Home Forums Living Spaces Sentimental Clutter Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

This topic contains 36 replies, has 31 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of JuliaJayne JuliaJayne 3 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #158233

    So my parents bequeathed me with boxes and boxes of things from childhood, and my husband & I have started going through everything. Recycling, donating & trashing. I just went through 5-6 copy paper boxes full of stuffed animals (that are 20+ yrs old). Things like Cabbage Patch kids and animals given at birth and then more generic animals that I have no recollection of.

    I’ve weeded out “keepers/sellers” and “goners” and “tossers.” I’m sure I’ll keep a couple of those given to at birth, but the question is what to do with all those that are NOT broken/ripped/disgusting. I hate to just throw them in the garbage, but I’m not sure if places like Goodwill would accept them. Does anyone have any ideas or experience with this?

    And then for the ones I decide to keep, what would be the best way to store them?

  • #160858
    Profile photo of EraserGirl
    EraserGirl
    Member

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    FREECYCLE. worked for me. I culled mine down to the ones that had real significance..and the rest went very quickly on freecycle. the Salvation army does take them and sell them.. (that’s where i have acquired a few)

    as for storage..if you put them on a shelf they gather dust and are hard to clean and keep looking nice. so basically if you want to display them permanently i would invest in an acrylic showbox from either the baseball card store or a doll store..you can get them online or on ebay. I have a couple of custom made 12″ action figures in acrylic display boxes. and they are great.

    if you haven’t looked at them acrylic display boxes come in every possible shape and size…as small as a golf ball as big as a baseball bat.

  • #160865
    Profile photo of aggie b.
    aggie b.
    Member

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    Per Erasergirl, I would definitely recommend Freecycle.

    For those you want to keep, by storing, do you mean you’d be tucking them away somewhere, or will they be displayed. If they will be tucked away, have you possible considered creating a special photobook of them? If space is at a premium, taking photos of them and creating a special album will still allow you to commemorate the toys, pass them on to someone who will enjoy them, and decrease storage/display clutter.

    Good luck!

  • #160868
    Profile photo of Ginger
    Ginger
    Member

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    If you want to store them tucked away long term, I highly suggest a tight plastic bin. My mom used to keep hers in a hefty trash bag and cardboard box. When she un-buried them a couple years ago, she noticed that something had broken though and chewed on them. She just chucked them all.

  • #160869
    Profile photo of Mrs.Mack
    Mrs.Mack
    Member

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    Storing – Get a hanging sweater shelf and tuck ‘em in there.

    Displaying – Agreed with the above suggestions of acrylic boxes.

    Getting rid of – If they’re useable, but old, donate them to Goodwill or whatnot. But it sounds like you already did that, and you’re asking about the ones that aren’t useable. If they can be repaired/cleaned, see if a local dry cleaners is able to do both for you (some places do minor sewing repairs as well as clean things). If you can’t find someone to repair or clean them (no one will do it or they’re just not repairable), either Freecycle or list for free on Craigslist, being honest of their condition. Who knows, someone may want to create something out of them or have their shot at repairing them. Any that aren’t claimed in X amount of time (you decide) should be recycled/tossed.

  • #160871
    Profile photo of zchristy
    zchristy
    Member

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    Have you called a local women’s shelter? Many women flee with nothing but their children and I bet a cozy buddy in good shape would thrill the heart of a displaced little person.

  • #160878
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    jsights
    Member

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    Another place that always needs stuffed animals is animal shelters. The dogs love to have stuffy toys to play with. If you’re an animal lover, this would be a great place to donate the ones you don’t want. Especially the ones that might not be in the best condition. Dogs don’t care!

  • #160899
    Profile photo of EraserGirl
    EraserGirl
    Member

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    stuffed animals for people and those for dogs ARE different.
    only donate those that can take abuse
    swallowing polyester stuffing or decorative trim can kill an animal.
    you don’t want to make it too easy for them to disembowel one

  • #161489
    Profile photo of wintersmom
    wintersmom
    Member

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    I have a ton of stuffed animals to donate too. I’ll be sending the best ones to Project Smile, a non-profit in MA that donates stuffed animals to police and fire departments. The police officers, firefighters, and paramedics keep the stuffed animals on hand so they have something to give to the hurt/traumatized children they encounter while working.

    http://www.projectsmile.org/

  • #161490
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    Sky
    Member

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    Very timely post for me. I brought what I have left from my childhood toys down from the attic yesterday. Two teddy bears, two stuffed cats and a plastic crib toy. I ran them all through the washing machine and they came out nice and clean and believe me, they are old. I took a picture to keep but so far I can’t part with them. These old friends may end up staying, they would all fit in a sweater size Rubbermaid box.

