Imagine yourself as a grandparent with a new generation of tots over at your house to play. What toys in your possession now will be worth pulling out decades from now? If you can't envision it then, there's no sense holding on to it now.
What to Ditch:
- Anything broken or missing a piece. If the toy has been played with to the point of disrepair, its job is done.
- Items that haven't been touched in six months. Consider the toy officially outgrown if it hasn't moved from its spot in the playroom in months. That's a sure sign it no longer provides the mental or physical stimulation it once did.
- Duplicates or near-duplicates. You don't need two identical Fisher-Price trucks, no matter how much you think there's value in having a spare. The same goes for having redundancies. Multiple Elmo dolls just add to the clutter, so pick the one in best condition — or the one with features that have the most longevity — and donate the others.
- Character-based toys. You might not believe it just yet, but soon, all of the Frozen memorabilia is going to feel very dated. Do your best to avoid overspending in this category altogether, because once the craze is over, your kids won't give their Minions collectibles a second glance.
- Battery-operated gizmos. Once they've served their purpose, bid a fond farewell to any "electronics" that require batteries. Such products have a shorter lifespan in general and don't hold up as well in storage.
What to Keep:
- Toys made of wood. Wooden blocks, wooden stacking rings, wooden play food — they all last a lifetime in relatively mint condition, are free of any toxins you see with some plastics, and never fall out of favor with their target demographic.
- Legos. Sure, every time you step on a jagged piece, you curse the day you ever brought them into your home, but the truth is, they are building blocks that foster open-ended play. And as children grow, they find different ways to engage with them.
- Dress-up supplies. This is where a little clutter pays off. Before you toss your old hats, belts, scarves, and costume jewelry, hand them over to your kids and watch their imaginations take over.
- Keepsakes. The stuffed animal your child dragged around for a few years is worth being tucked away for them to appreciate once they reach adulthood.