Used or New, Here’s Where to Donate Toys You No Longer Need

Kids can never get enough toys, but sooner or later, parents will run out of places for storing them all. And when the time comes for moving interstate or decluttering, it is time to think where to donate toys. Kids lose interest so quickly and find a new favorite thing to play with every other day, which is why you shouldn’t strive to keep them all forever.

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October 6, 2020 Posted in How-to

As children grow and discover something new every day, they change and overcome certain things, including their dolls, games, and other trinkets. There are dolls and games suitable for every age, so it is normal and somewhat expected that your child would eventually leave behind some of its playtime favorites. If you don’t have any kids in the neighborhood or among friends and family, we have some ideas on where you can donate used toys.

When Is the Right Time to Make Used Toys Donations?

Every time of the year is the right time for a used toy donation because each one of them will put a smile on a child’s face. People usually think about doing this around the holidays. When that Christmas spirit of giving and sharing kicks in, everyone starts wondering where can I donate toys for Christmas near me? However, although that’s the most popular season, you can always donate old toys, without any particular occasion. There are organizations and charities that accept them throughout the year.

Don't wait for Christmas, giveaway some playthings now.
Every time of the year is the right time for a toy donation.

The Best Option Is to Donate Used Toys Before Moving Cross Country

Whether you’re moving to a smaller home or looking for the cheapest way to move out of state, cross country moving is always an excellent occasion to make an inventory list and get an idea of how much stuff you really have. You’ll quickly realize that you have too many things you don’t use and that you could sell some if you organize a garage sale. Some things like old clothes you can donate to the homeless and other charity organizations. Are you making a moving to the college packing list, and you just realized it’s time to say goodbye to some of your childhood trinkets? Ask around where to donate stuffed animals, and bring only one or two with you.

Once you start thinking about how to pack toys for moving, you’ll realize it is better to leave some of them behind. It is equally complicated as packing pots and pans or golf clubs. You should learn plenty of moving hacks and moving tips on how to relocate fragile items safely because if anything breaks, your child won’t forgive you so easily. Moving with children is quite challenging unless you’re moving with a baby because they probably won’t want to give up on so many things easily, which is why you should talk to them and explain the importance of giving something to others who don’t have so much. There’s no room for relocation depression. Turn this into a joyful event for the entire family.

Free some space in the playroom by giving away some playthings your child doesn't use to play with anymore.
Moving to another home is the best occasion to declutter the playroom.

What Are Good Donated Toys?

You shouldn’t give away things you wouldn’t like to receive. Meaning that stuff that’s already damaged, broken, out of use, or dirty shouldn’t be donated because it can be perceived as a bit offensive. This is not something from the list of items movers won’t move, but still, if you or your child won’t be using it, there’s also no reason to ship it.

It will only give you additional moving stress once you start packing for a move. You’ll be using extra moving boxes and paying for packing services or even storage units for things you shouldn’t keep. Throw away those things and only donate toys that are in good condition, clean, safe to use, and that will undoubtedly put a smile on a children’s face. Here are some of the examples of what you should be donating:

  • Stuffed animals
  • Board games
  • Children’s books
  • Balls
  • Cars and trucks
  • Lego’s
  • Puzzles
  • Dolls and robots
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What Not to Donate

Keep in mind that you should not try to give away these things when packing up your donation box:

  • Dolls and playthings with pieces missing
  • Baby stuff like pacifiers or bottles
  • Recalled products
  • Broken or stained things


Gifting stuff that's in poor condition is not the kind of help you should want to send.
Don't give away for free things that are not in proper condition.

Where Can I Donate Used Toys?

If board games, stuffed animals, robots, and other trinkets are not among your moving essentials, and there’s no room for them on your moving cross country checklist, you should pass them to someone they will bring joy. One of the things to do before moving is to ask around to see if someone from your neighborhood or family needs them. If not, the next step would be to explore some of these options:

Donate Toys to Local Hospitals

Many hospitals accept donations of gently used toys because they need something to entertain their youngest patients. Some hospitals even have toy wishlists on their websites, so make sure to check that out before you start making plans. Also, you should always contact the hospital first to see if they actually accept these things at the moment. Some hospitals don’t accept anything that’s not new because they are afraid of spreading infections, so keep that in mind as well.

