Is the gift-giver likely to show up at your home? (and by this I mean, are they likely to show up frequently and in the near future, not 5 years from now?)
Are they likely to ask about the gift if they stop by?
In many cases, the realistic answer is "probably not." Don't get caught up on the "probably." Get rid of the gift!
For many of us it's not that easy. We are concerned that Aunt Norma will show up and ask about that ugly, fragile cake plate she gifted you at your wedding or the florescent orange onesie she gave you for your newborn son.
A friend of mine had a great solution to this problem: take a picture of you using the object. Put junior in the hideous onesie, snap a photo and mail it off to Aunt Norma. Then give the onesie to goodwill. Aunt Norma feels loved and you don't have something in your house you hate. And in case she goes asking, you can always say that the object met an unfortunate fate at some point in time.
There are other gifts though that just sit around simply because they were gifts. I got this very pretty perfume bottle from my ex-aunt almost 20 years ago. I've never used it once. But I held on to it because it was a gift and because it was pretty.
How do you know if you should keep a gift? Ask yourself, Do you use it? Do you love it? Would you have bought it for yourself if you had the money to? Is it sturdy enough to be kept easily without special care? If the answers are a resounding no, no, and no, then be rid of it and your guilt.
Today's decluttered object is #38, a fancy perfume bottle.
Original Cost: Free, a gift.
What convinced me to get rid of it: I only liked it because it was purple (so no, I didn't love it), I would never have bought it for myself, I don't use it, and it's so fragile I'm perpetually afraid of breaking it.
Fate: Left it in the "free for the taking" area in the basement of our apartment building.
Total $ wasted on junk so far this year: $203.