Less in than out resolution.

Every Christmas we face a dilemma: Where to put all the new toys? Either the kids or ours. Our solution: Donation or Consignment.  I’ve figured out how to make it a family affair, with my 2 and 4-year-old engaging in the process.

What we do:  I have the kids fill up a paper grocery bag or two. They understand that they’ll get to donate the toys and pick out one new toy each when we drop off the donation. I go through the chosen toys to remove any broken ones, or ones I think will sell in a consignment store. Then, we drop off the toys and go “shopping” for a new toy. I limit them to one each since the purpose is to reduce the number of toys, not replace them. For consignment, they understand that it’s another way for other kids to get to enjoy the toys. And, it helps supplement our clothing budget.

Our coolest second-hand toy find was a robotic R2D2! Please excuse my blurry camera phone, but you can see the glee my son felt as he discovered it.

Background:  I’ve frequently donated to Goodwill over the years. During 2010, I realized I didn’t want my kids to question where their old toys went.  As my daughter’s birthday approached in April, I realized that I needed to make room for all her new things that our large, generous family would give her.  So, I explained in simple terms that I needed the kids to help me make room for new toys!  To sweeten the deal, I explained that they’d get one new toy immediately at the “give away store” and then on their birthday, plenty more. It has worked beautifully.

Resolution Time:  We prepared for Christmas 2010 by getting rid of 2 bags of toys and 3 bags of household items/clothes.  But, after putting away all the new toys, we still needed room.  So, I found us back at Goodwill last week. Giving it more thought, I’ve decided that for my own purchases this year, I will give away more toys, clothing, household items than I purchase.  I would like to try to extend that to gifts we receive, but I’ll have to weather the first birthday to see if I can actually achieve that level of de-cluttering.