Too Many Toys: Recycling the Playroom

With April, comes spring and with spring, comes cleaning. And with cleaning? Comes GET RID OF EVERY SINGLE TOY IN YOUR HOUSE.Ok, maybe I’m being dramatic. I should have said with cleaning, …

Posted by jensenecal

With April, comes spring and with spring, comes cleaning. And with cleaning? Comes GET RID OF EVERY SINGLE TOY IN YOUR HOUSE.

Ok, maybe I’m being dramatic. I should have said with cleaning, comes GET RID OF 95% OF THE TOYS IN YOUR HOUSE.

Let’s face it; kids have a lot of stuff. Whether it’s an endless collection of My Little Ponies or a roomful of learning toys with zero volume control, or no less than 1.24 million Lego pieces under the kitchen table, there comes a point when it all must move on. Preferably not to be replaced and more preferably to someone else who can trip on it get good use out of it.

Since this month’s issue is all about reducing and recycling, I’ve come up with a nice list of places where you can donate your kids’ used toys when it comes time to de-clutter. (As a side note, these organizations also take kids’ clothing, books, furniture and just about anything else you can think of. However, they do not take kids. Sorry.)

Big Sisters, Big Brothers RI- Super easy to schedule a pick-up online, through their website, and they will send out a truck. All donations help fund and sustain their mission to enrich the lives of children facing adversity in Rhode Island. They ask that you bag or box all donations, and note somewhere in large letters that it’s for BSBB. Or, like I do, rent an event spotlight highlighting your driveway so that even God can’t miss it.

Savers- You can donate directly to their stores via a Community Donation Center or to one of the 140 nonprofits they have working relationships with, and each time you do, they make a payment to their nonprofits. (Big Sisters is one of the nonprofits they work with, too.)

Salvation Army- Your donations will be resold in Salvation Army thrift stores, which will serve to fund their adult rehabilitation center. (Just be sure you pick the correct pile of goods by the door to give, or else your child may someday be browsing a local SA store and notice her wardrobe for sale that was meant for last week's laundry. Thanks, mom.) You can schedule an online pick-up at

Epilepsy Foundation (of Massachusetts, RI, NH and Maine)- Also super easy to schedule a pick-up online and your donations will help in funding the programs the foundation strives to support. Visit to schedule a pick-up.

Hasbro Children’s Hospital- Although Hasbro will only collect new toys, they are still a great resource to have on deck. Maybe your daughter got two new Dora Mega Tunes Guitars for her birthday. Instead of exchanging it for yet another toy, why not donate and bring some joy to a sick child? (You should probably bring ear plugs, too.) Hasbro’s Wish List HERE.

Consignment Shops/Sales- In case you haven’t noticed, Providence and its surrounding spots has a LOT of consignment shops—a bunch of which are children’s stores. This is a fantastic option if you’d like to make a little bit of money. One particular sale worth mentioning is the semi-annual RI Kids Consignment Sale—where over 200 consigners submit over 40,000 kids items to one gigantic sale. For a full list of local kids consignment shops, click HERE.

Local daycares/schools/churches/shelters/YMCA- A simple phone call or email to any of these will probably result in an entire wish list of needs from these organizations that can’t always include new toys in their budgets. Swap or donate your used stuff with other members of your community. Just search your town and you’ll be informed of the nearest group, along with the free used goods available or wanted.

Sidewalk- If you have a moment where you can’t possibly look at something for another single minute, so you place it all at the end of your driveway in hopes that someone else will swipe it, BE SURE TO STICK A BIG “FREE” SIGN ON IT. Basic rule of sales: If it says FREE, someone will “buy” it. And if that’s not a legitimate rule of sales, it should be.

Your parents- When all else fails, give it to your parents so that your kids have something to play with at their house, aside from buttons and tape. (Are my parents the only ones who do that?)

* Jen Senecal is a mom to three girls, a writer, blogger and graphic designer. Read more on her foray into parenthood at or visit her at Rhody Mamas.