It’s that time of year again! No, not the post-holiday doldrums, but time to clean out the house to make room for everything Santa brought! Every year we do a mass toy cleanout and donate the items. The rules for cleaning out toys are very similar to the rules you apply when cleaning out your closet: Does it fit (is it age-appropriate)? Is it in good shape? Do you still use it?
Does it fit?
If you are holding on to baby toys or an exersaucer because you really think you might need it again in the near future, sure, keep it. But if your baby days are done, it is time to let go. If your child outgrew his Thomas trains years ago and you are reluctant to donate them, try selling them on eBay or Craiglist. Take a look around and if your kids haven’t played with something in the past year, sell or donate. If you plan to sell on Craigslist read this article for tips http://moneysavingmom.com/2009/03/guest-post-successfully-selling-on-craigslist.html.
Is it in good shape?
If you have puzzles missing pieces or broken robots, it may be time to toss them, but try Freecyling them first. http://www.freecycle.org/ is a free online community where people offer unwanted items to keep them out of the landfill. It is not needs-based, and you can choose who you give the items to. Crafters often use broken toys and puzzle pieces, so before you toss, try to find a taker! Do not donate items to charity that are broken or missing pieces, that is a big no-no and the IRS only allows a deduction for items in good condition. You can also ask for items on Freecycle! If you have toys in good condition to donate, check out these articles http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505144_162-37043554/old-toys-4-tips-when-donating-them-to-charity/ and http://www.ehow.com/how_2042415_donate-childrens-toys.html for some donation tips.
Do you still use it?
Perhaps you have friends with younger kids and babies that come visit. By all means, save some baby toys for them. The Slip n’ Slide isn’t used year-round but if you do use it in warm weather then hang on to it. Don’t overpurge!
How do you begin your purge? I begin mine when the children are otherwise occupied. Our toys are stored in baskets and buckets, so I go through one at a time looking for items they don’t play with. This is also a great time to put all the Legos back in one place, since they tend to end up everywhere! This year I purged a large Hot Wheels track, lots of Happy Meal Toys, stuffed animals, and a box of baby clothes.
And in case you need tips or products to get organized, check out the following links: