Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Donate your used toys

I don't know about you, but I've just spent the last week unpacking from holiday travels, taking down Christmas decorations and looking for the ideal place for those new toys.  This is the ideal time to hide away some of the unused toys for a rainy day and to get rid of others you are simply done with.  For the past few weeks, I've been throwing items - clothes, toys, household goods - into a box in my laundry room with the intent of dropping it off at Goodwill.  Then I got to thinking, maybe there is something more specific I can do with these good items.

With a little searching I found a list of places and organizations in my area that could really use my donations.  Here are some tips from Jennifer Swanson an organizing consultant and speaker here in MN.

For used toys, try contacting the following in your local area...
  • Day care facilities, church nurseries, preschools or early childhood family education programs
  • Children's hospitals
  • Police, sheriff, fire and emergency medical services (EMS) departments often need stuffed animals on hand to comfort children in frightening situations. Stuffed Animals For Emergencies (SAFE) accepts stuffed animals in their work with these and other emergency organizations.
  • Women's, children's or homeless shelters, or programs such as Project Night Night
  • Refugee or other social service agencies
  • Teen mom support programs
  • Animal shelters
  • Donation centers like Goodwill, Salvation Army, Lupus or Courage Center, VVA, etc. Some will even come to your home and pick up your items.
...and beyond...
  • Missionaries traveling to impoverished areas
  • Emergency (war, famine, epidemics or other disasters) relief programs
  • Children in Iraq
Other options to consider:
  • Sell your toys locally at a garage sale (yours or someone else's) or craigslist.org or worldwide on ebay.com. (Hint: if you choose well-made toys in the first place, you'll discover that they have good resale value). A warning about garage sales: these take a lot of time and you'll still have toys leftover.
  • Send them to relatives' or friends' homes so children have toys available when visiting.
  • Swap with other families.
In many cases, it's worth a try to post your toy(s) on Freecycle with an honest assessment of the condition. You're bound to find someone willing to make the repair if it means getting an otherwise great toy for free.

This seems like a good start to an organized, clutter free 2009!

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