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  • What do you do with old toys?

    I usually donate things that the kids have outgrown to Goodwill, but they’re not taking toys anymore due to all of the recalls. So now I’m not sure what to do with the five bags that are currently sitting in my upstairs hallway. Here are the ideas I’ve come up with so far, none of which are as effortless as simply loading up the car and heading to Goodwill:

    1. Find a different charity to take the toys. While this seems rather obvious, I’m not sure where to start. I’m going to ask around, though.
    2. Have a garage sale. Unfortunately, this isn’t easy because we don’t have a front yard (we live in a townhouse). Some friends have mentioned doing a group yard sale at one person’s house, which may or may not happen.
    3. Give them to or swap toys with a friend. I’ve tried this but can’t find any willing takers. I suppose some friends might want one or two pieces, but it would take way more time and energy than I have to dole the toys out a few at a time. One alternative I’ll consider is hosting a swap party, though again, I’m not sure where I’ll find the time and energy for that.
    4. Sell them on eBay. I just don’t think the return will be worth it.
    5. Take them to a consignment store. Unfortunately, I’m pretty confident only a few of the toys in the bag would be consignment-worthy. There are a lot of small toys in there, like rattles, links, and such.
    6. List them on a site like Freecycle or Craigslist. I’ve never used these sites, and I’ve heard both good and bad things, so I’m hesitant.

    I’d love to hear more suggestions, so if you have any, please leave a comment or send me an email at cfoblog [at] gmail [dot] com.


    1. I too have run into this problem as my children have aged. I usually can find a charitable group that is holding a yard sale and looking for good donations. Some in the recent past include local school groups, the animal shelter and church groups. They are pretty willing to take almost everything you have.

    2. Chief Family Officer says:

      Anon – That’s a good idea. I’ll keep an eye/ear out!

    3. Jen-fur Henry says:

      I contacted our local churches and found that one of the local catholic churches had a program for teen moms and that they were looking for donations of toys, clothing and baby items. I was happy to give them what I had.

      I have used Freecycle for other items with great success but some of that may depend on your geographic area. Mine is rural and fairly intimate. I’m not sure if an urban area would change your success rate.

      I also talked to coworkers or friends and discovered that many of them either had places that THEY donated to, or were involved community activities that could use donations. I discovered that our little town had a missionary program that brought toys,clothing, medicines to people in third world countries. I never would have expected that!

    4. Chief Family Officer says:

      @Jen-Fur – Thanks so much! Those are great ideas – I’ll contact some of the nearby churches first, and if that doesn’t pan out, I’ll keep asking around!

    5. I am a frequent user of Freecycle and I have been able to get rid of a lot of stuff! I highly recommend it.
      To me it’s worth it, especially if I can’t sell it, because at least that means it’s less clutter! That in itself is priceless!

    6. Angie at Baby Cheapskate says:

      Freepeats.org lets parents pass on (for free) gently-used toys and other baby and kid stuff to other parents locally.

      It’s opening in DC and Philly on Jan. 1 and it’s open in Atlanta now. It’s coming to over two dozen cities in 2008–including L.A.!!!

    7. Chief Family Officer says:

      @Jenny – Thanks! I might have to give Freecycle a try.

      @Angie – I’ve been waiting for Freepeats to come to LA. That would certainly make things easier! Thanks!

    8. I’m happy to present your post as part of the Happy New Year’s Carnival of Family Life which I am hosting tomorrow at Mixed Metaphor.net! Hope you’ll drop by the party and join in the festivities — we have many wonderful entries this week!