How to Do the Big Purge Before the Presents

purgeIt’s the holiday season and my 3-year old and 9 month-old sons are bound to get tons of presents from generous family members and friends. After all, it’s so fun to pick out toys and books for little ones. We are very fortunate to have such thoughtful people in our lives who take the time and money to give these gifts to our family. But….have you thought about a purge before the presents?

As with all gift-giving holidays, birthdays, etc., after the presents are opened, we have that overwhelming feeling of having TOO MUCH STUFF. We have an entire playroom just for our boys, with a closet overflowing with ninja turtle trucks, Thomas the Train tracks, puzzles, sports games, crayons, coloring books, musical instruments.. the list goes on and on.

There is no way that our sons need or can even play with all of these items. And that is why we purge before the presents now. I do not want to be featured on TLC’s “Hoarders: Buried Alive”, so instead, we choose to donate, sell, and throw away as much as possible whenever we can.

Are you looking to purge before the presents come? Here are some ideas on how to rid yourself of the excess and enjoy what you have.

1: The Elf on the Shelf is willing to help.

I saw this recently on Facebook. If you are utilizing an Elf on the Shelf, have him/her bring a note with them at some point instructing your child to leave some unwanted toys for the Elf to take to other children.

They can give the Elf one toy per night leading up to Christmas, or you can just do one bulk bag on one night. If you enjoy the magic of the Elf on the Shelf, this is a great way to inspire the purge with a little holiday giving spirit as well. If the Elf is not a member of your household, write a letter from Santa himself.

2. Make a special event of giving.

Take a day prior to Christmas where your child rounds up all the toys they no longer play with. Find a local organization that takes used toys (The Salvation Army trucks do, but there are other organizations like The Spring of Tampa Bay or Acheson Attic that take donations of used toys as well).

My 3-year old son making a pile of his toys to give to children in need…#proudmamamoment

Spend the morning sorting through toys, taking them to the location of choice, and continue on the day-of-giving by volunteering at a local charity. Check out Metropolitan Ministries holiday tent, they need volunteers for multiple activities. This would work best for older children of course. But for younger children, rewarding their positive behavior with a trip to the park or a movie. If they are too young to volunteer this can be just as great.

3. Make a profit for presents.

Consider having a garage sale or selling your child’s toys on an online garage sale site. Your child can learn a lot by selling their used toys and earning money to buy gifts for family or to save up for a special occasion. It’s never too young to start teaching children about money.

My son earns “bucks” at his daycare when he cleans up, follows directions, or has other positive behaviors. Then, he gets to purchase items in the treasure chest with his money. Items in the treasure chest have different costs, so even at 3.5 years old, he is learning the value of saving.garagesale
4. Do you have little ones who will not even notice the absence of toys once new ones arrive?

Then purging is in your hands. Get the children out of the house for a few hours. Or take some time while they are napping or at night. Go through toys, they haven’t played with or have outgrown. Donate, sell, trash. If your little ones ask where something went, just tell them they will be getting new toys soon. Chances are, they will not miss it anyway. I have gotten rid of several of my son’s old toys in the past and he has never once asked about any of them.

donation box with toys

Purging is so therapeutic, and you will feel more organized and less stressed once you have done this. I truly believe that we are a product of our environment to some extent. My parents were frequently, yearly, having us purge our excess. Thus creating this habit later in life for me. So do your children a favor and help them create these organization and life skills.

Don’t forget to go through your closet, too. We accumulate clothing and items we don’t need just as much as our kids, if not more. I go by the rule of if I haven’t worn it in a year, I probably don’t need it. So purge on, parents, before the holiday presents overtake us all! Happy holidays!

How do you purge before the presents during the holidays or birthdays? Share your ideas with our readers!

Shawna is originally from Miami, Florida, but has called the Tampa Bay area her home since 2005. She graduated with her Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the University of Florida where she also met her wonderful husband. They welcomed their first child, a beautiful boy named Blake, in 2012, and have enjoyed the excitement, energy, and laughter he brings to their lives every day. Shawna is a working mom who balances teaching high school, choreographing for the school's dance team, experimenting in the kitchen, crafting, planning events, venturing around the Tampa Bay area, and of course, spending time with the amazing family and friends she is fortunate to have.


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