step2, the internet is also a great way to get rid of consumer items. Ebay, CraigsList, and the like are pretty easy.

    1 reply