Organize Your Children’s Toys
With the holidays as a parent of young children, you are bracing for a barrage of new toys, books and games. I know what you are thinking; “ugh…more stuff.” Well, more stuff certainly can seem overwhelming if you are already busting at the seams. Want to know the secret to making room for new? Take the time now to go through the old. Here we offer tips and suggestions for wrangling the clutter and gaining control over the toy chaos in your home.
First, take stock of what you have and make piles of things that fall into the following categories:
- Age appropriate: If you have more than one child, odds are you have hung on to infant and toddler toys the belonged to your oldest child for your younger ones to use. The first and easiest thing to do is make a pile of all the toys, books and games that are too young for your kids. Set those items aside. Your kids can help with this process. I’ll tell you what to do with them further down in this article.
- Make a pile of random pieces: As you go through your children’s toys you will begin to discover random pieces of toys and games. Make a pile of all these pieces. You’ll need to go through it later.
- Toys that are broken/missing pieces: Any toys that are broken or games that are missing pieces aren’t doing you or your children any good. They are just taking up valuable space in your home. Look through your pile of random/stray toys and pieces to see if you can salvage anything. Anything that is beyond salvageable should be recycled or thrown out.
- Corral similar toys in bins, baskets, boxes…whatever you have to keep things from being splayed out across the family room floor. Under the bed tubs are perfect storage for dress-ups, Barbies, LEGO’s and other collections of items. My daughter keeps all of her stuffed animals that are out of rotation under her bed as well as craft items that I don’t want cluttering up her space.
Now comes the fun part: what to do with toys, books and games that are still in great condition, but are no longer being used in your home. My favorite solution is to donate these items to organizations that could really benefit from your generous donation. Since the month of December is about giving to those less fortunate, this is the perfect time of year to bestow quality used items to those in need. Here is a list of places that are always receptive to donations. Call beforehand to make drop off arrangements.
- Local battered women’s shelter: Most women who are seeking a safe haven have young children in tow. Your generous donation of gently used toys, books and even clothing will be greatly appreciated.
- Your church: Every church has a children’s nursery. Due to budget constraints, churches rely on donations of toys to keep their nursery’s fresh and updated. This is an easy way to contribute to your church in a non-monetary fashion.
- Pre-schools: Have your children “graduated” from preschool? As alums, give your children an opportunity to make a donation to their favorite classroom or teacher. The school will appreciate your donation and it’s a great lesson in generosity for your child.
- Pediatric ward of your local hospital: Every pediatric ward is in need of gently used toys, books and games for children who are patients and siblings that come to visit. We recently made a donation of gently used books to our local hospital and they were extremely appreciative. It was really easy, too. I arranged a drop off time with their coordinator who met me outside with a wagon. We loaded the books from my car into her wagon and within minutes were on our way back home. It was THAT easy and now books that were collecting dust on our shelves are being enjoyed by children while they recover in the hospital.
Yes, it’s a pain to sort through your children’s toys, but it can be done in just a few hours. Think of it this way: while controlling clutter in your home and making room for more age appropriate toys, you can participate in the season of giving by donating what you no longer use to others who will truly appreciate your gift.