With Christmas just around the corner and Santa prepping his sleigh for the big night, it’s always a good idea to do some pre-Christmas closet cleaning and toy box decluttering. But how do you know which clothes and toys to throw away, and which ones to keep? Below are some handy tips to help you get those areas cleaned out before the big day is here.
- Start with three large storage bins–one for toys to keep, one for toys to throw away and one for toys to donate or sell. Depending upon how many toys your kids have accumulated, you may need more than one bin for each category.
- Your first target should be to identify any toys that are broken, worn out or missing irretrievable pieces. These types of toys have a way of avoiding detection when they’re part of a huge pile, but you’d be surprised how many of them will fall into this category. This includes toys that may have been sun-bleached from being left outside too many times, or victimized by a battery acid leak, or simply worn out from months of heavy-handed play. They’re generally not salvageable, and they’re not really fit for giving or donating to someone else. If they hold little to no sentimental value, these types of toys have to go in the “Throw Away” bin.
- Next, take note of which toys are still in decent shape, but haven’t been played with in quite a while. Whether your child’s outgrown it or no longer has an interest in playing with it, if it’s been four to six months since a toy has received any attention, it’s time to sell it on eBay or donate it to a local charity, such as Goodwill or the Salvation Army. The better condition the toy is in, the more of a candidate it will be for selling on eBay. If it’s in a fairly worn condition (but not completely worn out), you may not attract as many bidders or buyers, and you’ll probably be better off just donating it instead.
- More than likely there are some large or bulky toys that are taking up lots of space in another area – Fischer-Price play sets, large dollhouses or castles, learning or activity stations, etc. If they’ve been neglected in recent months, you can either store them in the attic or garage, or donate them to charity.
- The younger your children are, the easier this process will be. With younger children, the “out of sight, out of mind” rule definitely applies, so you can easily purge toys that they haven’t played with in a long time without anyone being the wiser. For older children, a little more thought and care will be required. Explain that the only way to make room for the new toys Santa wants to bring is to get the old ones out of the way. Then ask them which toys they would like to donate to kids who are less fortunate.
- As with the toys, you’re going to need a storage bin system for clothes, except this time make one bin for keeping clothes that are currently in season (i.e., fall/winter clothes), one bin for spring/summer clothes that need to be stored away and one bin for clothes that need to be given away or donated. While you’re at it, why not tackle your closet and those of your children.
- The first order of business is to pull all of the clothes out of your closets–and yes, all means all. You won’t be able to make meaningful progress until you know exactly what you’re working with.
- For your own clothes: Before you even sort out which clothes are spring/summer versus fall/winter, take an honest look at what you have and think about which pieces you haven’t worn in a long time. If it’s been a year or more since you’ve even worn something, ask yourself if you’re really even interested in keeping it anymore. Chances are, those items are just taking up space in your closet, so it’s probably time to donate them or give them away. Add to that bin first, and then you can put all of your spring/summer “keepers” into their corresponding storage bin. Now you’ll have only fall/winter clothes remaining, which will give you a much more accurate picture of what you actually have to wear for the current season.
- For your children’s clothes: The bin for spring/summer clothing storage can serve a couple of different purposes: For one, if you have kids who are different ages but the same gender, you can store any spring/summer clothes that the older sibling(s) may have outgrown, but will fit the younger sibling(s) when the spring and summer months roll around.
- Also, there may be some spring/summer clothes that you purchased (or were given to you) that are currently too big for your child to wear, but will probably fit just fine when spring/summer comes; store those clothes as well.
- For any clothes that are too small for any of your children, it’s time to let them go; put them in the donation bin. At this point, you should be left with only the fall/winter clothes that fit your children’s current size, and you’ll probably have more free closet space than you’ve seen in a long time.