The Toy Purge

The thought of purging toys in our house is not only frowned upon, but viewed as completely asinine by Hubs and #1. I, on the other hand, relish toy purge day! So, let me tell you how I rid our house of unwanted, unloved toys without two major toy collectors noticing.

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How to Know When It’s Time

A lot of Mom’s will struggle to purge their children’s toys. I mean, these are their treasured items. Things that they’ve played with since they were gurgle-y, googly, little bundles of joy.

While these things are adorable, and some should be saved as mementos, it’s important to remember that nine times out of 10, they are little bits of plastic that can be easily parted with.

It’s important to not get caught up in the sentimentality of the toys, but stay focused on the mess they create.

So, the real question is ‘When will I know it’s time to purge the toys?’

When You’re Tripping Over Toys

I know you’ve been there. That dreaded Lego under foot.

Tiny dinosaur figures are about the same, especially if they’re a Stegosaurus.

If a day doesn’t go by without you tripping over a toy, it’s time to take action.

When The Toys Don’t ‘Have a Home’

If you’re anything like me, you can’t stand a mess, so you take your precious time to organize the toys almost every day.

The Toy Story toys go here, the dinosaurs go there, the play food toys are sorted into ‘refrigerated’ items and produce in his pretend grocery store. (Yes, I really do that.)

It’s time consuming and overwhelming. And, after awhile, the toys begin to multiply and outgrow their ‘home.’

The container that holds the Star Wars toys is packed full. You can’t cram another Paw Patrol figure into the lunchbox that stores those.

Rather than figure out new and larger locations to store these growing collections, take your time to purge the unnecessary.

Just Before Holiday Season

Just prior to the holidays is a perfect time to purge! You’ll be able to free up space for the impending presents from Santa.

And, you may even be able to enlist your child’s help if they know they’re making room for new toys.

Count birthday season as a holiday, too, and purge right before the big day!

How to Purge Without Notice

The trickiest part of purging isn’t when to purge, though. It’s how to purge without a child getting in the way.

Do it During Nap Time

Your best bet for purging is doing it while your child isn’t around. Whether they’re taking a nap, occupied by Dad, or simply engrossed in another activity.

This will allow you to sort, organize and purge, all without your child swearing that they love that McDonald’s toy you found under their bed that you haven’t seen since it came out of a Happy Meal three months ago.

Believe me, if they see the toys and know they’re going, they’ll automatically become their must-have, can’t-live-without, all-time-favorite toy!

And when that happens, nothing will make it out the door.

Use a Solid Bag

Occasionally I’ve been lucky enough to get away with purging right in front of #1.

How did I pull that one off? I used a reusable bag, slung over my shoulder. A bag he couldn’t see through, and one I wouldn’t let him peer into.

While he busied himself with toys he actually does play with, I sneakily went behind him and snagged up toys that hadn’t been touched in months.

I quickly stuff the unloved toys into my reusable bag. When the bag is full, I call my covert op a success and put the bag in the trunk of my car until my next drive by Goodwill.

Don't get overrun with toys. Rather than taking the time to trip over, organize and resort toys, take the time to purge them from the stash.

It’s Not a Punishment

Some parents will choose to purge toys in front of their children as a punishment.

Don’t. Just don’t.

There are better ways to discipline your child then ridding them of their beloved toys. You wouldn’t want someone taking away your prized possessions because you screwed something up.

A toy purge is not a punishment. It’s a way to make room for other things while keeping your home organized.

The Proper Way to Purge

So that you know the best time to purge, let’s talk about what to do with all those extra toys.

Can You Make Money From it?

Because you know you’re going to be buying more toys eventually.

Is the toy you’re purging in good condition? Did it cost a lot when purchased new? Would someone else be interested in paying a fraction of the cost to take it off your hands?

I can recommend Facebook Marketplace for selling your surplus of toys. Try it out, just make sure to meet your buyer in a public location and not at your house. And, if your toy doesn’t sell after a while, donate it instead.

Will Someone Else Benefit From it?

If the toy is still in decent condition but you feel like you can’t make much money off of it, donate it.

Nearly every city has a Goodwill or Salvation Army that will gladly take it off your hands. And, if they decide not to resell it, they’ll take care of the recycling or disposal for you.

Alternatively, you could donate toys to:

  • Your local YMCA
  • Public recreation centers
  • Libraries
  • Childcare centers
  • Your church’s nursery
  • Friends with children

Trash is Just Trash

Let’s face it. Sometimes, you’ve got to call it like you see it. Trash is not always another man’s treasure. No, sometimes it’s just trash.

While those McDonald’s toys could be considered collectibles by some, they’re considered trash by others.

The same goes for the packaging of Mash ‘Ems, blind bags, and the like. The inventory checklists can be recycled and so can some of the plastic containers the toys come in.

Broken toys are trash, too. If the toy is in disrepair, just pitch it, rather than donating it. And, if you wouldn’t buy it, don’t bother trying to sell it.

Be truthful with yourself. Not everything is a treasure.

The Hard Truth

Sometimes, and rarely, your child will mention a toy from the past that you’ve parted with. I’m always honest and tell #1 that I got rid of that specific toy.

He usually gets fussy but gets over it quickly. And, this way, he won’t think he lost the toy and be upset at himself over it.

The Beauty of it All

You now have more room to store things, like more toys, because you know you struggle to say no to that sweet face.

And, if your child really is upset about the loss of a specific toy, chances are, you can find it on Amazon or eBay and order a replacement.

Just don’t forget to purge something else in it’s place.

Don't get overrun with toys. Rather than taking the time to trip over, organize and resort toys, take the time to purge them from the stash.
When should I purge my child’s toys?

It’s time to purge your child’s toys when you’re tripping over them, when your toy storage is overflowing, and/or when the holiday season is upon you.

What’s the best way to purge my child’s toys?

Purge your child’s toys when they’re napping, occupied with someone or something else, or even secretively in front of them. Just remember that toy purging should not be a punishment.

What should I do with old toys?

If they’re in good condition and cost a lot when you purchased them – sell them. If they’re in good condition but were inexpensive – donate them. If they’re in disrepair – trash them.

Good luck with your toy purge!

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