Received a Christmas present or two you really didn’t want? Don’t just stuff them in a wardrobe or your loft and forget it about them.
There are plenty of ways to turn them into something you will actually use.
Return them back to the shop
Most bigger shops now offer gift receipts with Christmas present purchases, which don’t give away how much something has cost but mean it can be easily be returned.
You need to make sure you return the item(s) within a certain time period though, which should be displayed on the receipt or on the shop’s website.
If you don’t have a receipt, some shops will, as a goodwill gesture, exchange items for others of a similar value. It’s always worth asking the question.
In both the above cases, you need to make sure the item(s) is in perfect condition and no packaging has been opened. It’s also worth noting that food and drink and other special one-off items, such as something that’s been personalised, will generally be excluded.
Sell them on eBay
Chances are, if you have ever felt the need to flog something online, eBay is your first port of call.
And that's understandable – not only is it free to register with the site, it has an average of more than 14 million auctions going on at any one time. So if you want to reach a load of people with whatever it is you're selling, it's well worth a go.
You can list up to 20 items a month free but you'll have to hand over 10% of the winning bid to eBay, while if you want additional features to help your item sell, like photos or scheduling exactly when your product will be available for bids (up to three weeks in advance) then that will cost you as well.
Thankfully eBay has put together a comprehensive guide covering its various fees.
You should also be aware you will need to accept payment via Paypal..
In other words, selling on eBay has some big negatives, and the fees can soon start to rack up, though you are reaching a hell of a lot of people.
So what are the alternatives?
The challenger - eBid
One site making a play for eBay's crown is the imaginatively titled eBid.
It is much smaller than eBay but there is still a healthy level of activity.
Your items are also arguably less likely to disappear amid other people's auctions as well. However, it's the fee side where eBid really looks like an attractive alternative.
First of all, it's absolutely free to list your item, no matter how much it is being auctioned for. It then only costs you 3% of what you receive from your buyer (unless you want your item to be one of the homepage deals, which will set you back an additional £1).
But if you're trying to get rid of unwanted gifts, you aren't solely limited to auction sites.
Shipping out your presents on Amazon
I've only ever sold books on Amazon, but the process was exceptionally smooth.
Sellers can list items on the Amazon Marketplace website.
If you plan to sell fewer than 35 items a month, you won't pay a penny for the listings. You will however face a 75p closing fee when you sell.
If you want to do more selling, then there is a £25 subscription fee.
There are also referral fees and variable closing fees (on top of the fixed closing fee) to take into account. You can see a full breakdown on the Amazon website.
Going for Gumtree
Another option you might want to consider is Gumtree.
It is an online classified website, which covers around 60 different cities worldwide.
It doesn't cost you anything to list an item, though you don't pay online – chances are you will need to meet with the buyer and perform the exchange in person. Gumtree has a Stay Safe guide on its website full of tips on how to do this as smoothly as possible.
Another listing site worth a look is Preloved. You can sell items absolutely free with no listing or selling fees to worry about.
If it's a CD, DVD or game you're trying to flog, get some extra pennies for it by going to musicMagpie or one of its competitors, but be aware they often don't pay much, particularly for popular titles.
Get social with Facebook Marketplace
Facebook has relaunched its Marketplace feature in an effort to rival online trading sites like eBay and Gumtree.
Users can buy and sell items locally via a new smartphone app with a desktop version set to launch in a few months.
“In recent years more people have been using Facebook to connect in another way: buying and selling with each other,” says Mary Ku, director of product management at Facebook.
“This activity started in Facebook Groups and has grown substantially. More than 450 million people visit buy and sell groups each month.”
Selling items will be free initially and Facebook will not be involved in the payment process.
Trade them in
A few retailers offer trade-in schemes where you can exchange your unwanted stuff for cash.
Another alternative is to swap them online.
If you head to swapz.co.uk you can apparently swap anything for anything!
Swap clothes and accessories
Similar to swapping books, if you want to get rid of some clothes, you can swap them on Swishing.co.uk or Swapstyle.com. Or there are plenty of community clothes swapping events happening around the country.
Alternatively, if you want to have a bit of fun in the process, you could get together with a group of friends and host a swapping party!
Swap CDs, games and DVDs
Give them away
If the Christmas spirit has made you feel extra generous this year, why not donate all of your unwanted presents to charity? Local charity shops, hospitals and hospices are always looking for clothes, DVDs, and books and will be grateful for anything you can give them, providing it’s in reasonably good nick.
They encourage the re-use of goods by giving them away for free rather than throwing them out. And it’s free to join up!
This is a more risky option unless you keep close tabs on who you're giving your unwanted gifts to.
And you should only regift if you're sure the recipient wants the item(s). Otherwise you're just continuing the vicious circle.