The Pre-Holiday Toy Purge

The Pre-Holiday Toy Purge

Erin Burt

So, you’ve been decking the halls, stirring your eggnog, and slathering thick frosting atop your gingerbread house. The fun times that can be had during December are (usually) worth it, but what we rarely like to think about is the January fallout from ALL THINGS CHRISTMAS.

And for me in particular, that is the massive influx of toy madness that my three children receive each and every December.

We have several well-meaning family members who have the love language of gift-giving, and love nothing more than to dote on each of my children by means of box after wrapped box of plastic, blinking, LOUD toytastic goodness. So, in order to not rip out my hair on December 26, my husband and I have resolved to do a pre-holiday purge to allow room for all the goodies that will surely make their way in.

So…in the name of holiday purging, here are some tips we’ve picked up over the last few years…

  • Don’t get attached if they aren’t. We let our kids help in the purge and, more often than not, they’re totally fine getting rid of toys that I am sentimental about. It’s really hard for me, but I cannot be attached to a toy that my children aren’t attached to.
  • Lay everything out and get rid of duplicates and broken toys. Having two boys very close in age, we very regularly get duplicates of toys. Also, we very regularly break toys and don’t realize it before they’re tossed back in with the others. These are easy-purge items.
  • Not everything has to go, but not everything can stay. Very often when we do a purge, a kid finds a toy that they haven’t seen in some time that they are suddenly very attached to. So I offer them a deal…they can keep that toy but, in order to make room for more toys, they need to choose a toy to go out to the garage...sort of a toy purgatory that can be swapped out every so often.
  • Model the purge. I want them to see that this is a practice that their parents implement, too. So, I might go through my closet or makeup or sock drawer and do a good purge of my own things and let them see me doing it.

Remember, toys don't have to go in the garbage! There are plenty of charities that can use gently-loved toys. 

This is an absolutely necessary practice for us because we live in a small home and ONLY keep four containers for toy storage in the boys’ room and three in my daughter’s room. This helps us only keep toys they really play with and enjoy. Plus, regular purging helps the kids not get too attached to material things.

Happy holidays!

Kara Garis is a cloth diapering, baby wearing, semi-crunchy mama to two active boys and a baby girl. She lives with her husband in Oklahoma and loves running, cooking, traveling, reading and teaching herself how to braid. She blogs at

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