Promotional Product Leftovers: How to Utilize Your Extra Giveaway Items

Thanksgiving has barely come and gone, which means the foil-wrapped plates and bowls in your refrigerator may be the only leftovers you have on the brain. But there are other types of leftovers as well—the extra items from your latest promotion (or even from a promotion in years past), for example. What can you do with leftover promotional items that do nothing but collect dust? A LOT!

Of course, there’s rarely a time in which logo-imprinted merchandise would cease to be useful for your brand (unless you’ve included outdated information or drastically changed your logo), but products printed with time-sensitive details tend to rot in storage closets. Would you feel comfortable giving away a corporate gift basket if it included a stadium cup with “John Smith Company’s 2008 Summer Picnic” on the side? If you answered no, then you may have some thinking to do…and you can do better than simply throwing your supply away!

Waste not, want not! Break out your leftover inventory and get started with one of these ideas:

Have a Flea Market for Charity

A flea market or garage sale for charity is a win-win-win!

Have a Flea Market for Charity

This option is ideal if you have a variety of extra promo items in your possession. Let people know that you’re clearing out your inventory and that all proceeds will be donated to a local charity. This way, the charity will benefit from a donation, your customers will benefit from new stuff, and you’ll benefit from the brand exposure!

What you charge for each product is up to you, but don’t ask for a king’s ransom! You could get away with charging five bucks for a leftover company t-shirt if it’s an appealing design, but even charging a dime for a pen, a quarter for a koozie, or a dollar for a stress ball will move your stock and rack up some cash depending on how many extras you have. (If you’d rather not have a flea market, then you could also donate your extras flat-out to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army).

Give Your Employees and Friends First Pick

Your employees, friends, or family will give your extra company items a good home.

Give Employees and Friends First Pick

Have you asked your staff, family members, or friends if they’d like to take some extra items home? One employee probably won’t be able to use 150 extra notepads, but each person may want one or two to take with them. Ask around and/or send a companywide email asking if anyone would like some merchandise that’s just taking up space. This option spreads your business name around and reinforces company loyalty, too. Most people will jump at the chance to help; I work at a promotional products company and I still get excited anytime I receive a new product with a logo on it!

Display and Observe

Customers can help make your free stuff disappear!

Display and Observe

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about people, it’s that they’ll take anything if it’s free. When I worked at a bank, we’d personalize a batch of promo calendars every year and set them on the counters for customers to take. We could hardly keep a stack intact for more than five minutes because so many people would grab them to take home. This strategy will work for your left over, time-sensitive promotional products as well. The vast majority of customers aren’t going to care if your logoed tote bags have an event date on them that’s already come and gone—they’re going to care that the bags are free and that they’re reusable. Plus, they may even go home and tell their friends about it, which will raise more conversation about your company and possibly bring you new business!

Have you used these suggestions to clear your promotional product leftovers? Do you have any more ideas for extra giveaway items? We’d love to hear your feedback—leave a comment and let us know your thoughts! Thanks for reading the Quality Logo Products blog.

Jill Tooley

Jill has been obsessed with words since her fingers could turn the pages of a book. She’s a hopeless bibliophile who recently purchased a Kindle after almost 6 years of radical opposition, and she loves stumbling upon new music on Pandora. Random interests include (but are not limited to) bookstores, movie memorabilia, and adorable rodents. Jill writes for the QLP blog and assists with the company’s social media accounts. You can connect with Jill on Google+.


  1. Chase

    These are great ideas! Thanks!

  2. Cybernetic SAM

    This has crossed my mind a lot just thinking about all the extra stuff hanging around the average office. Too often does it just sit around or get thrown out. :(
    You could also donate to Salvation Army or have an X-mas party and just let people take what they want – it is all usually useful stuff. Along with the flea market idea, take them to give away at job fairs or to random clients to make ’em feel special! 😉

  3. KB

    What the blog says is true…”people will take anything if it’s free.” If it’s something useful, even better! When you’ve paid good money to have your company information printed on a promotional item, it should never be thrown away. Donations to those in need are always wonderful, or stop by some of your local businesses and drop off some of those useable items. They don’t even have to be leftovers to do this. Don’t just reserve promo items for conferences and tradeshows, get them out there. The more people that see them, the more business you will generate!

  4. QLP Kid

    Great post!

  5. QLP JPo

    Don’t forget the Tax write-offs for Donations!!

  6. Andrew Sauer

    Great ideas!!

  7. JJ "Suite G"

    Donations are great and all, but first things first. Companies should always be in the habit of giving excess or unneeded goods to employees. It boosts morale and sets a great example. Free stuff is my favorite stuff–let’s keep the freebies coming!

    Stress relievers are always great to have around, and I’ll take as many as I can get my greedy mitts on. :)

  8. Becky Gatch

    haha..this makes me laugh as I just put out a box of “FREE” sunglasses and they were snagged up in minutes ! Everyone is looking good in neon orange & black glasses at QLP. Scavengers!

  9. Mr. Promo

    I like the flea market idea, though as you pointed out, a flat out donation might just be easier.

    My best recommendation for ANYONE looking to order promotional products, especially if it’s your first time ordering, stay clear of including any kind of date or time sensitive information as part of your imprint.

    A logo, URL, and phone # are often just as effective as “John Smith Company’s 2008 Summer Picnic” would be (if not MORE).

    … Being a small company myself, being forced to order in bulk can be kind of a tough idea to swallow, but by making sure the products ordered are as universal as possible (think pens), buying 500 of one item with my logo on it for the entire year isn’t that difficult to do (or afford). Finally, as Kelly pointed out:

    “Don’t just reserve promo items for conferences and trade shows, get them out there. The more people that see them, the more business you will generate!”

    Reduce, reuse your promo products, and recycle! :)

  10. Joe

    Great Post! Makes a lot of sense!

  11. lizzie

    great ideas, jill! i wish any company i’ve ever worked for would break out the leftovers from the storage cabinet and bust ’em out…great post.

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