Front Door Treats

Get Friends Out the DoorRandom toys and free stuff in a pile including stickers, pipe cleaners, sunglasses, and mini frisbees

  • What: Grab bag goodies by the front door
  • When: 12 months and up
  • Why: Get rid of junk, make transitions easier
  • Where: Your home

I keep a big bowl by our front door. Whenever my kids come home with more plastic junk, it goes into the bowl as soon as they lose interest. Favors from a party? I chuck them into the bowl. Freebies from festivals? Into the bowl they go.

Bowl filled with random toys and kid items

I keep the bowl full of random things, including stickers, spare sunglasses, bracelets, and more.

Full disclosure, like most of my best ideas, I did not dream up this brilliance myself. When the kids were younger and had play dates more often than they had school, I would bribe their friends to leave by letting them select a toy or item from the bowl of goodies. Once they got their shoes and hats and coats and other belongings collected, they could make a selection. My kids also got to select something to soothe their feelings of being abandoned against their will. Once they lost interest in it again, usually within five minutes, I tossed it back in the bowl for next time.

Pile of random toys on wooden floor

An amazing amount of crap piles up in our bowl. Here I dumped it out on the floor for a better look.

It worked great until other parents wised up and realized they didn’t need a bunch of plastic junk crowding their house, either. Now that the kids have grown older and less prone to throwing fits when they leave, the bowl doesn’t get emptied as often. I make regular dumps to combat overfilling instead.

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