So what do you do with those items that can be passed on to other children? There are many options, and the right one depends a lot on the condition of the toy.
Second-hand shops will pay you a small amount of money for items they think they can resell. This is a great option for toys and books that are in “like new” condition. They must be clean and show little to no signs of wear. Before you take a toy to a resale shop, ask yourself if you would be willing to buy that toy off a shelf.
If you have every piece to Diego’s Talking Rescue Center, but Diego has teeth marks from that time the dog got a hold of him, the set is not a candidate for resale.
Donations. Most people don’t know this, but the requirements for donating items to charity can be nearly as stringent as those for offering items for resale. Many nonprofit organizations are looking for toys and books that they can resell at a very low price. If it doesn’t qualify as “resalable,” it can get thrown away. Check with your intended charity beforehand on what condition they want their donations to be in. Again, if it’s trash, don’t donate it. If you would never pay money for it, don’t donate it. If you do donate it, please make sure that it has been thoroughly cleaned and is in working condition.
The exception would be a hospital, doctor’s office, or women’s shelter, where toys are for free use and don’t have to be in perfect condition. The Diego set mentioned above would be a good candidate for this type of donation because the set is in perfect working condition but shows minor evidence of wear and tear.
If you are donating to a nonprofit organization, be sure to keep an inventory of the things you give. This will help you arrive at a fair market value for receipt and tax purposes, and also come in handy if you ever get audited.
Hand-me-downs are another form of donation. Friends and family with younger children are often glad to receive the gently used items your children have outgrown. Just be sure you check with the receiving party first to make sure they’re interested before you start dropping things off on their doorstep.
Garage Sales are an obvious choice, and if you have items that you’re really on the fence about throwing in The Discard Pile, you might as well try to offer them in a garage sale, because you never know what people will buy. Just don’t expect to get more than about 10% of the original price of the toy.
If you don’t have the time or opportunity to host your own garage sale, see if you can get in on the action with some friends or neighbors who are having one. To increase your traffic, check with your HOA to see if there’s a set date for neighborhood-wide garage sales.