Help! Overrun by Stuffed Animals!

new2decoratingApril 11, 2007

Hi! Any suggestions on how to organize my daughter's stuffed animals? I would like to keep them in her room but I need to contain them somehow! I have been looking for a BIG basket to put them all in that she can reach to access...but I can't find one! Any thoughts? Thanks :)

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Okay, if you think you are "overrun" by plushies, then it might be in your best interest to pare down a little. How many plushies does your DD play with on a daily basis? How many does she own?

If you need a big basket you should try one of the cloth hampers from Target.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2007 at 2:07AM
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I made a sling out of a rectangular piece of cloth (a little thinner than a twin flat sheet), and hung it on the wall beside her upper bunk; stuffed animals go in there. It doesn't get too deep, so she can reach the animals at the bottom.

I made a similar one, and hung it off the upper bunk, to be accessed by her brother, who sleeps in the lower bunk.

This doesn't work in every room, of course. Not every room has the horizontal wall space.

And I wanted to (but never got around to it) glue clothespins to the side of the bookcase to use to clip the ears of the little Beanie Babies ones--sort of like>potato chips in the deli

You could buy a potato chip rack--either one like that one above (you have to buy 10 for 99¢ each), or....

this tabletop one that holds 60 potato-chip bags--er, Beanie Babies.

Or this less expensive one that holds 44

I wouldn't go for a hamper, just because it's so tall. She'll have to dig them ALL out to get to the ones in the bottom.

And I'd love for you to learn from MY mistakes, and get really stern about stuffed animals. Tell every relative, and your child, that ANY new animal coming in means an OLD one MUST go out, and caution the relatives that if they buy your kids another stuffed animal, they may actually be doing the child a dirty trick, because it will mean she has to throw out an older one she loves already. Be really firm. maybe you can convince the relatives to STOP buying stuffed animals as gifts.

Then you can concentrate on DD, and getting her to prioritize. Does she want this new stuffed animal bad enough to give up one of the ones she already uses? But, ***you have to be tough*** and actually make her give away or toss out the ones she picks to get rid of.

I *hate* stuffed animals, and my in-laws just seem to think they can easily buy another one for my kids. Some stupid cheap one, because stuffed animals are sort of a default gift. They buy one for my kids (or they used to) at every opportunity. The kid's in a play? Buy her a stuffed animal to celebrate. It's Easter? Buy her a stuffed animal.

I have 3 big garbage bags full in the storage bin from when we decluttered to try to sell our home--and DD came home with another one from the circus! Grrrrrr....

    Bookmark   April 12, 2007 at 11:02AM
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My mother had 37 Garfield plushies in the house when she died, if anyone needs an item for the "it could be worse" category.

Jean Marie

    Bookmark   April 12, 2007 at 12:03PM
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I went back to the target website to look for better things. Most of the kid's hampers were 24x10, I don't know if that's too big for your daughter.

I thought this was cool:
It's a bench with storage.

or: This tote bin,
which is one of the many tote bins they have. They seem small enough. Oh, if you don't have an target in your area, I'm sure other stores have it.

I used to keep my toys in an over-the-door shoe organizer. Small plushies like beanie babies could fit in there. But you would have to go up to her height. If the beanie babies reach the top of the door where she can't reach it, then she might have too much.

Talley_Sue, I know how you feel. I still have to tell relatives not to give me any plushies. And yet I still got some. I told them I would much rather have them donate to (the surfrider foundation) then waste the money on a toy. I got like 2 boxes of them still in my attic. I saw on ebay the sea world/shamu plushies are going for $15. So I hear ebay calling me!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2007 at 1:38PM
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Thank you! Some great ideas :)

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 1:33PM
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I'll admit to still having some of my childhood stuffed animals. When we cleaned out my mom's house a few years ago (she lived there 30+ years) I took pictures of all the stuffed animals and then kept the ones I really remembered and liked. I think it was about 10 total, none really big.

My husband, in our previous house in SoCal, put up two short shelves in a corner of our bedroom and I arranged the animals up there. I liked seeing them. They made me smile. And since they were up on the wall they didn't take up floor or closet space. I haven't put them up in our new house yet.

I agree with talley_sue - keeping them down to a reasonable number is the key. Of course, "reasonable" means different things to different people.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 2:17AM
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I used laundry baskets. They're cheap and come in lots of colors. Even a toddler can dump a plastic laundry basket and throw the toys back in when finished playing. If we had more than would fit in a laundry basket, I would weed out a few. We still use laundry baskets for toy storage.


    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 3:28AM
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People do like to buy the darned things, but kids seem to only love one, or at least one at a time. "Grover" has gone off to college with DD, and I expect him to walk down the aisle with her one day.

We put a moratorium on stuffed animals. As our kids were the first ones of the next generation, our family members thought we were quite terrible, until their own children came along and they were overrun by plush beasties.

We used Gloria's laundry basket method. Another benefit was that they were so easy to fill (no lid), they provided an early opportunity for the children to contribute to the housekeeping chores.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 8:29AM
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I was just at Ikea over the weekend and they had mesh things on sale for .99 each - they hang in a closet and drop to the floor in a cylander, with 6 or so separate compartments, each with a small hole just the right size to throw a beanie baby into. I particularly like that they hang in the closet, so they don't take up floor space.

