Decluttering is a beneficial for our homes, but did you know your habit could benefit others as well? As you declutter, think about where to donate your toys, books, or games.
Why Donate Toys
Many times, toys, games, books, and other children’s items still have plenty of life left in them for someone else. Items such as stuffed animals, books, board games, or larger toys like play kitchens, are often left to collect dust in storage.
Why keep these toys stored away, or worse, throw them away when you can donate them to others!?
Here are a few benefits of donating toys:
- Clears your home
- Better behaved kids (read this post about kids who have less toys)
- More environmentally responsible
- Helps those in need
There truly are so many benefits to donating gently used toys, but where can you donate them?
Where to Donate Toys
Here are 10 great places to donate children’s toys, books, puzzles, or other items:
1. Donate Toys to Daycares
Have you ever seen Toy Story 3??
Most daycares are open to accepting donated toys in good used condition. With so many kids going through their care, they rotate and wear out toys quickly.
If you contact a local daycare in your area, even if your children do not attend it, they will probably receive your donations with gratitude! You could contact a daycare that a friend or family member attends, or pass the toy on to them to bring in.
Many churches take donations for their children’s nurseries or Sunday school classrooms. Some use the donations within their own programs, while others use them to pass along to families in need.
A few churches or religious organizations may even schedule a pickup of larger items. Be sure to contact your local church first if offering a larger item for donation, such as outdoor toys or even furniture.
3. Women’s Shelters
Can you imagine leaving an abusive situation with little to no warning? Women who stay in shelters have done this, often with children in tow.
Consider a local women’s shelter in your area as a place to donate your decluttered toys — or any other items.
Displaced children may find comfort in toys and books. They also may not have many items of their own with them in the shelter. Some may have guidance on what they will take or what kinds of toys or books they accept, so be sure to contact them first.
4. Pregnancy Center
Pregnancy centers are local, nonprofit organizations that provide support to parents faced with difficult pregnancy decisions and financial stress.
A pregnancy center often accepts toys, both baby and older children’s, and other items needed for a childcare — although call ahead and confirm before stopping by with a trunk full of items.
Items like toys, clothing, portable cribs, diapers, bottles, bibs, infant play mats, and baby tubs are items usually accepted at pregnancy centers. These items can help the parents who can’t afford them or are confronted with an unexpected pregnancy.
Many pregnancy centers also offer parenting classes for families.
5. Charity Shops (Goodwill, Salvation Army)
Charities like Goodwill or Salvation Army are two of the most common charities that accept used toys, games, and books. When you’re thinking about where to donate toys or books, reach out to a charity in your community and see what they need.
Many of these places resell the items, with the funds benefitting the community or simply donate to those in need. They also provide jobs for members of the community.
Your donations can even be tax deductible for you.
6. Schools & PreSchools
As with daycares, schools are often in need of fresh toys to keep their students busy and occupied during indoor recess.
Consider donating used puzzles, toys, books, or games to schools. Larger items like tricycles or play kitchens are especially useful in younger classrooms.
Contact the schools your children go to. Even if you do not have children currently attending the schools in your community, a local school may appreciate your donation.
Teachers often use board games for indoor recess, after-school care programs, or in services like speech or counseling. Teachers who may not have built up classroom resources, or those who may not have a large budget for these items, would appreciate them.
7. Family Members
Family members are another option of where to pass along gently used toys and books.
It can be special for little cousins to receive loved items from their big cousins. It can also help your sentimental child let items go.
Consider keeping some toys at a grandparents’ home. This allows the grandparent to not worry about or have to purchase additional toys for their house, especially if they are caring for their grandchildren or other children.
8. Vacation Rentals
There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a vacation rental on a rainy day with a gaggle of restless kids!
If you know anyone with a vacation rental home, offer them some used toys and books. Not only will you be decluttering your space, the rental home owner will be taking care of customers in a kind and thoughtful way.
9. Fire & Police Stations
When considering where to donate gently used stuffed animals or small toys, try your local fire or police station.
Often firefighters or police officers will bring stuffed animals or toys with them when making calls that include children. These act as comfort items for a child in a stressful situation.
You can usually contact them first, then drop off these items. Some look for donations like these at certain times of the year.
10. Doctor’s Offices
Doctor’s offices or other medical facilities might be a good place to donate small toys or books.
Pediatricians often have play kitchens or other toys in their waiting rooms for children to play with while they wait. This can be a comfort to children during visits for shots or injuries.
Hospitals or other larger facilities may not accept pre-loved items because of germ concerns. So be sure to check before just bringing them in!
Where to Donate Toys
After the task of decluttering is done, it can feel like another big job to find out where to donate toys. Hopefully, this list has provided you with some helpful ideas.
Now go drop off a trunk full of junk!