Consider Donating Toys Instead of Money to Places Such as Homeless Shelters

Homeless shelters are not frequently featured on the lists of places where to donate used toys, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need them or won’t accept them. A lot of times, there are kids in these shelters, so many of them will gladly accept gently used toys.

Making a Donation to Daycare Centers

Daycares go through dolls, cars, and other games quickly, so they are always in need of more. Make sure to contact them first to see if they have any rules or policies when it comes to the type and condition of donations. This is an excellent option if you have games your child never played with.

Children’s Doctor Office

Doctors’ offices are always full of plushy animals and other trinkets kids could play with. Some doctors even have a prize bin with tiny playthings they give to each child, so clearly, they run out of them pretty fast. Make sure to check how to pack books because you can also give some coloring books, fairy tales, and other books for the youngest ones.

The Best Place for Donating Is Children’s Homes

This is another place where to donate kids toys because they are always in high demand. Check if there is a children’s home in your area and contact them to see if they have some specific requirements or they don’t accept donations at the moment.

Local Churches

Many local churches provide childcare services to children of all ages, so it could happen that they also accept old playthings. Contact the coordinator at your local church and get more information on what type of donation they accept.

Local Social Services

If you’re still wondering where can I donate used toys in my area, another option is to call the local social service because they surely know families who are less fortunate and can transfer them your donation.

We are sure that you have at least one of these places where you can leave old playthings in your area.
There's plenty of options and places where you can drop off gently used playthings.

Where Is the Best Place to Donate Items? Organizations Where You Can Donate Used Toys

There are specialized charities and organizations that accept items like playthings, so keep that in mind because not every charity accepts every single item. To help you find one that’s near you, here is a list of those that will gladly accept any toy.

  • Salvation Army – One of the biggest charity organizations that even has an option of free scheduled pickups. However, make sure to check if their local department currently accepts toy donations.
  • Toys for Tots – This is a program run by the US Marine Corps Reserve that accepts playthings throughout the year and forwards them to children in need.
  • Ronald McDonald House – This is an organization that provides homes for families while their kid is in the hospital, so check if there’s one near you.
  • Stuffed Animals for Emergencies – This is a nonprofit organization that provides stuffed animals for the youngest ones who went through traumatic or emotional situations. They also accept blankets, books, baby stuff, and clothes.
  • Second Chance Toys – This company wants to reduce the number of plastic toys that end up in landfills. They have a few locations where you can drop off your stuff, but they can organize a pickup if you collect a certain amount.
  • TerraCycle – TerraCycle specializes in recycling Hasbro games, metal, wooden, and plastic toys that are too damaged or broken to be donated.
  • Pickup Please – This organization accepts sports equipment, board games, stuffed animals, action figures, and dolls.
  • Room to Grow – Specialized in stuff for babies, Room to Grow accepts even bassinets, blankets, and bouncy seats that will be transferred to families.
Stuffed animals are every child's favorite.
A child can never have too many stuffed animals.

Tips to Consider If You Want Donate Kids Toys to Charities

After you found an answer to the burning question where can I donate toys, you should now start thinking about how to organize everything and involve your youngest ones in the process. This is not something you should do behind their back. They should know that their childhood favorites will go to other children.

  • Involve your kid by picking the charity together and selecting what to give away together.
  • Wash every stuffed animal and check their tags to see which ones are suitable for machine washing.
  • Make a to-do list that will contain all the information, from the amount of stuff to organizations and tax expenses deduction options.
  • Check the packing guidelines because some organizations have strict guidelines you should follow when picking moving boxes and packing materials.

Take a Look at This Video to See How to Get Your Kid Excited About Donating

Don’t know how to make your kid want to give away some of his/her playtime favorites? Take a look at this video for more tips.

What to Do With Stuff You Still Want to Keep and Take With Your On Your Long-Distance Moving Adventure?

Of course, you can’t give away everything, unless your youngest ones are not so young and they are more into video games than stuffed animals. When hiring moving services for your interstate moving adventure, you should check how much cross country movers cost, and decide if you can pack something on your own to reduce the costs. A reliable cross country moving company will help you pack everything, including all kinds of playthings, so you shouldn’t worry about a thing.

Jane Davis

Apart from being a freelance writer and moving expert, Jane is also an art and museum lover.



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