On a side note, a few years ago my son was at a birthday party where the birthday boy gave away one of his old stuffed animals to each kid as their goodie bag gift. I'm not a big fan of goodie bags in general (too much candy and disposable plastic junk), but old stuffed animals really grossed me out. I can't imagine the germs and pet dander that had built up in those things. I suppose the thought was nice, unless the thought was "this is cheap and will declutter my house" as opposed to "this is a nice sharing exercise", but... yuck.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 9:25AM
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My first thought was maybe it was a decluttering excercise, the pain of which was eased by making it a sharing excercise?

I'd been avoiding reading this thread because I knew someone would say something about reducing the number. Nooooo.

We used to use laundry baskets. I finally moved the animals into the linen cupboard. It's progress.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2007 at 3:04AM
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I was also going to suggest the IKEA mesh tubes that hang from the ceiling.

Ideally though I say weed some out. My girls have a tupperware box that is to hold ALL their special treasures. IE all the junk I'd throw away if it were my choice LOL. If they want to add a new thingamajig, they have to make room for it in their box.

Another idea. I have a friend who mounted colorful baskets to the walls in rows. They look really cute. Her kids keep all their toys in them, but they could just as easily be used for stuffed animals.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2007 at 9:31PM
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I have always had a hard time with the clutter of stuffed animals. I try to vaccum (sp?) them off and put them in those giant zip lock bags and rotate them. Sometimes my DH isn't helpful with this. Did you know that you can buy kids stuffed animals at the pet store too? My DH has done this twice. He's not the one way cleaning them and being the meany of packing them away on the other hand.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2007 at 3:41AM
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Because my kids are still very young, I can immediately get rid of the ones that are not good (bad material, parts that can come off or just plain ugly). 3 that the oldest (19 months old) takes to sleep with, I rotate and keep in the drawer with her bed sheets after washing. The rest are in her toy box and I put them in the washer once a month. They wash quite well if I don't use fabric softener. And if they are ruined after many many washings, it will just be easier to toss.


    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 5:10AM
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Here's an interesting idea if you want to find a new home for your children's 'stuffies'. My local zoo purchases stuffed animals from a local thrift store. I you phoned ahead to your zoo for their okay, your children would probably be quite happy to donate what they don't want to keep. This would be an ideal place to give the much loved ones to.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 1:03PM
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Some police departments and nursing homes will also take donations of stuffed animals.

I can't stand the things either. I majorly decluttered when I moved. I got rid of all, but a few stuffed animals. It's cut down on what
I have to clean.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 6:10PM
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We just got rid of 10 more brand new toys that were gifted to us - feels great!
On some of them DH insisted, saying he'd rather buy a better one for our DDs.


    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 3:35AM
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I don't have children so I'm sure this slants my view. Please remember this is just my view and what I'd do. I certainly understand that Moms may feel differently.

I never, ever give children toys...stuffed, plush, or otherwise. I will give money, if I know the parents will part of it into the child's savings account. I will give books; I will take them for outings and treats, but I don't give "things."

I've been in so many homes where there are entire rooms completly filled, piled, stacked with "toys." I've been in children's rooms where you could not even walk on the floor because of all the toys. Some children seem to have so many toys that can't focus enough to play with any of them. It's clutter and stimulation overload.

Does your daughter truly love the plushies? Does she spend time every day playing with them? Would she be just as happy if she had, say, three plush toys?

If worse came to worse, you could bag them all up and drop them off at the nearest thrift store.

Again, this is just my thoughts. I certainly respect other people's choices.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 5:02PM
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Bravo Caroline! Wish my MIL would do that - she is the worst offender.

Oh, found 2 more toys to toss!


    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 5:30PM
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Caroline, will you come be my friend, or my relative?

One other thing I resent about people who give my kids stuff-they overshadow me! Or they stick their nose in on my territory.

DD was in a play; an aunt/cousin came and gave her a gift bag w/ candy, a stuffed animal (a stupid one at that--w/ the stupid little balloon, for displlay, not for playing) a flower. I had counted on giving her a big hug, lots of praise, and maybe a bouquet.

Or, it's Easter--so the Easter Bunny gives thema chocolate bunny--and at the family dinner they get 4 more. C'mon!

I just hae always found it hard to flat-out ditch the stuffed animals; my DD does eventually miss them. I've had not-so-bad luck w/ sticking the ones I think she won't miss in a box, and leaving them there for a year; then they can go out. But I certainly can't ask her--I have to sneak around behind her back.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 6:16PM
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I've seen a hammock used, strung across a corner of the room or the bed. Cute and gets them up off the floor. But not a good idea for a very little one (or a rambunctious one) who might decide to get up in the hammock with them.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 6:35PM
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Talley, I'll be your North Dakota cousin! We can be Country Mouse Caroline and City Mouse Talley Sue.

When you visit North Dakota we won't buy toys...we'll get the kids' books about Lewis and Clark. When I visit New York, I'll buy everything except toys! LOL

I'd love to visit some large, New York City used bookstores. I've only been there once and I loved every minute of it.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 9:44PM
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I personally use a "pop-up" laundry hamper with a zippered top, but I got a kick out of this product that someone once emailed me (link below). It's a pretty expensive solution, but looks very fun/cute I must say (it comes in various colors/sizes/styles). Maybe I can convince the grandparents to splurge on one for us. ;)

Here is a link that might be useful: stuffed animal storage & soft seat

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 1:06AM
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