How to organize baby shower gifts

Tips for organizing baby gifts PLUS 3 things to do with gifts you don’t want

tips for organizing baby shower gifts

Chances are, you will receive many gifts before the arrival of your sweet baby. Some you’ll love, but others, you just won’t need. How do you organize your baby shower gifts? Do you HAVE to keep every single gift? What are you supposed to do with the gifts you don’t want to keep?

Well, mama, this post is for you. Keep reading to find out what most moms know but don’t talk about; how to decide which gifts to keep, and the 3 three things you can do with baby gifts you don’t need.

Be sure to check out my other “Preparing for Baby” posts!

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how to organize baby shower gifts

Part 1: Baby shower gift organization: What do I keep!?

This section will walk you through how to organize your baby shower gifts: from when you get home with a loaded trunk of gifts, to when every item has been sorted and given a home.

This sounds complicated, but it isn’t. You can do this!

Go through your baby shower gifts ASAP

This was on my “Baby Shower Tips (for the Mom-to-be)” post, but deserves to be said again. When you get home from your shower, if at all possible, start this process, and go through your gifts IMMEDIATELY.

what to do with gifts you don't want

1. Make three piles: “WANT”, “DON’T WANT”, and “UNSURE”.

This is the first step in organizing your baby shower gifts: go through them, one by one. Put pieces of paper or sticky notes on the floor and designate 3 different places for these three piles: “WANT”, “DON’T WANT”, and “UNSURE”. This is the only organizing we are doing to begin with. It helps to have someone who knows you well with you while you do this (husband, mom, friend), as they can help you when you are undecided.

Tip: If gift-receipts aren’t already taped onto the gifts, do this while you’re going through gifts.


These are the things you registered for– the things you did research on and KNOW you want; these are things you chose for yourself. Put these in a pile, and if you have time/energy, go ahead and take them to the nursery to be put away (you’ll remove tags, wash what needs washing, and find a place for each item).


These are things you KNOW you will never use: clothes you don’t love, baby shoes you don’t need, decorations that don’t match baby’s nursery.


This one is kind of tricky. It’s those gifts you think you COULD use or MAY need, but aren’t quite sure. Sometimes it’s a beautiful baby blanket (but you already have 3), a lovely dress (that feels itchy), or a picture frame you like (but don’t really have space for). These are items you want to think about a little longer; allow yourself that space.

2. Revisit the “UNSURE” pile of baby shower gifts

Go through the “UNSURE” pile and make decisions. In my experience, if you’re unsure, it’s better not to keep it because you won’t use it. . Better to exchange it something you like or give it to someone in need. If you don’t want to make a decision, ask whoever is with you to help!

3. Organize the “DON’T WANT” pile of baby shower gifts

Organize your “DON’T WANT” pile into stores to return the items to. While you’re doing this, think about things you could keep for future gifts, or give to people/places in need.

Make sure all gift receipts are taped to the items, and label where the non-receipt items are from with sticky notes. You may have to look this up if the item wasn’t on your registry. For instance, if you have an outfit with “Cloud Island” on the tag, you would type “Cloud Island” into your internet browser and find that “Cloud Island” is sold at Target. You would then write Target on a sticky note and place it on the outfit).

You have 3 options when it comes to gifts you don’t want: “RETURN”, RE-GIFT”, or “RE-HOME”.

Young Mom Mentor
what to do with baby gifts you don't need

Part 2: Return, Re-gift, or Re-home baby shower gifts you don’t need

Phew! You did it! You went through your baby shower gifts and decided what to keep and what to not! WAY TO GO, MAMA! Now, what do you do next?

You have 3 options when it comes to gifts you don’t want: “RETURN”, RE-GIFT”, or “RE-HOME”.

Return baby shower gifts you don’t want

The first thing you can do with a gift you don’t need is to return it to the store.

Y’all, I did this A LOT. I returned a lot of small things I didn’t love and got a few larger things we really needed for the nursery: like a mirror and a laundry basket. I’m certain that those loved ones who got me the smaller things would be happy to know that the money they spent was well-used and not just thrown in a closet and forgotten about.

