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Clear out toys before Christmas

Clear out toys before Christmas
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Are you dreading the influx of toys during the festive season? Follow these tips to give yourself some space

Sorry to mention the C-word when it’s not even December – but I promise that it’s easier to get this job done now, rather than during the run-up to the big day. Christmas brings with it a whole shed-load of new possessions, and children seem to do particularly well out of it. So it makes sense to have a quick toy cull before the festive season.

Should I include my children in a pre-Christmas de-clutter?

Some families find it easier to include the children because that way they understand where their (former) possessions are going. Other families find it much easier to just ‘disappear’ toys. Previous experience will give you an idea of what is best for your family, bearing in mind, of course, how fast children learn and grow. 

What should I do with unwanted toys?

Think about the routes toys take out of your house. You can bin them, recycle them, sell them or donate them.

Toy waste

Be honest when toys have reached the end of their life. If it’s broken and can’t be repaired, it needs to enter the waste stream. Plastic toys are often not marked so it is hard to recycle them, but do it if you can. And you may be able to recycle parts of a toy if you dismantle it -- this could be a fun activity for certain children! Electronic toys need to be properly disposed of so check Recycle Now’s directory to find out your local arrangements. 

Selling toys

As well as Ebay, look out for nearly-new sales, or use peer-to-peer local selling sites like the various groups on Facebook. Larger toys, or bundles of toys often fetch the best prices. And make sure everything is clean and works properly, or you’ll end up with extra admin dealing with complaints.

Donating toys

Be a responsible donor: charity shops cannot sell broken or incomplete toys and end up paying to dispose of them. And broken toys may be unsafe, too. Many shops cannot sell toys that do not have a CE mark. And do your best to include instructions -- these are sometimes available on-line if you search. If in doubt, ring up and ask; and don’t be offended if an organisation refuses your donation. Toy libraries, toddler groups and nurseries are often glad of a few good quality toys, too. And don’t forget the toy tombola at the school Christmas fair. Schools are often glad of books, if that’s a problem in your house (see our recent post about overloaded book shelves !)

Regifting toys and hand-me-downs

Parents of younger children are often pleased to get a few clean ‘new-to-their-child’ toys. It could also help you feel as if you’ve got your money’s-worth from an expensive toy. And you might find your children are glad to give a younger friend a little present.

How can storage help manage toy clutter?

Storing toys away in your storage unit is a good step if you are not sure about getting rid of them just yet. It can also free up some space for Christmas decorations and guests, too. If your children don’t ask for an item in a couple of months, it’s probably safe to quietly dispose of it. Alternatively, children love novelty and will be thrilled to open a box of toys they haven’t seen for a few months. It’s certainly a cheap and easy treat for a wet Saturday afternoon.