Once your have determined the space in which you will be working (typically the child’s room or playroom, or wherever the majority of toys are stored), begin by carrying an empty laundry basket throughout the house and filling it with all toys that have made their way into other rooms. When you have gathered all the toys in the outlying rooms, deposit those toys somewhere in the room where you will be conducting your purge. A pile off to the side is fine, as long as you leave enough floor space for the four sifting piles. You may need to make several trips with your laundry basket to transfer all the scattered toys to the working room.
THE SIFTING PILES
This part of the project is essentially like sorting laundry. In the room in which you will be working, create four separate spaces: The Pieces Pile, The Keep Pile, The Pass On Pile, and The Donate Pile.
A large trash bag can serve as a receptacle for the Keep, Discard, and Pass On piles, as long as you can remember which one is which. Do not attempt to eliminate The Keep Pile by leaving the toys you intend to retain in their current location.
The Pieces Pile.
This pile is a temporary place to keep play sets that have pieces. You may think that all the slides from that ViewMaster are long gone, but you’ll be surprised at the pieces and parts you uncover as you sift through the mountain of toys. You may have some complete sets that you had given up hope on ever putting back together.
Put loose pieces in a sealable bag, and when you have a complete set (or have located all the pieces that you can), move the set to one of the destination piles.
The Keep Pile
Obviously, this pile is for the toys and books that you intend to keep in your house. If it’s something your child plays with regularly or asks about when it’s not in front of him, it should probably stay in this pile.
The Discard Pile
This is the trash pile. It’s the pile of toys that would have no more value to anyone else than they do to you.
Discerning which items should go to the Discard Pile as opposed to the Donate Pile can sometimes be challenging. Here are a few guidelines:
- Worn or broken items should be tossed. Most places that take donations try to sell the items they receive. If you’re looking at a toy that you would never buy off a shelf at a resale store, chances are it belongs in the discard pile. Don’t donate a bunch of junk. It will just get thrown away and waste the time of overworked employees and volunteers.
- If the toy is missing most of its pieces, it probably belongs in the discard pile.
- Stuffed animals are very difficult to clean and can look worn after just one washing. Unless Winnie the Pooh has not been played with and still looks brand new, he belongs in the discard pile.
- Personalized or monogrammed toys usually need to be thrown away, because the chances of someone finding it who has the same name as your child are pretty slim.
The Pass On Pile