- Is a membership with The Toyary worth it? A.K.A. What’s in it for me?
- What items do members have access to?
- Why do you need to file my credit card?
- How do I cancel my membership?
- Where/How do you deliver?
- How does on-demand pickup work?
- How do I purchase a toy if we can’t part with it?
- How do I make my toy selection(s)?
- How many items can I borrow at once?
- How do I borrow more than 3 items during the reservation process?
- What if an item I want is already reserved?
- How often can I borrow toys?
- Can I save my favorite items for future borrowing?
- Can I/How do I renew items?
- How do I get my toys and return them?
- What happens if an item I borrow is lost, broken and/or late?
- What if I can’t bear to separate my child(ren) from a toy?!
- What is The Toyary doing to prevent the spread of Covid and any other potentially contagious germs?
- Do I need to clean items before returning them?
- I have toys that I’d like to donate to The Toyary, what’s the best way to do this?
- How can I get involved with The Toyary as a local toy maker/business/community organization?
Joining and memberships
Is a membership with The Toyary worth it? A.K.A. What’s in it for me?
Based on our experience, members that get the most out of joining The Toyary place strong value in the core principles underlying our mission.
- Save money: Comparing the cost of a monthly and annual membership, we feel strongly that The Toyary offers a more affordable path to using/consuming and aging with toys, games and other play experiences, particularly over the course a child’s lifetime of play.
- Save the environment: Children grow through toys so quickly with many failing to find another home. While the toy manufacturing landscape is changing, the majority of toys (especially more affordable ones) are still made largely of non-recyclable plastic. In addition to saving money, toy libraries like ours help fundamentally support reuse.
- Save your sanity: While no one can prepare you for how much love you will have for your child(ren), we could probably say the same for the levels of complexity that come with raising a toddler (or two, or more…)! Add New England weather and The Time of Covid-19 to the mix and let us help bring on some new
distractionsplay experiences for you!
- Save your space: Little ones might be “little” but the same doesn’t necessarily hold true for the amount of space they require! Toys don’t need to be part of that equation. Our members value the opportunity to outsource and rotate their toy collection, and save all that extra space for a less cluttered home.
What items do members have access to?
Our toy library items are a carefully curated, constantly growing collection of learning-focused, inclusive and diversity-promoting toys and games. Children’s brains develop the most during their first few years of life and we’re very much focused on positively impacting development from 6 months months to 6+ years by enabling learning-based play. That being said, we do have toys, games and play experiences that cater to children as young as newborns and as old as 7-8 years old, with games and activities that the whole family can get excited about!
Why do you need to file my credit card?
Both our mission and our membership value rely on the availability and quality of our toy library inventory. We need to keep a credit card on file for borrowing to help ensure items are returned, free of damage and in their entirety.
How do I cancel my membership?
You can cancel a monthly membership anytime before you are charged for the next month (note: if you have items checked out, these will first need to be returned). Annual memberships last for one year from the time they were initiated. Please call or email us if you need any help canceling or renewing a membership.
Where/How do you deliver?
Deliveries to the following zones are free with membership: Boston (including South End, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain and Roslindale/West Roxbury); Cambridge and Somerville; and the North Shore towns of Melrose, Wakefield, Stoneham, Reading, Malden and Medford. If you fall outside of these zones and prefer delivery, please contact us to discuss next steps. If you have questions or are interested solely in borrowing a party pack, just click here to get planning.
Note, we require a physical location to drop-off and pick-up items, typically within a one to two hour window depending on location. If you reserve particularly large items or party packs, we’ll arrange a specific time/date that works best for you.
How does on-demand pick-up work?
All members now have the option to reserve and swap items for pick-up in Medford, MA, at Trove Green Provisions and/or in Kendall Square (Cambridge) at Vico. This is a great option if you fall outside of our current delivery zones or if you’d like to swap items earlier than our biweekly delivery schedule allows.
Just select the “pickup” option during the reservation process, after which you will be prompted to choose your preferred pickup location. We’ll email you when your items are ready for pick-up at this location (if you have items to return, make sure you bring them to swap for your new bag). Note, while we can typically process orders with a quicker turnaround for this location, pickups themselves can only take place during Trove and Vico’s opening hours, which are posted on their web sites linked to above.
How do I purchase a toy if we can’t part with it?
One of the perks of membership is your ability to purchase a vetted toy at a substantial discount if your child ends up loving it. If you are interested in owning a toy you’ve borrowed, contact us for a quick quote.
Borrowing and returning toys
How do I make my toy selection(s)?
Members select their toys online through our member portal; alternately, members can opt for a selection curated by us (in that case, just let us know). So that we have enough time to collect them for you ahead of deliveries or pickups, we require online reservations be made 24-48 hours prior. Don’t worry about having to remember this though; we’ll send out reminders once it’s time to reserve your next round of toys.
How many items can I borrow at once?
Members can borrow up to THREE items at a time. Beyond that, we charge a small $10 fee for each TWO additional items borrowed. Alternatively, we love to work with members to put together a curated or themed Party Pack for special occasions (prices vary depending on the number and types of items needed).
How do I borrow more than 3 items during the reservation process?
To borrow more than 3 items during the reservation process, simply add the additional items to your reservation and we will process your larger order. Note, there is a $10 fee for each TWO additional items borrowed which accounts for the additional cleaning, maintenance and transportation costs required. This charge will get processed during checkout as an add-on fee.
What if an item I want is already reserved?
