We all have that dilemma of unwanted gifts. Perhaps the item isn’t to your taste, or you simply have no use for it. When this happens, finding the present a new home instead of letting it gather dust in your home sounds sensible – but the idea of giving a gift that you received from somebody else can indeed feel wrong and inconsiderate.

There are a few etiquette rules that you should consider when it comes to regifting. Here are some things to take into account before you upcycle your gifts.

Failsafes and no-gos

Some items are generally good to repurpose, while others should never be regifted. Wine, liquor, gift cards and generic gift baskets that are still in their packaging would be appropriate.

On the other hand, stray away from regifting anything that is handmade (including food), sentimental, monogrammed or high-end – these gifts likely take a lot of time and effort on the part of the giver.

Receiving expensive luxury gifts can feel quite uncomfortable, as it puts pressure on you to return the favour in some ways. However, instead of passing them on to somebody else, it would be more respectful to return it with a polite admission.

Basic principles

Regift outside of the circle who gave it to you to avoid hurt feelings and misunderstandings.

Try to understand the intentions behind the present for a thoughtful regifting – for example, that succulent pot you got from a colleague might thrive better under the care of your plant-loving sister.

If you receive something that is not in your size – clothes, shoes, jewellery – it might be a better idea to talk to the giver and see if the item could be exchanged.

Take out all the evidence that the gift was once given to you – these include notes, cards and marked gift bags. Rewrap the gift as a courtesy, as well as to add a personal touch.

In most situations, only brand-new items should be regifted. Anything broken, worn down or noticeably used are usually out of the question. Some items – such as rare books or historical heirlooms – could pass an exception, depending on the intended receiver, but always err on caution’s side when in doubt

When you’re caught recycling a gift, simply be honest and reiterate how the item can benefit another person more.

Have you ever regifted a present?

This article was written in partnership with Over60.