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Never has the saying ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ been so evident before as it is today — in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
I had actually been meaning to write about this for awhile, but now it rings true on a whole different level…
Kids’ Toys Kicked To The Curb
When I see children’s used toys piled up at the curb on garbage day, I can’t help but wonder if there isn’t SOME little boy or girl who wouldn’t find SOME value in a used (maybe even broken) new plaything.
I know, I know… who wants broken toys? Or worse yet, what if a child got hurt using something that was defective?
True. But what if they’re just dirty from lack of attention?
What if they’re just not being used anymore?
What if the previous pint-sized owner just got bored with it? Or outgrew it?
What if the “high-tech” parts are broken, but the item can still be played with?
- ‘Broken’ doesn’t always mean ‘hazardous to your health’.
- Nor does it necessarily mean that the toy is non-functioning.
- Most used playthings can be washed and even disinfected.
- There’s nothing wrong with hand-me-downs.
- What’s ‘old’ or ‘boring’ to some might be ‘new’ and ‘fun’ to others.
Lazy? Spoiled? Or Just Too Much Stuff?
In this day & age, it’s probably all of the above.
Truth is, it doesn’t really matter the reason an item is no longer being used… what matters is who might find some value in that item.
Yes, there are those people — perhaps even the majority — who only want new, clean, unused toys for their children. That is fair. (Especially for babies.)
But what about those who would appreciate any toys for their children? What about disadvantaged children? What about those who don’t have any toys anymore… like those who’ve lived through hurricanes, tornadoes, and the like?
My point is… I think that far too many parents (especially those in some of the “wealthier” neighborhoods) are simply kicking stuff to the curb rather than passing it on to someone who might find some value in it.
Practically every garbage day I notice something that (at least from a distance) looks like it could bring a smile to another child’s face. And I have to do everything in my power not to snatch it up and take it to some donation site. (If there was a sign that said “FREE!” I would feel more comfortable taking such items.)
I hope this post will open the eyes of at least one parent who typically tosses old playthings to the curb (to live out their days in tall heaps at the local landfill), to instead consider donating some of those items in the future.
Use your own judgment, but please do the right thing.
Places To Donate Used Toys
- Donation centers like Goodwill or the Salvation Army
- Day care facilities and pre-schools
- Churches and shelters
- Virtually any non-profit charity or community service organization
You could also…
- Offer it for free or cheap at a yardsale (yours or someone else’s)
- Give it away for free through a program like Freecycle
- Save it for when friends or relatives visit your home.
- Put a sign that says “FREE!” next to any reusable items on your curb.
What Is Worthy Of A Donation?
For the most part, I say SO WHAT if toys have been used & abused by other children. Consider them “broken in”!
What about the baby doll with the lopsided hairdo, because you cut off one of her ponytails? (I did this… on the same day I cut off my own ponytail at the age of 4!) My little cousin still loved that doll.
What about the Easy-Bake-Oven that doesn’t “work” anymore, but still makes a great prop for the kitchen in a child’s playhouse?
Case In Point:
The night before garbage pick-up, here’s what I spotted in front of one house in my neighborhood (left photo).
Then, the next morning I noticed a couple of the kids’ toys were gone (right photo). I can only hope that someone who could use those items either took th
em for their own, or the owners reconsidered and chose to donate them for others to enjoy.
Pets Need Toys Too
And don’t overlook the fact that some children’s toys also make great playthings for pets. For example, a child’s swimming pool would be welcomed by many for use as a doggie bathtub, or as a way to provide a large supply of water to dogs who spend their days outdoors.
The local animal shelters would welcome such things as old toys, shoes, blankets, newspaper, tennis balls, bowls, leashes, collars, etc.
- You’re never too big for Big Wheels… no really! They now make adult-sized big wheel “toys” for big boys. These adult Big Wheels can hold a 180-pound driver, thanks to twin steel axles and four rear wheels.
- Here’s an interesting read from someone who makes a habit of “rescuing” items from others’ garbage piles. Check out “Confessions Of A Dumpster Diver“.
I forgot to mention that ‘curbside’ is where we obtained our current weedwacker from! Yep, one of our neighbors had kicked it to the curb — probably because it was leaking oil and had a touchy starter. Jim gave it a tune-up and we’ve been using it problem-free for over 2 4 years now.
We also got a great soccer ball from someone’s trash can — the dogs love it!
And my niece’s favorite toy of all time is something I found at Goodwill for $1.50. It’s a Leapfrog caterpillar that lights up, plays songs, moves when you pull it across the floor. Why it was probably sent to Goodwill: the batteries were dead.
Don’t miss these great tips:
- No More Thrift Store Kid Stuff?
- 8 Etiquette Tips For Curbside Freecycling
- New Legislation Affects The Sale Of Kids Toys & Clothing At Thrift Stores
I like to help people find unique ways to do things that will save time & money — so I write about "outside the box" Household Tips and Life Hacks that most wouldn't think of. I'm super-organized. And I LOVE to clean! I even enjoy doing laundry (but not ironing). I’m also a lifelong dog owner — so I often share my favorite tips for living with dogs inside your home (like smart home design choices and dog-friendly cleaning & decorating ideas). Career-wise, I've been sharing my best ideas with others by blogging full-time since 1998 (the same year that Google started… and before the days of Facebook and YouTube). Prior to that, I worked in Higher Ed over 10 years before switching gears to pursue activities that I'm truly passionate about instead. For example, I've worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo — to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. When I’m not cleaning, organizing, decorating, or fixing something… you'll find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).