No worries! If an item you want is already reserved, just view the calendar for that item and book the next available date. For some of our higher-demand items, we do place a limit on the length of time that item can be borrowed or renewed. In any of these cases, we specify this information in the item’s online description, which you’d see beforehand.
How often can I borrow toys?
You can borrow up to three toys for as little as two weeks and as long as several months. Particularly high demand toys may only be eligible for one loan at a time, which you’ll see noted when reserving that item online. In most cases, if no one has reserved a “high-demand” item after your borrowing period, you’re welcome to keep renewing it.
Can I save my favorite items for future borrowing?
While this feature is in the development pipeline, currently the best way to save items for future borrowing is to make a future reservation for them. As long as you’re a member, you can reserve as far in advance as you’d like. Some members will reserve items several weeks or months in advance to keep them in their pipeline.
Can I/How do I renew items?
With a few exceptions (e.g., high demand items or another reservation), most of our toy library collection can be renewed for additional borrowing increments. To renew, either log into your member portal and renew the item directly, or call or email us and we’ll take care of it for you.
How do I get my toys and return them?
Once you become a member, you’ll have direct access to our member portal where you can:
- Browse and reserve toys: Log directly into our member portal to choose your items and dates and make a reservation. Members can borrow a toy for a minimum of two weeks and a maximum of one month, with the option to renew in most cases. Make sure to click “Submit Reservation” to complete your request. Then, look out for our confirmation email.
- Renew items in your account: Log into your account to view and renew your items. Unless there’s a pending reservation, the majority of items can be renewed for another 2+ week period. We’ll send you a confirmation to let you know you’re all set.
- Choose your fulfillment method: When you reserve your items in the member portal you also choose how you want to get them. When you choose delivery, we’ll contact you with a delivery window within 24-hours of the date items are due to be dropped off/returned. When you choose pickup, you’ll receive an email confirmation when your items are ready for pickup. If you experience an unforeseen circumstance or scheduling conflict, just contact us to discuss alternative arrangements.
What happens if an item I borrow is lost, broken and/or late?
Look, we get that life happens and that life with young children throws in a few extra wildcards. A major part of our mission is to make the lives of parents and child caretakers easier, not more stressful. If you’re reading this in a panic, we’ve failed! Before you get to the point of stress, here’s what to do when you get our delivery/return reminder and realize something’s missing, broken or lost:
- “Help, we’ve lost a toy or part of it!” As parents, we know that in most cases the missing item or parts usually reappear. Your first step is to just let us know. We can renew or decommission that item for you until you’re able to find it. If it’s ultimately gone, depending on the item or part(s), we can replace the item for you with a replacement fee (if applicable) or a member can replace the missing toy or pieces themselves, as long as they’re in a similar condition.
- “Yikes, we broke something!” We think the ultimate test of a good toy is how much play it can handle. That’s why—in addition to its developmental strengths—we pay strong attention to an item’s durability and sustainability when selecting which items to include in our toy collection. In the event that something breaks, your first step is to immediately remove it, then let us know. If it’s not something that we can fix or replace in-house, we’ll work with a member to discuss potential replacement options. Most importantly, if any item is damaged while being borrowed, it is the members responsibility to immediately remove it to ensure a child is not playing with a defective product.
- “Ugh, we’ve missed our return date!” In case this happens, we’ve built buffers into our borrowing system so that members generally don’t have to worry about leaving other members hanging (or about being that member left hanging)! Members also have a 7-day grace period to return late items before a late fee of $1/per day/per item kicks in for most items (note: a small number of items like our pickler triangles and climbing arches may have a higher late fee due to the nature of the item—in these cases, this exception is always specified in the item description before a member reserves it). Please call or email if you miss your return date to coordinate returning your borrowed item(s) as soon as possible.
What if I can’t bear to separate my child(ren) from a toy?!
Amid the plethora of play options, it’s a wonderful thing to come across a toy or game that your little one(s) just can’t let go of! As a member you have the option to purchase any item that you can’t bear to part with, typically at a substantial savings given it’s pre-loved condition. When you do this, you also receive the added benefit of supporting a more sustainable economy. If you find yourself in this situation, please let us know!
Safety and sanitization
What is The Toyary doing to prevent the spread of Covid and any other potentially contagious germs?
Our items undergo a quarantine, inspection and cleaning process between loans, which you can learn in greater detail about here, including the CDC and ALA guidelines that we track and follow.
Do I need to clean items before returning them?
We ask that you treat the toys and games you borrow like your own, which means letting children play with them like they should! As you probably would with anything in your house, if something gets particularly dirty please wipe it down so that it is no longer soiled or stained. While we clean and quarantine all returns, we expect members to return items in the condition they would want to borrow them in.
Donating and supporting
I have toys that I’d like to donate or sell to The Toyary, what’s the best way to do this?
There are a few ways we value support and donations are one of them! Please just call or email us to coordinate a pick-up time. If you have items to donate that we might not typically use in the toy library (e.g., stuffed animals), we work with our non-profit partners to redistribute them to children and families in need.
How can I get involved with The Toyary as a local toy maker/business/community organization?
We love to support and advocate for small businesses, toy makers and fellow community organizations at The Toyary! Here are a few ways we enjoy collaborating.
- Identifying sites for our local pick-ups and drop-offs.
- Helping to expand our selective toy collection.
- Supporting member events, fun activities and unique offers.
- Bringing all sorts of creative ideas to the table!
Please reach us in any of these ways to get a conversation going.