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How To Host a Toy Exchange

If spring caught you off guard and you've moved Spring Cleaning to your Summer Bucket List, try narrowing down the chore to just toys. Chatting with my neighbors, we realized we could save money if we just traded toys.

Toy Exchange

Hosting a toy exchange is a great way to recycle, reuse and reduce the clutter that creeps into closets. Here are some tips on how to host a toy exchange to get you started -

  1.  Set a date. Name your time and place. Then spread the word.
  2. Invite friends, family, neighbors - especially families with kids of all ages.
  3. Lay down the law. Spell out the rules up front so people know what to expect. Toys should be clean and unbroken. Hand out tickets - 1 for each toy checked in and good for 1 toy at Check Out.
  4. Plan a Set Up time, Browsing Time and then a Shopping Time.
  5. Set up stations - Designate an area for toys by age group - Ages 0-1, Up to 2, Preschool, Grades K-3, Grades 4-6, Kids 12+. Use a wading pool for "free" small items.
  6. Remind attendees to bring bags or boxes for easy transport.
  7. Have a plan for the extras. Participants will be excited to know that they won't have to take their leftovers home and that a local charity may benefit from the donations.
  8. Serve treats! Everyone loves a snack.
  9. Delegate and share the work. Many hands will really make light work.
  10. Leave the kids home? While it may be fun to bring them along, it may make for some drama. Be prepared.

Some bonus ideas? Create a wrapping station with labels, plastic wrap (for puzzles or small pieces), zip-top bags or gift wrap. Toys can be prepped before check in or wrapped after "purchase" to keep a surprise. Ask attendees to create wish lists with general requests such as "ladybug themed items" or "trucks for toddlers." Then, just have fun!

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Have any tips of your own to share?

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