When you look at the comparison between what I swapped (what I brought) and what I shopped (what I went home with) you might think this was a pretty bad deal. But actually this was one of the best things I have done lately.
A few weeks ago, one of my friends proposed doing a toy swap. This could not have come at a better time for me. I have been in the process of decluttering – our house is small and we have been more or less using the basement as storage. As our family has gotten bigger we need to reclaim the basement as living space. One of the hardest things for me to cut down on has been the toys. I always wonder if maybe they will like the toy later even if they are not playing with it now, or maybe my daughter will like it even though my son didn’t. It was hard for me to get rid of things on behalf of my kids even though I don’t have a lot of trouble with my own things.
Having a deadline and a place to take all my things really helped. It forced me to sit down and take a hard look at the toys we had. I managed to whittle the toys down to the point where they fit our house as it is right now, not our house as we are hoping it will be in the future.
My main goal was to get rid of our extra toys and make our house more livable, but I was also looking forward to picking up a few new things up too. We had a pretty loose set up. We roughly organized the toys into different types and then we just picked what we wanted. No tickets or maximum number of tickets and no hard feelings. This saves a lot in terms of organization but does require everyone to be on board beforehand. It works best if everyone going is prepared to walk away with nothing and is only bringing toys that they just want to get rid of.
I found a few things that my kids are going to love and also won’t take up a lot of room. We are having a small Christmas this year so I decided to wrap up these toys for the kids’ Christmas presents. Although I might not shop exclusively at a Shop Swap next year, I would definitely pick up toys for Christmas again.
After the 7 of us had picked the toys we wanted to take home we still had a lot (a lot a lot) of toys left over. These toys were donated to WINS in Calgary (who will even pick up!)
You can read more about our Shop Swap experience at my friend Heather’s blog.