How to Get Rid of the Kids’ Old Toys, Clothes and Sentimental Items

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“It is often very hard for parents to part with children’s old artwork, toys or clothing that they have bearoutgrown,” says Patty Barr, founder and owner of The Elegant Organizer, which services clients from NYC to Montauk. Barr says that parents justify keeping items with thoughts like, “Money was used to pay for those,” “A family member gave it as a birthday present,” or “Remember when she made that macaroni and clay project?”

To get started on this daunting decluttering project, Barr says to create zones and categories first. Zone the items into toys, stuffed animals, clothes and artwork. Once the items have been separated, utilize the following helpful tips Barr provides:

Toys – Keep the toys they currently use and donate the remainder to organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters of Long Island—a great organization that helps children on Long Island. Barr also recommends that parents set aside some time with their children to go through their old toys and educate them on how they have outgrown them and how by donating them they can help other less fortunate children.

Stuffed animals – Sort the animals from the oldest to the most current, and have the children go through them and ask them what they would like to keep. Sometimes you’ll find that some of them still have the tags. A great organization to donate to is Stuffed Animals for Emergencies ( It accepts gently used stuffed animals and books for when children need them most, during such emergency situations as fires, illness, accidents, neglect, abuse, homelessness and even weather emergencies.

Clothes – Create small piles and go through the clothes placing a pile for friends, a pile for donation and a pile to be created into rags. Immediately donate items that are too small to charity organizations or relatives.

Artwork – It is a good idea to display the artwork in a hallway or in a family room/rec room and to rotate the art by season. Parents can also create a timeline of their children’s artwork with the yearly school photo and can take all of it down at the end of summer to start again for the new school year. When children become older, a few pieces of artwork can be kept for sentimental reasons, but the remainder can be donated to I Love My Kids’ Art (ILoveMyKidsArt. com). This organization can turn a child’s drawing into a piece of artwork or poster that can hang on the wall, but it can also take the artwork and create note cards and greeting cards for charity. It is a unique way to keep one’s children’s art alive.

As a child grows, it can be very challenging for them and their parents to detach from their items. Make purging fun, creative and educational. Teach your children early on how to declutter and also to help other children in need.

For more information about Patty Barr, of The Elegant Organizer, call 631-251-1414 or visit

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