  • #161605

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    i donated a bunch of stuff animals a while ago to project smile myself, gave some to friend and donated the really large ones that where in goodshape to goodwill.

  • #162277
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    nellieb
    Member

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    Thanks, wintersmom, for the link to Project Smile. What a wonderful resource for donating children’s items!

    I love this forum, so many great ideas!

  • #172115
    Profile photo of Maggie Sue
    Maggie Sue
    Member

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    I worked at a vocational program for adults with mental retardation and they loved stuffed animals. A lot of times, they did not have any family and we would gift wrap the donated stuffed animals and give them as birthday or Christmas presents. Other times, they would be door prizes or awards for a job well done. Just another avenue for donating that hasn’t been mentioned.

  • #172129
    Profile photo of Nithy
    Nithy
    Member

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    My stuffed animals and dolls are buried in the back of a closet at my parents’ house. I fear they might not be in very good condition once I get them back. So that may make my decision for me about which ones I’ll want to keep.

  • #179124
    Profile photo of JSP
    JSP
    Member

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    Has anyone thought about making the stuffed animals into a quilt or a wall hanging. This would entail taking them apart and reconstructing them into another form. A “quilt” could have heads on one side and tails on the other. It could be cute or may be creepy. Just wondering if anyone has seen this done?

  • #179135

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    JSP that sounds really creepy.

  • #179136
    Profile photo of pkilmain
    pkilmain
    Member

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    And way too much work – at least for me!

  • #179156
    Profile photo of djk
    djk
    Member

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    LMAO! all I can think about now is “Sorrow floats”

    anyone else read John Irving?

  • #179157
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    lucy1965
    Member

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    *backs away slowly from JSP*

  • #179676
    Profile photo of Emilie
    Emilie
    Member

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    As for JSP’s suggestion, there’s a store in San Francisco that will mount the head of your stuffed animal, you know, like a hunting trophy. Not my thing, but someone’s got to be buying them.

    Otherwise, I’m not sure what to add, since I have way too many stuffed animals stored away myself!

  • #179677
    Profile photo of
    Anonymous

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    TBH I’d just toss them unless they are really special. These days with health concerns – I really wouldn’t touch a secondhand stuffed toy with a barge-pole. And new ones are very affordable. The only exception would be really collectable ones.

    Resist the urge to attach value that isn’t there….

  • #179702
    Profile photo of
    Anonymous

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    I donated all my stuffed animals over the years (they were all in good condition, so they went to relatives, friends with young kids, or the Salvation Army), except for 3 that have a lot of sentimental value.

    I used to keep them on my bed until I got 2 cats who love nothing more than to tear plush animals to shreds. Now I can’t display them in the open (cats can get to them anywhere, including highest shelves. I may have bionic cats…), and I have no glass cabinets or anything, so they’re in a closet. I really don’t want to get rid of them, but I don’t have a good solution to displaying them. Any ideas?

  • #179703
    Profile photo of Sky
    Sky
    Member

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    Anita….you could get individual glass cases that are made for dolls.

    I have 2 stuffed teddy bears I received when I was born, 61 years ago. I decided they had to get clean or go so I ran them through my washing machine. They came out like new!

  • #180108
    Profile photo of jbeany
    jbeany
    Member

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    Anita – How big are they? Places like Hobby Lobby that do a lot of framing sell acrylic collectible cases meant for signed footballs or basketballs. The acrylic would likely be more budget friendly than glass cases.

    If they won’t fit in a case, how about getting a decorative wreath and set/wire them in the opening? Maybe one with twigs or branches that would work year round – just add ribbons to match your current decor. Or you could go with evergreen and only hang them out at Christmas time. Either way, as long as the spot you find to hang the wreath isn’t close to a cat landing zone, they would be safe.

  • #180184
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    terriok
    Member

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    Hear the voices in “Books (and movies?) that ENCOURAGE clutter”. Lots of people will accept your donations!

  • #188318
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    Raynell
    Member

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    Ahh yes,I packed away my “special ones but not too far away. there are dolls and animals out for grand and great grand kids to play with ( and take home if they like) Their are few left. A friend just puts a free box out frount of her house from time to time and it all dissapears. thinking ofd doing that myself with kitchen junk.

