It’s inevitable, as a new parent, that you will at some point look around your house and wonder how and when it became inundated with toys. Little toys, big toys, wooden, plush and battery powered. The most amazing part to me is how quickly our little one tires of them. While we can get a little more life out of a toy by hiding it for a week or so and then reintroducing it, the fact remains that these toys will be nearly good-as-new when she’s done with them. This has spurred me to do some thinking on how to reduce waste in the life cycle of our toys.
Toy Swap. When it comes to toys, it’s all about novelty, so a few months back a good friend and I decided to swap our toys. We packed up everything that our girls weren’t immediately in love with and gave it to each other. All of a sudden the house was full of “new” toys, but we didn’t have to buy anything, and we didn’t have to increase the clutter in the house.
Garage Sales. Nothing new here. Garage sales are a great way to find toys on the cheap. To find the best toys, search the “sale” section of craigslist.org on a Friday night for any listing with the word “baby” in it. Be the first one at the garage sale Saturday morning and bargain. You’ll be amazed how cheap you can get toys that are in excellent condition. Garage sales are also great for selling toys your kids are tired of. The toys live on, and you get a few extra bucks in your pocket.
The Toy Library. Here in Los Angeles the toy library is run by volunteers, with new toys donated by the manufacturer. Kids (with their parents) can check out toys, just as they would books from the library and, get this – it’s free. Most cities have some version of this. If you’re not in Los Angeles, do a google search. They’re not hard to find.
All three of these steps help toys live longer lives before heading for the landfill, and they save us money. That’s what I call a win-win.