Storing Childhood Toys
I have kept many of my childhood toys. Not all of them, but just enough to fill a good sized box. I keep them around because they remind me of a most wonderful childhood. AND… because those toys no longer exist on store shelves. I have no intention of selling them and I know I should consider selling because of the price I can get for them on Ebay. But, they remind me of where I started in my life and what was dear to me way back when. I just can’t quite part with them. Belongings such as these are part of my personality, part of me. The problem these treasured toys cause is a matter that I am always trying to contend with. I want them to stay in perfect condition but to also be able to stay out and be displayed in my studio. Cleaning the 1950’s plastic of the doll’s face and the fragile cloth of the 1930’s inherited doll from my mother, takes a special routine every few months. The few times they have had to go into long term storage also took some extra time and care so that they would stay in mint condition. Today, many people keep their toys or even their children’s toys because they realize that they will never be created again. But, on the other side of the equation, toys are plentiful and often families are overloaded with boxes, baskets and shelves full of them. They have to ask, should they save them or get rid of them? The following is a list of things to do with old toys and a few toys that you should keep around.
No matter how heartfelt the toy is to you and your memory, if it is broken, it needs to be thrown away. You can consider fixing it, but will you really get to it? Probably not. Is it a rare toy? If it is, then fixing it may be a viable option. Is it going to cost a small fortune to order the parts to make it whole again? Just like a car, sometimes fixing it will cost more than what it is worth. Just throw it away.
Donating toys that are in good condition is good for the heart and soul. Clean the toys up and get the goop off of them and drop them off to a worthy charity. They will in turn, clean them up a bit more and give it to someone who will carry on the love. The holiday season is the time of year that toys in good condition are really needed at all charitable organizations. Children’s hospital wards and day care centers will also take donated toys.
Lots of families have instituted a rule of “One In One Out”. This means that when a new toy comes into the home, an old one has to go to the donation bag. This rule helps with clutter, organization and establishing the habit of donation. Generosity should be an everyday thing.
You can always just sell the toys. You can have a garage sale for just toys and let the kids do all the work. They can set up, sell and then clean up afterwards. Let them have a kool aid sale while selling their old stuffed toys, games, videos and bikes. All proceeds go to a special camp fund or a “Kids Vacation”. You can also donate the money to a worthy cause. You can also sell the toys online. Facebook Marketplace is a great place to sell your toys locally. No shipping involved. You can also list them on craigslist, ebay, letgo and several other platforms. Simply post a picture of the item to be sold, place a price, add a description, and wait for people to contact you.
And then, finally, you can always store the old toys until you decide what you are going to do with them. There will always be a few toy mementos you just can’t part with, so consider getting a small storage unit. This way the toys can be carefully packed away and not take up room in the house. A five foot by five foot unit is small enough that a few boxes can be piled inside with labels and can be kept safely until one day you decide to pass them onto children or grandchildren. You will always have them so that when you want to bring up old memories they are right there for you to unwrap.
Here are a few classic toys that, if you have them, hang on to them. They could be worth some money. So, wrap them up, put them in a tightly sealed box and put them into a secure storage unit.
Pushing corn popper is a classic that dates back decades and is perfect for generations of children. It was introduced in 1957 and if you can find an original, it can get several times the original price.
The Paddle ball has been around since colonial America. It is a one person game played with a paddle and an attached ball. If you have a really old one, they can sell for up to $100.
The Viewmaster is another classic that can definitely have collectors thrilled. The wooden ones from the late 1800s are worth several hundred dollars while the ones from the 1950s are about $50 to $100 with the cards included.
Easy Bake Ovens were found under Christmas trees for years and they were a new baker’s dream! If you have one, then make sure you pack it tightly and store this delightful invention. It’s value keeps rising just like bread!
Etch a Sketch has come back to the toy store shelves, but an original is worth a good amount. Working both the drawing knobs was a real talent for an entire generation of baby boomers.
Red Radio Flyer wagons were always toys that we loved. Refurbished with clean wheels, these classic wagons can be worth quite a bit. Prices on Ebay range from $75 to $200 depending on the condition. If you have one, save it for a grandchild or for the high price you can eventually get!
Remember the 1950's Fisher Price Buzzy Bee Wooden Pull Toy? Every kid in the world seemed to have one of those bees that clacked when you pulled it. It may seem silly, but storing one of the bees may make you lots of money in the future!
Chatty Cathy was talkative best friend from the 1960s. She could ask for a cookie and six other phrases and was really amazing. Lots of dolls do lots of talking these days, but not quite like the lovely Cathy. An original can fetch over $200!
From train sets to baby buggies and original Lincoln Log sets, toys are a huge collectors category. Before you throw away toys, double check whether they have a value. You never know who would pay a high price for a sweet childhood memory!