  • #188336
    Profile photo of Astreja
    Astreja
    Participant

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    We’re steadily decluttering most of our stuffed toys, who were legion. Our local thrift stores will take them as long as they’re in good condition and clean.

    I wash small batches of stuffed toys in the washing machine, in hot water, but instead of tumble-drying them I set them in the dish drainer or hang them outside on the line.

  • #188347

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    Although I haven’t displayed the parts and pieces of the stuffed animals-like the quilting suggestion from jsp. I have “reassembled” several into pillow pet type of reconstruction. (now that everyone is backing away from their computer in horror) They turned out really cute.

  • #188431
    Profile photo of lemnlime
    lemnlime
    Member

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    Great timing for this post! I second Erasergirl and everyone who suggested Freecycle. In fact, a Freecycler just picked up three large trash bags full of stuffed animals today. All the toys were at least 10 years old, and most had been played with. A few of them were to dirty to donate, so I ran them through the wash, and they were fine. Freecycle is really the way to go for almost anything you really can’t get rid of. Good luck!

  • #188613
    Profile photo of genny
    genny
    Member

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    Oh, stuffed critters! The really big problem with them is that they cannot be laundered, for the most part. They harbor germs and maybe real live critters, as well. They are not made with materials that are meant to last, and you never really know just what it has been stuffed with.

    Cuteness aside, stuffed critters are really NOT good things to have. When they are new and lugged around by your own child so that you know where they have been, it is not as bad as it could be. If they are old and used—–no way would I want them around. There are way too many of them in the landfills and at yard sales!

    If you are a collector of such as teddy bears, you probably keep them clean. I don’t’ think that the goodwill even accepts stuffed critters, do they? I have heard that day care does not allow them.
    They are an avenue for unwanted organisms and allergies, and I don’t trust the labeling that states the contents and the materials. Think about it. Would you, otherwise, let your child cuddle under their chin something that has been dragged out on the floor of the dirty world, or or use a dirty pillow?
    I know that they are, sometimes, cute, but——–ugh! They are best kept limited.

  • #188646
    Profile photo of Sky
    Sky
    Member

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    I agree, stuffed toys are full of dust and who knows what. I run my grandhildren’s through the washer and dryer. I figure if they survive, they’re clean, If not I trash them.

    I have seen stuffed toys at Goodwill. Usually looking quite dirty. Yuk!

  • #188651
    Profile photo of Emilie
    Emilie
    Member

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    I’m a cautionary tale about giving a child too many stuffed animals. I amassed so many of the things, and always had a hard time getting rid of them. A large factor in this is that, like people are saying, it can be hard to give them away. The Goodwill around here no longer takes any toys, due to concerns about lead, although Savers does still take them. I hear tell that there is an organization called SAFE, Stuffed Animals for Emergencies, that collects them. But, looking at their website, the donation guidelines aren’t too clear. I also found an organization called Beanies for Baghdad in which soldiers give beanie babies to the kids that they come across. I am not making this up.

    At the end of the day though, I just have a hard time throwing away something with a face. I know they’re inanimate objects, but something about just tossing them is hard for me.

  • #188652
    Profile photo of pkilmain
    pkilmain
    Member

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    If you read this thread through, you’ll see that several people have attested to the fact that yes, stuffed animals can be washed!

  • #188688

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    After the floods here we gave a few of our stuffed toys to a group taking goods to the flood affected areas. I expect that there are kids in those tornado hit towns that would love a ‘new’ companion.

  • #188690
    Profile photo of Sinea
    Sinea
    Member

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    Making a photo memory of stuffed toys and then sharing them with needy kids sounds like a wonderful idea. Keep a couple of favorites and give the others away.

  • #188969
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    genny
    Member

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    pklillmain, most cannot be washed. Sure, some can. They are made of all kinds of different materials and stuffing. They are as varied in materials as the day is long.

    They are harbingers of all kinds of mites. And, they can be a carrier of bed bugs and fleas. Yes, inanimate critters can have fleas!
    They are almost a personal item, much like a personal bed pillow, or one’s own bed sheets.

    My grandson has a bunch of them on his bed. I am hoping that he grows out of it soon. At least they do stay in his room for the most part, so their travel is limited.

  • #188971
    Profile photo of JuliaJayne
    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Stuffed Animals. What to do with them?

    You can put stuffed animals into a bag stick them in the freezer for a couple of days to kill the bugs.

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