Out with the old and in with the new
Now that Christmas is over many people’s homes are full of stuff. My guess is that 80% of that stuff isn’t even used and Christmas added even more items to the stuff pile. As the old saying goes, maybe it’s time for “out with the old and in with the new.”
Out with the old, in with the new
One of the traditions my wife and I started shortly after our oldest son turned 3 or so was to take toys and clothing that were no longer used, bag them up and give them to various charities after Christmas. We continued to do this as we added more children to our family and even adopted this policy for ourselves.
We found that over the years as our children gained more and more toys they we’re actually overwhelmed to some extent and didn’t play with the growing number of toys very much. Once we started giving away older items after they received newer items for Christmas and birthdays they were less bored. We found that when they had less choices, they enjoyed the toys they had far more. It seems the concept of “less is more” even applies to children.
Are you looking around your house this and asking yourself “Where in the world are we going to put all of this stuff?” Maybe the question shouldn’t be where you are going to put it, but rather how are you going to get rid of it?
Determining what to keep and what to donate
I’d suggest getting two large boxes or containers. One will be the keep pile, the other the giveaway pile. Sit down with your children and help them the choices of which toys they are going to keep, and which ones will they give away. Most kids will want to keep everything, so help them understand that the toys they giveaway will help other children who may not have toys.
We’ve found that involving our children in this process and allowing them to bring the toys to the charity themselves makes them appreciate the process much more. We’ve also found they really enjoy it and get excited about helping other children out.
There are of course far more charities in this world than I could ever even begin to mention, but here are just a few of the one’s we’ve used the past:
- Freecycle – Thanks to CleverDude for reminding me of this one via twitter.
- Salvation Army
- Toys for Tots
- Our local homeless shelter
- Our church
- Needy friends
If you’re deep in debt or having trouble making ends meet, I’d recommend having a yardsale rather than donating. This might seem selfish, but you need to take care of your own household before you can help others.
Do you do this each year? More often? Which charities do you contribute to? How do you deal with all of the extra stuff?
Photo by: Myrmi