If your playroom looks anything like ours, perhaps we should move to Santa Cruz together. That’s where an eight-hundred square foot “toy library” is doing brisk business for parents who don’t want to pack up on clutter.
Featured in the Mercury News this week, the library is built on the same premise as the one you’re used to. Only in place of books there are toys, mountains of them. Owner Heddi Craft says she has close to three thousand items for ages two to twelve.
This sounds vaguely like those toy rental companies that have been cropping up on the Internet in recent years – the toy version of Netflix. But where those are entirely based on parents picking out what they think their kids will like, a physical toy library is open for families to stop by and let kids “check out” their own toys. It’s like hitting the toy store . . . without the hefty bill.
Indeed I’m digging the idea of a toy library not just for the clutter-free playroom idea, but the cost savings. place for as little as $150 a year (add that up – that’s ten $15 toys), and folks keep up to six toys for eight weeks at a clip.
It also saves on all those toys bought because they looked cool . . . only to sit in the bottom of the toy box for a year and a half until it’s dug out (by mom or dad) to be donated to the local used toy drive. In cases where your kids fall in total love, there’s nothing holding you back from actually going out and buying that toy now that you know your kids will actually play with it, of course. If anything – this is a test drive of the toys.
There are probably a few toys I’d prefer to buy on my own anyway, but I’d sign up for this if they had it in my neighborhood. Would you?