Where to Donate Old Toys That Don't Work

Many places around your city are more than happy to accept toys used with care. Contact thrift stores, charities, shelters, daycare centers, pediatrician offices, and local social services to find out where to drop off toy donations. Your unwanted toys can bring joy to other children. Donating functional toys for reuse should always be the first line of defense.

In addition to shelters and child care centers, the most obvious and accessible donation options are thrift stores like Goodwill, which accept clean, functional toys that can be resold. The well-known Marine Toys for Tots Foundation is another excellent option, as it donates any unopened or little used toys to families who cannot afford to buy them. Another good option is Second Chance Toys, a non-profit organization that accepts toys at drop-off locations during Earth Week in April and the holiday season. There are so many charities that accept toys used with care and distribute them on their networks. For example, thrift store organizations like Goodwill and The Salvation Army will resell toys in their stores and use the proceeds to support their charitable work.

You can also donate to Toys for Tots, the United States Marine Corps Reserve program that delivers donated toys to children in need. Toys for Tots organizes popular holiday toy drives, but they also accept toys used with care throughout the year. Cradles to Crayons is another organization that accepts new and almost new toys to benefit low-income families. Especially in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, it can be difficult to find charities and organizations that accept donations of carefully used toys, but that doesn't mean that your child's old things are destined for the dump. If you can't find anywhere to donate toys, try posting the items to your local Buy Nothing Facebook group.

You can also list toys on Freecycle or Craigslist. Be sure to disinfect toys before donating them, as you would with any other charity. Most electronic toys are a combination of metal and plastic, so they can be a little tricky. Try to separate the metal, plastic, and electronic components (circuit board and wires) of the toy to dispose of them separately. For electronic components, you can try calling a local electronics recycler to see if they take them.

Here are 10 common places that accept donations of children's toys. Salvation Army and Goodwill are two of the most recognized charities that receive toy donations. But call your local branch before you go to confirm that they are accepting toy donations. These charities often give toys directly to less fortunate children, or sell them and direct the proceeds to the organization's efforts. Either way, toys will help people in your community. As an added incentive, you can donate toys to a qualifying charity or nonprofit group and deduct items from your taxes.

Before you donate something, it's worth checking it and making sure it's still working and that all the parts are still present. As toys age, especially without maintenance, they can spoil. To prevent your kind donation from having to be recycled for parts, inspect everything before donating. Make sure that the board games have all their important parts and that the mechanical toys are not in bad condition. Do not forget about toys for older children, as they are often an ignored group in favor of cute toys for toddlers.

Doing this will keep old toys cool, and children are more likely to play with their toys when they don't feel overwhelmed with options. Tell your child that those toys they no longer play with will go to another child somewhere else who may not have any toys. Before the tree rises, they find, clean and donate the toys, which makes it easier to think about bringing new toys into the house for Christmas. While donating toys is charitable and selfless, giving away old, broken or dirty toys doesn't do anyone any good. Toys seem to multiply over time, so when you try to clean the toy room, children's room or living room, there is often not enough space to store them all.

Once a toy is ready to be donated, contact these three types of organizations that might be happy to receive used toys: thrift stores like Goodwill; The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation; or Second Chance Toys during Earth Week in April or during the holiday season. Toys are an integral part of a child's early learning but once they're over them they'll rarely use them again. While parents spend countless hours searching for the best toys for their children when it's time to part with them finding places to donate these much-used and beloved items can have an emotional impact. Broken toys can be recyclable by the municipal program but only if they accept the plastic resins the toys are made of.

Whether it's a huge doll house or rails on rails for toy cars; toys can take up more space than you think. I may be the only one who thinks that my children's toys have an agenda but I know I'm not the only one who feels overwhelmed by toy clutter. While looking for a place to donate some places may not accept toys refuse stuffed animals or only accept new toys in the original packaging (such as Toys for Tots or The Ronald McDonald House Charities which uses wish lists).

Latasha Stokely
Latasha Stokely

Typical zombie scholar. Passionate bacon specialist. Proud bacon fan. Freelance food fanatic. Incurable social media evangelist.