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Kids’ Toys | What to keep, what to give away

Readers frequently ask me about how I handle outgrown toys.

What do I keep? What do I get rid of? Is there any point in keeping outgrown toys around?   What about when grandchildren come along? Is it more frugal to keep toys rather than getting rid of them?

Which Kid Toys Should You Keep?

So. Here’s how I’ve dealt with the outgrown toy situation.

(Which includes nearly 100% of our toys now that my youngest kid is 12!)

First: I totally am not a fan of keeping things unnecessarily.  

If it’s not going to get used and loved at least somewhat regularly, I’m not interested in storing it.   So, I do tend to want to give away things my kids outgrow.

That way they can bring joy to another kid and I don’t have to find a place for them here!

Secondly: I also am not a huge fan of getting rid of every toy once it’s outgrown.

I have nieces and nephews, friends with small kids, and cousins with small kids, and possibly one day I will have grandkids who visit.


I know as a parent, it was always nice to go to a house that had toys for my kids to play with, and I do want to offer that to the parents and small kids in my life.

In light of that, I try to find some middle ground for outgrown toys.

I’ve generally gotten rid of toys that

  • take up tons of space (looking at you, Little Tikes workshop!)
  • are cheaply made
  • are duplicates (I only need to keep one kind of building toy)

And I’ve tried to keep ones that

  • are universally appealing
  • encourage creative, imaginative play (not unitaskers)

What toys did I keep?

What specifically do I have in the closet?

I kept:

  • Duplos
  • A bin of matchbox cars
  • the vintage Fisher-Price parking garage (bought on eBay when Joshua was small)
  • a bin of toy food/dishes
  • a small bin of My Little Ponies
  • a small bin of baby toys

Toy food bin

This pretty much covers any visitors I have that are 8 and under. And honestly, the Duplos, cars, and toy food still have some appeal past the age of 8. My girls played with Duplos forever!

I also kept some board books, mostly because I couldn’t bear to get rid of them. So many memories of bedtime/naptime reading with my babies and toddlers.

Most of these toys get stored on closet shelves, so they’re up and out of the way when we’re not using them.

What did I do with toys we didn’t keep?

If they’re valuable enough, like my girls’ Calico Critters or our bin of Legos, we sell them.

But mostly, we’ve given our outgrown toys away either to younger cousins, or to freecyclers.


I know some of you out there have older kids too…so, how did you decide what to keep and what to get rid of?

P.S. Full disclosure: we also have an elephant in the proverbial room, and it’s a bunch of stuffed animals. Man, my kids have a hard time getting rid of these, largely because they have names! and personalities! And usually other people don’t want second-hand stuffed animals anyway. So we do have a huge bin of those and I suppose they’ll just stay with us for now.

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Thursday 29th of October 2020

Where do you sell your toys and make money?


Thursday 29th of October 2020

Some toys you might be able to sell on eBay. Facebook Marketplace may work as well, depending on the time. You could also try children's consignment stores in your area.

Andrea M Fitts

Thursday 9th of July 2020

I am so glad you mentioned stuffed animals. I am glad I'm not the only one who can't seem to get rid of them!!!!


Monday 2nd of April 2018

Hi! Great post! I actually love the idea of giving away toys my children do not use anymore to other people. It helps a lot in making the most out of these toys plus we also limit the wastes around us. :)


Sunday 1st of April 2018

I was a little girl in the 1970's and we had an original Fisher-Price garage back then---what fun to see it in your picture! My mom saved it and gave it to my sister when her daughters (born in 1990 and 1993) were little. My son didn't arrive till 2001 but we didn't let him play with it much. The original Little People were much smaller and seemed like total choking hazards when we looked at them as moms/adults!


Thursday 29th of March 2018

I have 2 kids, 6yo and 8yo (who like to keep everything!!)

As soon as something is outgrown or not used, I like to (try to) get rid of it, often by giving it away. I HATE clutter and I HATE stuff just laying around!

If we have grandkids one day then we can buy them couple toys and craft supplies and books for when they come over. I will absolutely not keep anything "just in case" for 15-20 years. I am more an "experiences" person anyways, I like to do activities with the kid more than give physical gifts (toys).

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