Out with the old and in with the new

By glblguy


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:

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

10 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Out with the old and in with the new”

  1. Deb Says:

    I actually “weed” through our stuff about every 6 months. I drive my family crazy getting rid of clothing that hasn’t been worn or things that haven’t been played with, read, used….For too long, too much stuff has contributed to too much clutter and too much stress. And, what we don’t use can..and should be able…to greatly bless someone else.

  2. Damsel Says:

    I totally agree with Deb!

    I do this about every six months in my son’s room (before his birthday in June and again before Christmas). I think about each toy — if I haven’t seen it in his adorable little hand in about two months or so, it goes to charity. Of course, he’s only four, so it’s easier for me to do it without him.

    I also scoop up the really cheap plastic toys as I see them strewn about and toss them on a regular basis (happy meal-type toys, etc).

  3. Lazy Man and Money Says:

    I don’t think that FreeCycle counts as a “registered charity” for tax purposes, which may be something to consider. You can also give stuff away for free on Craigslist (or try to sell it if it has value).

    I got a free BBQ via Craigslist.

  4. Monroe on a Budget Says:

    Do ask before taking toys to a thrift shop — the Goodwill store in my city won’t take take.

  5. Monroe on a Budget Says:

    to clarify the Goodwill won’t take toys …

  6. Studenomics Says:

    My theory about belongings is that if you have gone 6 months-a year without using something then you do not need it. My mom on the other hand keeps literally everything, so this is where the problem exisits. I want to get rid of all the items in the home that we do not need because other people could probably find more use for them.

  7. Gypsie Says:

    DH and I have no children but we do do this for ourselves a few times a year. Also, since we are military, we move every few years and can only take so much which really helps to pare down the clutter.

  8. d Says:

    I do the same….but probably 2 times a year. I also go a step further and limit myself… For instance, I have 2 large containers that I keep my Christmas tree ornaments in as well as tree skirt and misc. stuff. I have one even bigger box that I keep outdoor decor in. If I get something new or something is given to me I limit myself by these box sizes. If it does not fit…I have to choose–get rid of something else in the box or get rid of the new item.

    Having the boxes limits my amount of clutter for the holidays. I have another box for all other holidays–thanksgiving, halloween, easter etc.

    I use this concept with my kids. They each have special trunks and if their stuff is overflowing, they know momma wants them to get rid of some stuff. It is an instant signal to having too much.

    You are the second blog I have read that is talking about getting stuff out to goodwill, etc. Makes me think next week would be a good week to shop there!

  9. DebtFreeDave Says:

    We are big freecyclers, most of my son’s toys and clothes are freecycled. The only downside is that we are constantly trying to “stay out of the weeds” by passing things along to others. As Lazy Man pointed out, Freecycle isn’t a charity, but people are helped out nonetheless. I love the concept; less money spent on “stuff” and less waste as perfectly useful “stuff” is passed along to others instead of being disposed of.