A Guide to (re)Gifting

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In the tight restraints of a college budget, the season of giving has been known to challenge college students’ penny-pinching ways. The excitement of opening presents never fails to bring out the child in everyone, but have you ever opened a present and gotten the sense that, perhaps, someone else already had the pleasure of opening that same item? If so, you were likely a victim of regifting. Regifting is a major trend this holiday season that is preserving the already meager state of college students’ wallets. While regifting is by no means a crime, it is certainly an art. One man’s trash can absolutely become another man’s treasure if done properly. The trick to turning something borrowed into something new is being aware of the telltale signs of a regifted item and knowing how to disguise them.

7 signs of a regifted Gift

  1. Noticeable wear and tear — Anything that makes an item seem previously used such as stains on a sweater or bent pages of a book.
  2. Missing tags — Brand new items always have tags on them, so when tags are not there then the item has likely already been used.
  3. Old or expired — This becomes a problem with perishable goods but can also be evident if an item is dated.
  4. Someone else’s personal item — Items that have been displayed in a friend or family member’s home, or that are known to belong to the giver, indicate that the gift was not originally purchased for the receiver.
  5. Not wrapped — If a gift is not wrapped in wrapping paper or a gift bag, often times it seems as though it was thrown together last minute.
  6. Unusual smell — There is a distinct scent to new items, so when things have the scents of last night’s dinner or unknown perfume the gift has probably been used before.
  7. Strange items — Gifts are meant to appeal to the receiver. If it is an odd trinket or an item that would not likely spark the receiver’s interest, then it may be a regifted item.

How to turn your something borrowed into something new

If you discover any stains or discoloration while inspecting an item to determine if it is worthy of regifting, don’t worry! Nearly all stains can be removed by mixing any of the following with warm water: powder laundry detergent, liquid laundry detergent or basic liquid soap. Scrub the stain with a toothbrush or other bristled brush and simply let it dry. The stain will be gone and your item will be ready to be passed on to its new owner.

Wrap it up
Take advantage of all the festive colors and decorative patterns by wrapping the present you are regifting in a highly spirited package. Additionally, since the item is not brand new, it likely doesn’t have a box. Ideally, tracking down a box that is the same brand name as the item makes for a very unsuspecting regift. However, if you cannot find a box to match perfectly, be sure to wrap your item in a plain box that doesn’t have labels or logos. Regifting can be difficult to execute when the box and the item disagree.

Remove any unusual smells
If the item you are regifting is one that has lived in your home for any period of time then it probably doesn’t smell brand new. If you catch a waft of something strange on an item you would like to regift, there is no need to panic! Scents are pungent but easy to mask. If the item is a piece of clothing, just throw it in the laundry before gifting. If the item is not something that is machine washable, try spraying it with a fresh scented aerosol. Avoid using any personal body sprays or perfumes because the receiver will recognize your scent and realize the item is not new.

10 Best items to consider regifting

  1. Bottle of wine
  2. Unburned candle
  3. Clothing you purchased in the wrong size and never worn
  4. Picture frame
  5. Unread book
  6. Purse or handbag
  7. Box of chocolates
  8. Gift card that has not been used
  9. Scarf
  10. Vase (fill with fresh flowers)


Emily Murray is a senior majoring in professional writing and minoring in public relations. She loves fashion, especially writing about it, and enjoys working with VIM Magazine, CollegeFashionista and keeping up with her own blog, From Me to Hue. Emily is also a member of the MSU Dance Club.


Tags: January