Old Toy Toss-Out: What To Do With the Toys Your Child No Longer Wants

Toys have a way of taking over. One day your child's favorite toy gets tossed to the side, but it may be a while before you even notice it hasn't been played with recently. Soon, new toys replace the old. If you aren't careful toys will invade every nook and cranny of your home. Toys can sometimes linger for no other reason than you are not sure what to do with them. Here are some options for how to handle an old toy toss!

old toy
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  • List your toys in your local Buy Nothing or Freecycle group. You might be able to pass along your old toys and find some new ones at the same time.
  • Donate toys to a local daycare or preschool so that lots of kids can enjoy the same toys your child loved.
  • List toys for sale on Craig's List or Facebook Marketplace. If a toy is in great shape and hard to find, you may want to try eBay.
  • See if a local Children's Hospital will accept your old toys.  Hospitals can be boring places for kids and a new-to-them toy can help make their visit a little better.  Many hospitals have rules for donated toys (for example, some will not accept stuffed animals that cannot be disinfected) and some only accept new toys, so check before you do a drop-off.
  • Ask friends or neighbors if they would like your old toys.  It's always nice to pass along once-loved toys to other children you know will enjoy them.
  • Save a few!  You don't want to clutter your space with too many old toys, but it's nice to have one or two on-hand when young kids come to visit as your kids get older.  
  • Hold a yard sale.  Toys aren't cheap and it's nice to be able to recoup some of your investment.
  • Find a needy family.  Even when times are tough for parents their kids still need to be kids and play.  An organization that helps refugees resettle or a church may be able to put you in touch with a family in need.
  • Drop old toys off at a thrift store.  Not only will another child get a chance to play with the toys, but you will get a tax deduction.  Most thrift stores donate profits to a good cause, like helping Veterans or the homeless, so you will be doing good at the same time.
  • Schedule a pick-up.  Sites like DonationTown will put you in touch with an organization that will pick-up gently used stuffed animals and other toys.
  • Find a way to re-purpose old toys.  This list from Apartment Therapy has lots of great ideas from using old Legos to build a flowerpot to incorporating Army men into your household decor.
  • For toys that are in very good shape, a consignment store might be a good way to recoup some money you can use to invest in new toys.
  • If you don't have the time and energy to do much with your toys, you don't need to throw them out.  Put your toys outside with a big “Free” sign and post a “Curb Alert” message on your neighborhood listserv and Facebook page.  

{ MORE: Does Your Kid Want to Sit on Santa's Lap? If Not, Here's How to Help Them Enjoy Santa! }

Remember that not all of your trash is someone else's treasure.   Anything broken can be tossed without guilt.  Maybe your little one didn't mind playing with a one-armed doll that was once beloved, but chances are another child won't give a second glance.  Any toy that has been recalled should be trashed.  

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However you decide to do your old toy toss, you will be glad to get them out of your house!

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Old Toy Toss-Out: What To Do With the Toys Your Child No Longer Wants

Jamie is a Beltway Insider who loves channeling her pre-motherhood love of traveling into spending time exploring all D.C. has to offer with her brood of two girls and two boys ages 9, 7,5, and a baby. She is a reformed lawyer turned full-time kid wrangler who enjoys photographing her everyday chaos and anything salted caramel. Since life is never dull, she loves writing about the issues and events going on in her life at any given time, including caring for a daughter with special needs and th ... More

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