We don’t know about you, but receiving gift cards makes us feel like we’re being handed a severely-handicapped form of cash, especially if it’s to a store we rarely visit. There are even a few stores that don’t accept gift cards online, so those cards linger in a pile on our desks until we’ve completely forgotten about them and the amount on the card has dwindled down to nothing.

Fortunately, we’ve figured out how to reduce wasting gift cards down to almost nothing, and how to use them and get rid of them quickly, without adding more clutter.

  1. Get all your gift cards out, including gift cash cards, which often have horrendously high usage and inactivity fees associated with them. Most cards don’t have expiration dates, but throw out any that are useless now.
  2. For gift cards to stores that you like that also accept gift cards online,  either figure out something you need there and purchase it today (before you forget again), or make a few gift purchases to give to friends or family.
  3. With the cards that you can’t use online, decide whether or not they are really worth the trip to the physical location.  Find out where the closest store is, if you don’t already know, and write down your planned trips for the worthwhile cards on your to-do list, and put the remainder of your cards in a separate pile.
  4. Gift cards you don’t need can be donated to charity through non-profits like the Works of Life charity or Gift Card Donor, which gives 75% of the value of the gift card you donate to the charity of your choice.
  5. Selling gift cards is another option, and it’s especially lucrative for large chain retailers. Gift card “brokers” like Plastic Jungle and GiftCardBuyBack buy cards at a certain percentage discount from you, depending on the store, and resell the cards for a higher amount, but still at a discount, to other shoppers.

The average American home has $400 in unused gift cards lying around – save money and eliminate all your gift cards today.