Kids grow up way too fast; it’s an unfortunate fact of life. Another unfortunate fact is that you also have to deal with everything they grow out of as they age. One of the biggest space eaters in your home is probably your children’s old toys. Whether it’s a huge dollhouse or rails upon rails of track for toy cars, toys can take up more space than you think. If you want to pass on the fun of your kid’s old toys, the best way to do that is to donate them. Before you do, though, you should check out these tips for donating your kid’s old toys so that you know the best practices for getting rid of your child’s previously loved items.
Include Your Kids in the Decision
Normally, the first step to any donation process is deciding exactly what needs to be donated and what you’re going to keep. This is a tough enough process already, but it becomes even more important when it’s your kids’ things you want to donate. The last thing you want to do is give up a toy in which they are still emotionally invested. That’s why it’s crucial to get your kids involved in that decision-making process.
They may not love the idea of giving up anything that was once theirs, but a calm explanation of why you’re doing this can appeal to their better nature. Tell your child that those toys they don’t play with anymore will go to another kid somewhere else who may not have any toys at all. Ask them how they would feel if they didn’t have any toys and let them know that they won’t be losing all their toys, just the ones that they don’t play with anymore.
Stick to Higher-Quality Toys
Every donation matters, but you can make an even bigger difference for those involved by donating the nicer toys you may have bought your child. You’ll inevitably accumulate a sizeable portion of cheap toys from fast-food restaurants or arcade games, and these are perfectly valid donations. The only problem is that they are usually of lower quality and break or get ruined much quicker.
Before you donate something, it pays to check it over and make sure that it still works and that all the pieces are still present. As toys age, especially without maintenance, they can break down. To avoid your kind donation having to be recycled for parts, give everything an inspection before you donate. Make sure that board games have all their important pieces and that mechanical toys aren’t in poor shape.
Make It a Routine
As with any sort of decluttering, having a routine is ideal for keeping you on track. Parents know that new toys seem to spring up out of the ground and can quickly get out of control. Try to set a timeline of how often you would like to purge the excess. It doesn’t have to be every week, or even every month, but every few months it will be worth it to go through everything and get rid of what you don’t need anymore.
Having a routine can also normalize this process for your children. If they are making regular donations, you are teaching them the value of empathy and generosity, behaviors that don’t always come naturally to children. Keeping them involved in each time you go through their toys for donations can help them feel like they are important and that their opinions are valued.
Keep Education in Mind
While the process of getting rid of your child’s old toys may be hard, there are certain things to keep in mind that will help you decide what’s worth keeping. Toys are an integral part of a child’s early learning, but once they’ve outgrown them, they will rarely return to those toys. These are the perfect toys to consider donating because your child doesn’t need them anymore, they’ve moved onto new toys, and you can help someone else in need teach their children the lessons those toys impart.
Wash Anything Made of Fabric
A stuffed animal is a wonderful thing to donate to someone else’s child, but there is a little bit of prep work that should go into it beforehand. Just to ensure maximum cleanliness, washing your stuffed animals or baby blankets is appreciated and helps the donation process go smoother. Not only is this good for hygiene purposes, but it also helps the stuffed animal or blanket look and feel newer.
Keep in mind that not everything can be thrown into your washer. If your stuffed animals have battery packs in them, or if they are stuffed with something other than cotton or wool, you could end up making them worse by cleaning them in your washing machine. Also, remember that the best way to dry them is to hang them up to air dry; machine dryers can be rather tough on softer materials.
Keep Everything Organized
If you’d like to make the process of sorting easier on your local GreenDrop donation center, organizing your child’s old toys by category can be very helpful. Organizing by toy type, board games, and playsets can make a difference in how quickly we can sort and process items. For larger toys, try to keep all their pieces together so that another child has a chance to play with them as they were meant to be used.
This is also another great way to get your children involved. Lay out their toys to be donated and have a box for each category. Ask them which one should go where and watch them get more enthusiastic about the idea of giving than you’ve seen before.
Hopefully, these tips for donating your kid’s old toys has helped you realize the benefits of doing so and has made you think about donating to one of GreenDrop’s many locations. You can easily schedule a donation pickup online—you won’t even have to leave your house to help out your community. Any and all donations are extremely appreciated.