How To Handle Returns: My Tips and Tricks

Returns are an annoying but mandatory part of the shopping process. We cannot shop and keep everything we are buying. Returning things that do not fit, sit right, flatter, or speak to us must be returned. There are no ifs or buts about it. Returns are time-consuming, irritating, and no fun, but we must find time and energy to deal with unwanted items to avoid wasting time, money, and closet space.

I will share with you my tips and tricks for dealing with returns.

What is the right way to handle returns?

When I buy items in a store or online, I do not automatically assume that I will keep these items. All I know, at that point, is that I like what I see in photos or how it looks in a mirror. So even though I swiped my credit card, there is always a chance I might change my mind about an item.

Rule # 1: Buying an item does not mean you have to keep it

Once I try on new pieces at home, pairing them with my go-to clothes, I make a critical assessment. Do they fit properly? Where to will I wear them? How will I style them?

Suppose the answer is "No" or "I don't know"- a piece in question goes back to the store.

Rule # 2: Once a decision is made, move quickly

Once I decide that an item is not working for me, I quickly go through a return process, print out a return label, package the article, and put the return shipment package into my car. Why? Because this way I will not forget to drop it off.

It is critical not to put an item aside or leave it on the floor of your closet. Most likely, you will forget about it and miss a return deadline.

We need to move quickly because

  1. All brands have a limit on how many days you have to return an item. For sale items, a window could be tiny.

  2. If we do not attend to returns at the moment, we will forget about them, wasting our money and cluttering the closet.

Rule # 3: Pay special attention to sale items

When shopping online, there are a few things that I always check for before buying. Suppose I am looking at a sale item. Before clicking buy, I review a return policy. Some brands allow for sale items to be returned, and others do not. Some brands have a distinction between final sale and sale: allowing sale items to return but not final sale items.

High-end brands have very short return periods, sometimes as short as seven days. Keep that in mind.

Role # 4: Use original packaging if possible

When sending a return back, use the original shipping box or bag and any packaging that came with it.

If you have two orders to return, I suggest sending them separately. If you combine them into one shipment, chances are one of the orders might not get processed. It happened to me a few times.

Rule # 5: Keep track of your returns

Keep records of your returns, save a return label or take a picture of it. Most of the time, the returns are processed without a hitch. It takes a few days to receive return credit. But for the rare occasions when things do not go according to plan, you need to be ready.

And review your credit card statements often to ensure you are getting your money back.

Rule # 6: When in trouble, reach out to your credit card

Remember that a system is not perfect. And return items get lost, misplaced, or processed incorrectly.

If that happens, the first step is to email a brand to inquire about your return. Most of the time, they can figure things out on their end.

Suppose the merchant is unwilling to give you your money back. The next proper step is to submit a claim with your credit card (the one you used to buy an item). I guarantee this is the best and most efficient way to work out any shipping/return issues. The credit card will contact the merchant on your behalf while crediting your account with the disputed amount.

I know it might be a little scary to submit a claim and accuse a merchant of improper handling of your situation, but it is the proper way to do this. But do not abuse the system.


I have shared with you all the tips and tricks that I follow when dealing with returns. Yes, returns are not fun, but they deserve the attention. We do not want to create a closet full of things that we do not love. They will clutter our space, leaving us at a loss when it comes to getting ready.

Wouldn't you rather have a smaller set of clothes that you love, that bring joy and a smile to your face each time you look at them? I think we deserve only the best. And the best does not happen without effort. Be bold, brave, and decisive!


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