Give Your Old Games a New Shelf Life

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The holidays are coming, and anyone who knows you well will likely be geting you a new board game as a gift. But if you’ve been collecting your board game library over the years, as many of us have, you’re probably getting close to running out of closet and shelf space. Take a deep breath: it’s okay to weed out a few dusty boxes. eBay and Craigslist are obvious outlets for selling used games, but seller fees and haggling are a hassle no one really likes dealing with. So what other options are out there?

Here are three ideas for what do with those games you don’t want to keep that go beyond the obvious solutions.


If you’re not looking for a few bucks for your used games, you might want to look into trading for a title you haven’t been able to pick up yet. While you’ll still have to figure out where to fit everything on the shelves, you might just score that game you’ve always wanted.

BoardGameGeek offers a robust trading system for registered site users. Trades can range from simple person-to-person exchanges to trading with a group of people, so be sure to read the guide before getting started.

On the Board Game Traders Facebook group, you can choose to sell or trade your used tabletop games. The group is private, so you must have a Facebook account to join, but you can easily post your games in the public Marketplace section as well when you list them.


Share the tabletop love by passing your board games on to someone else. Many charities like Child’s Play, Ronald McDonald House, and children’s hospitals can only accept unopened items, so if you have any unwanted games still shrink-wrapped, those are some great options to look into.

But if you’re looking for a new home for your used games, there are a few places to contact. Get in touch with your local library if they’re trying to get a game night off the ground, and offer your opened games (and possibly your expertise).

Small local conventions might also be looking to bolster their board game library. Seattle’s GeekGirlCon, for example, is happy to take donations of used games for their growing game library. Convention attendees might get their first tabletop experience thanks to your donation.

If all else fails, talk to the staff at your favorite game store to see if they’re interested in taking it for their own store library. It gets the games off your shelves and possibly helps them make a sale later, so everyone wins.


If you decide that you deep down you don’t want to completely part with an old favorite, you can still get the box off the shelves by putting the pieces inside to good use. Save the pieces for future missing components, like dice or tokens, or use them as makeshift miniatures, markers, or boards in your D&D battle maps.

You could also turn those game pieces into crafts like jewelry, magnets, and Christmas tree ornaments if you’re particularly crafty. Hang the boards on the walls as decorations for your game room.

And if your kids enjoy being creative and playing games, give your unwanted boards and pieces to them to encourage them to create their own games. Your old, unwanted tabletop game might just be turned into your new favorite.

What do you do with your old board games? Tell us in the comments below!

All Images: Kelly Knox

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