The holidays have come and gone, and I’m staring at a playroom that has subsequently turned into toy-aftermath.  Legos are strung from closet to window, books are scattered amongst the stuffed animals, and there’s a part of a light saber staring at me from under the hide-a-bed we have in there.  I thought I had done a good job (pat on the back) of sifting through toys before the holidays to make room for new ones, but I could not predict the onslaught of plastic and battery-operated perephenalia that would engulf the southwest corner of our home.

I have an opportunity in a week or so where I will be childless for a few hours.  And, in that small block of time, I plan on overhauling that war zone in my home that has declared battle on my bare feet and my compulsive desire to clean.  I’m going to purge.

There are several ways to purge, and getting children involved can be helpful as well, depending on the end result.  Here are a few ideas to try (or at least help spur your own ideas):

  1. Think Taxes And Donate!  Gather up old or no-longer-used items and make a donation to your local children’s center, family shelter, church or Goodwill.  And guess what?  You can use the value of the toys as a tax deduction next year!  Save any receipts you receive, take pictures of the donated items, and keep a detailed list.  A little legwork will go far with the Internal Revenue Service.
  2. Get On Board The Toy-Go-Round!  Rotate your child’s toys.  Pack up about 1/2 to 2/3 of their toys, depending on the amount that is available.  Put them in totes or boxes in a closet or the attic.  Your child can better appreciate the toys that are available, and in a month or two, rotate the toys out with ones in storage – it will be like a birthday! 
  3. Divide And Conquer!  Do you have a babysitter?  Maybe a grandparent you see on a regular basis?  Pass along some of the goodies to another house.  The kids will have familiar toys available at the other place, you can pare down your own supply, and the other party doesn’t feel obligated to purchase things to keep your children occupied while at their house!
  4. Dare I Say – REGIFT?  Yes, I’ve been known to do it.  When we received over twenty gifts at one birthday with my older child, we opened a few to play with at the party, but most of the rest were quickly forgotten when the guests left and the wrapping paper was thrown away.  The key is to carefully regift:  don’t regift to friends if a friend gave the gift – chances are, they’ll know about it.  We have regifted to cousins or other out-of-town relatives; and gifts received from these have been regifted to friends.  There is no reason to have four Lightning McQueen cars…why not share the wealth?

Hopefully, in a couple of weeks, I’ll have a better handle on our playroom.  And maybe I’ll be able to walk across the floor barefooted again, without the fear of injury via Legos.