I gotta laugh at all the people who are like "I don't have to deal with this" and then offer solutions. Uh, respectfully? You have no idea. Here's some things that you're not going to be aware of if you've got one child and the crap has not started to pile up:
* there is so much more crap available now then there was when we were children, and it so much cheaper, and it is positioned differently. This all makes it more available, and specifically more available as impulse purchases. Example: in the downtown RiteAid window I passed yesterday there were three foot tall mechanical walking dolls for TWENTY BUCKS. Someone going to RiteAid to get a prescription filled is totally going to buy that doll on a whim. It's positioned FOR impulse purchase, cause nobody wakes up in the morning and says, "hmm, you know, there's a three foot tall mechanical walking doll-shaped void in my life."
Unless you only shop at the co-op, this crap is so pervasive even if you're devoted to a simple life something is going to grab you. Who hasn't been tempted by the gorilla who sings the Macarena, or a cute plushie, or any other of the myriad cheap third world labor produced crapola that is EVERYWHERE? So people who don't critique the disposal lifestyle don't even have the limited defenses that we do. They're just going "see cute thing! buy cute thing!" EVERY TIME THEY GO TO THE STORE.
* due to blended families, better healthcare and self-care, later child-bearing, and people having fewer children, on average, there are WAY more gift-giving adults per your child then you had. Within the extended family that I saw regularly, there were me, my brother, and my three cousins, and then there were our parents, our maternal grandparents, and my mother's sister. That's seven adults for five children. There were also my paternal grandparents, my father's brothers, and both parents' cousins, with whom they'd grown up, but they lived on the other side of the country and also there were lots of children on that side of the family to spread the gift-giving around.
Today, I have one son and two stepsons - three children. The adults who wish to regularly give them gifts: me and my partner; my parents; my grandmothers; my partner's mother, father, and stepmother; my parter's two siblings; my brother and my brother's girlfriend; and my mother's two sisters. That's FIFTEEN ADULTS FOR THREE CHILDREN. There are no other children for these people to give to. None of these adults belong to a subculture or subscribe to any ideals that prevent them from picking up a plushie at the Safeway on the way to visiting me, and none of them have the capability or desire, no matter how many time it is spelled out to them, to apply their not insignificant intelligence to the problem and see that it's not personal, it's simply a question of scale.
My mother's friends gave her a "grandmother shower" when I was pregnant because none of their children are having children and they are so desperate to shop for a baby. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.
* As for dropping stuff off at the homeless shelter, the Goodwill, or what the hell ever:
a) I live in SF and dealing with homeless people is a major part of my day whenever I leave the house, and on special occasions sometimes they come to me. I'm not spending my free time at a shelter. Sorry if that sounds harsh.
b) I don't drive which means whatever crap comes into my house is being pushed by muscle power, with 28 lbs of urklebaby on my back, half a mile to the Goodwill. This ENRAGES me.
c) finally, lots of this stuff I wouldn't give to anyone! It's CRAP, that's the whole point. Using Goodwill as a dump isn't ok - Goodwill, and homeless shelters, want good toys that can be played with.