Most people do a once a year ‘spring clean’. I, on the other hand, clean ALL the time. It’s like a sickness that I have. I can be at a dinner party and insist on washing the dishes, hell, I can just be at a friend’s house and wash the dishes just for the fun of it. My first college roommate – my sister for life, my partner in cleanliness – and I used to scare people away from our dorm, the room was so clean. I’m not into clutter. If I can live in a white box, I would.
As far as my kids and cleaning out their
crap stuff, I do it twice a year. Once just before Big Sister’s birthday in the summer. The second, six months later just before the holidays, in order to prevent hoarding or me losing my mind. Here are two ways to help you clean out your kids toys/clothes as new ones make their way into your home later this month:
- Do this at a time that works best for you and your child/children but mine works best while she’s at school or asleep. Toys are out of sight out of mind with my kid. With two garbage bags, I go through the girls’ toy bins and throw away missing pieces, broken toys, those annoying birthday loot bag giveaways, really crappy toys etc – in one bag and in the other, I place toys that are good enough to pass along but bad enough (or big enough) that you no longer want them in your house. That bag I donate, usually at our local Salvation Army or any local charity accepting gently used toys. With clothes, I prefer passing them down to friends, the rest I submit to charity. Goodwill is best because they even take the stained ones – they recycle them, therefore not ending up in some landfill. Also, if you live in the NYC area, you may run into a yellow Planet Aid bin. Drop clothes in here instead of the trash, unwearable items are submitted to textile recyclers.
When making donations I recommend getting your children involved. It’s a great way to practice and teach the act of giving and community service. It can be a tradition, donating the toys that made them happy and offering them to bring joy to someone else who may not get a present or as many presents during the holidays.
- One’s old things become someone else’s new-to-me things! It’s also a great way to earn a little money or store credit for new needs. Go to your local children’s consignment shop and inquire what they are taking in at the moment. If it’s clothes, it is usually in-season items. They may also take the baby gear you no longer have room for, the bike or scooter your kid grew out of, DVDs and CDs you just want to get rid of or those multiple books of Goodnight Moon your little one got on his/her 1st birthday. Remember, when submitting materials for consignment, turn in items that you yourself would want to purchase and own. If you do not have a consignment shop near you, don’t fret my friend, just log onto thredUP. Purchase a bag for a refundable $4.95 and once you get it fill it all the way up, return it and after reviewing your items they pay you out or issue a store credit. Just please make sure your items meet their standards.
So there you go. Not only have you de-cluttered but you have (possibly) also earned some beer or ice cream money (perhaps even more), brought joy to those in need, taught your child/children good values in life, practiced some ‘green’ living and more importantly, you accomplished a household task you’ve put off for months and in some cases — years!