Baby shower gift-return tips

  1. When you decide which items to return, put them in your car where you will be reminded you have them. Pick a day that you will return them WITHIN THE WEEK; put it in your calendar, and set a reminder.
  2. Make a “return date” with your spouse and go out to eat or for coffee/ice cream afterwards.
  3. Save the gift cards for when all of your showers are over, designate them to be used for a big-ticket item (like a dresser), or save them for diapers or other baby items you may need in the future.

Re-gift baby shower gifts you don’t need

This is a well-kept (or maybe not “well-kept”, ha, just not spoken about) secret among new mamas…many of us have “re-gift” bags. I know, I know, that sounds super awful and tacky and so not a Southern sort of thing to say, but hear me out.

If I get a gift that I like but already have or just don’t need, I will store it in a bag I call my “regift bag”. I only keep things I would like to be gifted. Sometimes it’s something I couldn’t return, but other times it’s something that makes me think “Wow, that’s a great gift but I don’t need it. I’ll keep it and give it the next time someone I know has a baby.”

Baby shower gift re-gifting tips:

  1. Don’t keep items you wouldn’t like to receive It’s nice to have a gift on hand for a shower, but not at the cost of not being thoughtful.
  2. Do not “re-gift” highly personal or distinguishable gifts (gifts that match your nursery, or something someone made for you/your baby).
  3. Only re-gift diapers, wipes, or lotions/shampoos if the particular brand is on their baby registry (for the sake of honoring mom’s preferences).
  4. Regifting works well with baby care items (combs, brushes, thermometers, towels, wash cloths, diaper creams), blankets/bibs (I received so many beautiful bibs and blankets but I can’t use them all), plates/cups, and clothes. I’m sure there are other items I’m missing; use your best judgment.

Re-home” baby shower gifts you don’t want

“Re-homing” is simply giving the item to someone you know who may need it or donating it to a Crisis Pregnancy Center, church, daycare or something similar. There are so many places that need baby-care items, call these places or ask around to see what they need that you could provide out of the abundance you’ve received.

“Re-homing” baby shower gift tips

  1. “Re-home” things you don’t know where/how to return, or things that are worth more than you will receive for them (I would rather donate a sleeper I’m going to get pennies for than return it to the store).
  2. “Re-home” hand-me-downs you’re given that you don’t want- GO THROUGH THEM IMMEDIATELY. THE TIME IS NOW, MAMA. YOU WILL NOT WANT TO DO THIS LATER AND YOU DON’T NEED 1,000 3 MONTH ONESIES.
  3. Every month or so, keep going through your baby items and thinking about what you could “re-home”. If you’re financially able, keep up with what the Crisis Pregnancy Center needs, and help fill them. Another idea is to watch social media or your church email list to see who you might be able to help (and not just with items you personally don’t need, but with new items you can purchase for them).

Final thoughts on how to organize baby shower gifts

Being celebrated is incredibly humbling. Being doted on, loved on, and showered with kindness and gifts is almost too much for my heart to handle. My eyes well up with thankfulness when I think of the kindness I’ve been shown throughout my life, from those who love me and know me best.

“You are the gatekeeper of your home”; this is a true and helpful statement when it comes to allowing things to take up space in your home. But it isn’t the most important thing. The most important things aren’t things: they’re relationships and people.

Receive all gifts not for what they are, or how much they cost, but because they are a representation of those who matter most to you: your people. And the people with whom you will raise your sweet baby. After all, it takes a village!

Lots of love,

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Going to your own baby shower: what to expect

Organize baby clothes the RIGHT way

Tips for organizing baby gifts PLUS 3 things to do with gifts you don’t want

organizing baby shower gifts
what to do with baby presents you don't want
Hey, it's Anna! I'm a teacher-turned-SAHM of two young kids. I love to research all things parenting and kid-related and share them on here.

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