Freeing Up Space At Home

Freeing Up Space At Home

A 7 Step Guide For Creating A Community Toy Library

Billie Gonzalez

After the winter holidays, you may find that your child's toy chest is overflowing with new gifts that they have received. To help keep their room tidy and free up extra space in your home, you might consider putting their older toys that they no longer use in storage. However, to offset the cost of a storage unit and allow other neighborhood children to enjoy each other's older toys, you should ask your neighbors if they are interested in a toy exchange. Creating a toy library for your entire neighborhood to use allows you to keep toys in storage until younger children grow up and want to use them. 

To successfully create a toy library, you should follow these steps: 

  1. Ask your neighbors if they would be interested in a neighborhood toy library. To be more inclusive, you can print fliers and post them where they can be seen by all of your neighbors instead of only asking your friends. 
  2. Create an email list of interested parents. Start to gather their information including how many children they have, what their children's current ages are, and how many toys they think they will contribute to the library. This will give you an idea of how much space you will need when you start looking at storage facilities. 
  3. Look around for a nearby self storage facility. The facility will ideally be within walking distance or a short bus ride or drive away from your neighborhood, so you can access items quickly and easily. If you opt for a facility that is further away, you may want to limit dates for parents to exchange toys to once or twice a month to save on driving time and gas money. 
  4. Decide on a fair monthly membership fee that splits the cost of the storage unit between all of the parents who wish to participate in the toy library. 
  5. Gather old toys from participants. Make sure all toys are cleaned before you accept them, or plan to clean and disinfect the toys before putting them in storage. While gathering toys, you should make sure that you create a detailed list of the toys and who they belong to. This list will eventually be given to all library members so they can easily plan on which toys they want to check out from the library. 
  6. Divide the toys based on age and store them securely in well-labeled bins or boxes. If you have a lot of toys you may also want to divide the toys based on their intended use as well, putting all building sets in one box and collecting dolls and figurines in another box. 
  7. Decide on a day each week or each month when you will retrieve toys from the toy library for other parents. Between these pick up and drop off days, the parents can choose the toys that they want from a list of available toys that you provide for them. This should make finding the toys in storage a quick process. 

If parents are interested, you can expand the community toy library to include old clothes that are in good condition. Alternatively, you may want to include some adult items such as tools that you only need occasionally. 

If you find that managing the toy library is overwhelming, you should consider asking another parent or two to help you manage it. You can give these parents permission to access your storage unit and rotate which days you oversee the toy exchange, so you only have to complete the exchange once a month or every few months. Depending on your community and how often they want to exchange toys, you might decide to only access the storage unit when a parent requests new toys as opposed to having a weekly or monthly toy exchange. 


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About Me
Freeing Up Space At Home

About a year ago, I realized that my house was too jam packed with items. I was tired of dealing with the crowded space, so I decided to rent a storage facility to improve things. When I moved things out of the house, it was amazing to see how much more light and airy the space felt. Overnight, I felt invigorated and excited about my home. This blog is all about storing furniture to free up space at home, and learning how to store things in your storage unit the right way. You never know, you might be able to free up some space in your house, without compromising the integrity of your belongings.