If you ever meet me in person, I will tell you within the first five minutes that I am a toy guy. I love playing with toys, collecting toys, and reviewing toys. I love toys so much that I started getting toys for children that I didn’t even have yet. Back in 1999, I began collecting the Star Wars LEGO sets as they were released, and I kept them in their original packaging to share them with my future children.
Nearly 20 years later, my kids are ages 6 and 10, and we are busting into my Star Wars LEGO collection one set at a time. I always post an image of what we are building, and it is often met with horror at me opening collectible sets that are that old.
The bad thing about buying toys for kids you don’t already have is that you accumulate many, many toys. Then, the kids come along and they get even more toys. Then, if you review toys, you get even more toys. Throw in trips to fast food places and you get even more toys. The next thing you know you are in a little plastic prison of your own making. So how do you cut the clutter?
Throw Them Away
One seemingly obvious option to get rid of old toys: throw them away. But, is this the BEST option? Not even close. We had a family friend that would throw away all their old toys the day after Christmas. Every Year! What a waste! Not to mention how those toys are just sitting in landfills. Sure, some of them can be put into your recycling, but not all of them. A better solution for toys that are still in usable condition would be to find them a new home or purpose them in creative ways.
Give Them Away
We try to get as organized as possible when Christmas approaches, and that means cleaning up the toy area. I go through the toys with the kids to see if there are any they no longer want. Then, we take those toys and pass them along to their younger cousins as long as they are clean and not broken. Fellow Toy Insider Parent, Stephanie Glover, even suggests having a toy swap party!
Toys cost a lot of money, so why not recoup a bit of it and clear them out of your house? You can use services like eBay, Amazon.com and more to sell gently used or new toys your kids are not into anymore. You can also look for a local consignment shop. We found some great baby toys at these kind of shops. I am tempted to buy a table at a local comic book convention to sell some of my more geeky items.
Many charitable organizations will take used toys, like Savers. I bring almost anything to Savers and they resell it in their store for extremely low prices to those in need. Goodwill and The Salvation Army are other charity thrift stores that will accept toys. You can get a receipt for the toys and take this as a deduction on your taxes, too. Fellow Toy Insider Parent, Charlene DeLoach, has great suggestions on some ways to donate toys.
Stuffed animals are being donated, too and there are some great programs out there that help out children in crisis situations. Fellow Toy Insider Parent, Tim Burns, wrote about how to donate stuffed animals.
You can look through Pinterest top find all sorts of projects that people have done with old toys. Lamps, picture frames, and even corn on the cob holders have been created with repurposed old toys. One of my favorite examples of repurposed toys are LEGO minifigs that are used to hold charging wires for phones. I’ve been meaning to take a few of my minifigs and use them for that exact purpose.
What are your ideas for clearing out old toys?