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Play Reverse Santa with a Toy Purge

Sure it looks pretty now, but where is it all going to go?

It’s a scene played out across the country every morning on December 25th. The kids run into the living room, bleary-eyed and excited to see what Santa left them. The next hour is a blur of flying paper and cries of happiness as they unwrap their treasures (the ‘blur’ multiplied in our house by the fact my wife and I were up until the wee hours piecing together said treasures). All the weeks of searching stores, elbowing other parents and wrapping gifts is over before it starts.  But as a Christmas calm settles over the house, you’re left with a new anxiety -where the heck all of these toys are going to fit?

We struggle with this problem every year, a problem compounded by the fact our son has a birthday in early December. Depending on the size of his party, he already has 10 – 20 new toys we have to make room for before Santa drops by. So we’ve become pretty good at thinning the herd when it comes to the boys’ toys.

Getting started

While it’s good to purge, don’t get so caught up in it that you get rid of little Timmy’s treasured whoozit and scar him for life. Chances are you have a good idea what toys get the most mileage with your kids (they’re most likely the ones that annoy the crap out of you because you hear them all the time) – these are off limits. Kids also tend to jump from toy to toy – so don’t assume because a toy isn’t played with for a week or so it’s good to go – my wife and I usually will put toys in a box for a month or so – if the kids don’t ask about it by then, they’re not going to miss them. It’s good to ask your kids about certain toys but take what they say with a grain of salt – we all know, when asked, every toy can be your kids’ favourite. Once you have a pile of playthings, here are three things you can do with them.

Make money

If the toys are still in good condition sell them online on awesome sites like the Used Sites line your pockets with some extra bread.


Many communities have kids toy and clothing swaps, where you can trade your stuff for a new-to-you toy that’s more age appropriate for your kids. And if you can’t find one, talk to other parents you do and do it yourself – it’s not only a great way to keep your kids collection fresh, but a nice night of socializing with friends.


Look for local charities, daycares or shelters in your area where your unused toys could make a big difference in another child’s life.

While the holiday season provides the perfect motivation to purge, this is something you can, and should, do all year long. Anytime we can reduce the chance of stepping on an unbelievably sharp something in the middle of the night is a victory for every parent.

Writer. Idea man. Loving husband and father. Dance machine. They call me "The Truth", because my game is real. Follow Brodie on Twitter: @usedregina

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