JUPITER, Fla. — The great pre-Christmas toy purge is an annual event for Jessica McGillicuddy, the so-called "organization guru." The founder and owner of The POP Home said, like so many moms, the toys became too much.
"I didn't want to do the cleanout by myself and have him not involved, and (my son) gets home and is wondering where all his toys went," she explained.
So, together with her sons, it became a teaching moment.
"It's very rewarding to see your child say, 'I don't play with that, and I know that it would bring another child joy,'" McGillicuddy said.
It's a process that fellow mom and food blogger, Dianna Muscari, has taken on.
"My hobby is to organize," she laughed.
It's a lesson for her son that giving is better than receiving.
"They outgrow things pretty quickly, and then you just end up with piles and piles of stuff you don't need," Muscari said.
It may sound like a stressful tradition with your child by your side.
McGillicuddy said make sure it's not a surprise where you walk in at a random time with a trash bag in hand. She also suggested getting organized with four bins.
"Two of them are for donations. One of them is to go into the attic," she said.
The attic bin would include a beloved toy, with any batteries removed, for your kids' children one day. This year, for the McGillicuddy family, that included Toy Story characters.
"It was kind of funny, because they all end up in the attic at Andy's house, but they are not in a garbage bag. Nobody can mistake them for garbage," she laughed.
That fourth bin is for "Grandma's house."
"Toys that they still want but don't necessarily want to play with here," McGillicuddy explained.
She said junk goes in the trash. For current or future siblings, only save the best.
McGillicuddy said remember to respect your kids’ emotions. Put a toy down if you have to and come back to it.
"Remember that these are the kids' prized possessions," she said.
Also, pick your passion when it comes to donating. McGillicuddy is a former police officer, who kept toys in her patrol car to give to children during difficult moments. Now, her boys' toys will end up with Jupiter police officers.
"When they come in contact with a child that might need them, they have them available to them," she said.