Happy Returning: Cashing in on Unwanted Gifts

Retail expert shares the secrets for making money off of returning Christmas presents.
3:00 | 01/03/14

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Transcript for Happy Returning: Cashing in on Unwanted Gifts
resolution has anything to do with taking control of your finances, tonight we'll show you how to navigate a real gift exchange, that is turning all unwanted gifts into money you can actually use. Ugly sweaters, unnecessary appliances, abc's paula faris has an inside look at a real gold mine that starts at home. Five, four, three -- Reporter: The holidays have come and gone. Leaving most of us exhausted. But even with a major snowstorm and freezing temperature thousands blasting the country, don't hide in your house till spring. January is the best time of year to take all of those unwanted gifts turn them into cash. Last year, retailers had $264 billion of merchandise returned. So for 2013 into 2014 it will be bigger. That $264 billion is hiding in most of our homes. Hi, I'm paula. Reporter: Meet a party planner and stay at home mom. Dad works in software industry. What did you get for christmas? Reporter: Like so many parents over the holidays, they shopped in december to make sure santa delivered on christmas morning. Did you get this for christmas? What is it? After a busy shopping season, the bills can pile up. And who doesn't need extra cash? Unreturned gifts post holiday it is like a minigold mine sitting in your home. People could have some where between $50 to $250 worth of merchandise just sitting there. Reporter: The number one item to be sent back -- all those christmas sweaters. Over 60% of clothing items get returned. Unless you know that person very well, I would pretty much guarantee in may that that swelter is going to be returned. Reporter: Toys and electronics get sent back. The one thing that people hold on to. Jewelry, watches. That makes sense too, people don't want to part with the diamond. Reporter: The family didn't get diamond, santa didn't bring them a new camera something they want. Reporter: You do have a nice camera, but not practical? Not practical at all. Try to got this out t. Reporter: Get it out? I lost. And, this, really? Really? Reporter: You are a little overloaded. We brought in a tech maven, from "the wall street journal" to help the family turn their christmas loot and household goods into ha cold hard cash. First up, did you know you could get cash for kids' clothes without leaving your home. Thread up will give you dough for gently used duds. They'll send the bag. You load it up. Zip-up hoody. 4.65. Over $40 now. By the time the eldest turned 17, the family will have spent $14,000 on her wardrobe, multiply by four kids you are talking about $56,000. Santa may have gotten the kids new clothes, mom and dad got $80 for their old ones. Half of what they will need for the camera. Next, go junk drawer diving for hidden treasure. We upgraded, this year, so we don't need this. We have a blackberry. We can trade them in on amazon, and nextworth.Com. If you want money on the spot. Try target. You can trade in used video games and electronics. You could get $9.50. What if I wanted to trade in my iphone? That's good to know. Yep. Reporter: Pretty good. 199 on contract. Reporter: Back at the family home, two rooms down, $218. We keep dig. We strike gold with the christmas gift cards. Barnes & noble. Gift card granny they gave us $46 for the amazon gift card. At gift card rescue.Com, another $46, for $60 worth of cards. If you decide to hold on to your gift card. Be sure you don't leave money on it. And forget about it. Make sure you have an account of how much money are on the gift cards. You would be surprised if you look at the gift cards that you have gotten over the years, how much you have actually left on there. Couldened end up totaling $75 to $100. Since 2005, estimated $40 billion left on gift cards. Money down the drain. And even though you may be shopped out, january is the best time of the year for sales. A lot of the retailers want to get rid of their old mid to make room for the new. And electronics, clothing, winter clothing, bedding, home items, can go on seaale, 60% for 80% off. Giving you extra bang for your buck on the gift card. Looking for discounts, shop wholesalers for big ticket items. Many end up in warehouses like this. Can you seep us. Reporter: They're letting us into the warehouse. Mountains of unwrapped, unwanted presence. Scooters, slides. Ceiling fans, games. I have a feeling santa may want to shop here next year? Reporter: They resell them on their website for discounts of 80%. For people that didn't like what was under the tree, a lot of gifts come back here. If it is out of the box they scant put it on the shelves. Reporter: Where we found the family camera for a fraction of the cost. Jamie, jordan, the whole reason we were here was to put real money in your hands. We got enough money to get your new camera. Sony cybershot. Yea! Reporter: Actually enough for two cameras. The family uncovered $375 in household goods. Now gold instead of garbage. So, for the rest of us, who are staring at a pile of unwanted christmas loot, experts urge you to get organized and hit the stores. The main point is to get motivated and get out there and get, get what you deserve. Which its the present that you have always wanted. Reporter: It worked for the family, capturing a photo album of family memories. For "nightline," paula faris, in new jersey.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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