Day 6: Empty Your Outbox

Day 6: Empty Your Outbox

Carrie McBride
Aug 29, 2011
Empty OutboxBreathe Sigh of Relief

Hello again 'Toy Curators'! I had intended to finish up the 7-Day Toy Cure over the weekend, but preparations for Hurricane Irene took precedence. I hope those of you affected by the hurricane/tropical storm weathered it well.

Hey look, we have a few more photo contributions to the Flickr group including several shots from se7en.hoods including a full, but colorful bookcase and art supplies. Thanks!

Assignment #6

Today's assignment is my favorite because as nice as it is to bring new things into your home, it always feel great to remove things that are no longer useful or are having a negative impact on your home. You've been diligently adding toys, books, art supplies, etc. to your Outbox and now it's decision time. It's time to decide, based on your own time, energy and inclination what to do with these items. Examine each item and decide its fate:

Trash/Recycling: If something is truly broken (or truly junk), it belongs in the trash (or the recycling if possible).

Give to a friend/family member: If you have family or friends with children, ask if they would like anything in your Outbox. If you have a lot of stuff, have a few friends over for cookies (or wine) and invite them to take anything from your Outbox home with them.

Give away to a stranger: Drop off at a thrift shop, the Goodwill, Salvation Army or another agency that accepts donations. My favorite way to get rid of things is to put them on my stoop. They are usually gone within an hour.

Sell: Especially if you have valuable items (hundreds of dollars of trains and tracks, for example), you may want to sell them. Have a stoop/garage sale, place a classified ad, use Craigslist or a local parent listserv or try eBay if you have the time.

Store: The goal of this Cure is to help declutter your home of toys, but you may find some items that legitimately belong in storage: to be saved for when your own child is older, to be saved for a younger or future child, to be saved as an heirloom or keepsake. Think long and hard about what you choose to store and set the bar high for these items.

Keep Even though "Outbox" contains the word "out", you can put something right back where it came from. Putting something in the Outbox and delaying a decision for a few days gives you mental distance from it and a better perspective on whether or not it's worth keeping. Did your child ask about that toy while it was in the Outbox? Were you tempted to take it out during the days it was in the Outbox? Again, set the bar high for anything that you put back in your home and revisit it again in a few months.

You probably will not be able to get your entire Outbox out of your house (or stored, as the case may be) in one evening, but, at the very least, get it into boxes or bags depending on its destination/destiny and deal with each box or bag as soon as you can - make the end of next weekend your goal.

Use the comments to chat with each other and ask questions! Good luck and see you tomorrow!

Here's an example from my own Outbox of something that didn't go "out." I put this car garage high up and out of the way and will try it again in 4-6 months. If it doesn't get played with the next go-round it is really and truly out.

Further reading:
Donating Toys: Do a Little Research
How To Recycle Anything (Real Simple)
The Secrets to Successful Garage Sales
Hand Me
5 Tips for Selling Your Stuff on Craigslist

(Images: Carrie McBride)

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