Toy Donations… what to do with all those toys BEFORE the holidays!

It’s almost October! You know what that means?? The holidays are just around the corner! And with the holidays comes all the excess. Excess candy, excess food…and excess toys! Don’t get me wrong I love the excess. It’s part of the holiday excitement. What I don’t love is waking up on December 26th and wonder where the hell I’m putting all these toys!!  Actually I’m lying. I never wonder. I always have a plan guys. I’m a professional organizer! So here’s what I do year round to keep the toys from taking over….

Purge!!  That’s it. You can’t magically create a larger space so you need to keep items that are only serving you, or your kids in this instance.  But since most kids have a hard time letting go of toys even if they don’t use them anymore, I have several different methods I use throughout the year. I do purges every couple of months so it doesn’t get so overwhelming to them. 

1. The easiest thing is to go through all the junky toys. Party favors, carnival prizes, anything broken or incomplete. Toss it. They really don’t remember they even have it.


2. Move items around. Do they not play with it because it’s hard to get to or hidden? Bring it front and center.  If it continues to go unplayed with it’s time to let it go.

3. Remove items you KNOW they haven’t touched in months. Things they are too old for, aren’t interested in etc. Bring it to the basement or garage or wherever you can hide it and see if they notice. They usually don’t. After a couple of weeks tell them what you took. This is risky but I’ve had success with my kids realizing they don’t use it. We always talk about how lucky they are and if they truly aren’t using it anymore another little kid would love it. You can always just donate it instead of risking the tantrum but I like my kids to understand the why.

4. Have them choose where it’s going. Instead of just dropping it off at a thrift store call daycares and pre schools or post it on your towns  Facebook page. Tell them “oh maybe someone in our town would love this. Let’s just put it on and see.”  I did this with a Frozen castle they never used but really didn’t want to part with.  A local mom immediately snagged it for her Frozen obsessed toddler. By the time she came to pick it up they had added an Elsa doll , Elsa crocs my oldest had grown out of,  and Frozen soccer cleats because they asked her mom if she played and was told she just signed up for soccer. I was so proud of them, they were excited and that little girl was happy! 

5. Give them a box to fill before their birthdays. Give them ideas about things you want them to donate. Remind them that haven’t played with it in months. Keep an eye on them though. The first time I did this my youngest filled up her box fairly quickly but with her sisters toys!

6. Use Santa!  Each December when our elf comes back we use this to our advantage. Early on our elf will appear with a box and leave a note that says something along the lines of please help Santa give all the children a wonderful Christmas by sending me some toys and games you don’t use anymore. We will make them good as new at the North Pole. Their elf will come back when they have filled the box. So the quicker they do it the quicker their elf returns. Just make sure you actually donate them immediately so they don’t question why they aren’t at the North Pole!! This is bribery for sure but effective.

7. We also go on new “stuff” hiatuses. We try not to purchase any new toys or games from September until Christmas. Whenever they say they want or need something we tell them to put it on their Christmas list. I will buy craft supplies here and there but only if there truly is nothing else we can substitute for what they are making.


That’s really all I do. Kids are constantly bringing things into the house so you have to keep up with the pace. Doing a good sort and purge on a consistent basis will help keep the holiday excess from spiraling out of control! Did I miss anything? How do you control the toy chaos? Let us know in the comments!

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