It’s a go-to gift from so many well-meaning folks. They’re soft! They’re fluffy! They’re cute! But before you know it, your child has approximately 147 stuffed animals—toys that defy stacking, that can really only be heaped precariously until the slightest nudge sends the whole mountain avalanching down.
Storing stuffed animals is no fun, but it’s a necessary part of parenting. So we found some ways to ease that storage pain.
Use a curtain rod
We’re starting with our favourite stuffed animal storage hack: Install a curtain rod on the wall in your kid’s room. Pinterest user Staci Kruse shared the idea, showing the rod attached mid-wall—low enough for a child to reach—and stuffed with animals all in a row. They sort of look like they’re hanging out at a bar rail, but are cuter than most of your average regulars.
Repurpose a planter
Aubrey Howell over at the Organise It Challenge blog did something similar with wall-hanging planters. Because her daughter’s room is small, she wrote, bringing the animals up and along the wall was a great space-saver.
This works, too, with hanging planters. Dinah Wulf at the blog DIY Inspired repurposed a hanging basket as a chandelier for an outdoor party and hung it from the centre of a tent. Wulf wrote:
I didn’t want to throw it away so I ended up hanging it in my daughter’s room for stuffed animal toy storage. My daughter loves it and calls it her hanging zoo.
Put them in a beanbag chair
Stuffed animal storage beanbags include, essentially, just the chair cover, which you can stuff full of stuffies. Offspring Facebook Group member Kathleen Bartels has one for her kids. It’s comfier than it seems, she says. But she makes sure not to store any of the harder animals inside.
Instead of a beanbag chair, Facebook group member Maddi Bray stuffs a storage bag. Similar concept, different shape. It takes a bit of finagling to get all the insides placed so the bag is comfy, Bray said, so she added some pillows and blankets inside to help.
Stagger canvas totes on the wall
Before Bray discovered the glory of the comfy storage bag, she used a trio of canvas totes hung down a wall. As your child grows out of their stuffed animals or pares down their collection, these totes can be multi-use, great for storing other toys or even blankets or burp clothes for the next baby.
Use a hammock—or make one
Offspring Facebook group member Steve Julian suggests a toy hammock, which succeeds in getting the mass of animals off the floor but, admittedly, can make the toys a little tough to reach, depending where you place the hammock. Traditionally, you see them up in the corner. But better yet? Bring that hammock down a bit so your child can reach their animals—or, at least, so you can reach them.
Hammocks are available everywhere from Target to Amazon, but if you’re looking for a more low-cost option, Deanna over at the Shady Tree Diary blog recommends using a length of tulle and some 3M hooks to cobble together your own hammock.
Make a stuffed animal swing
If crafty options are your jam, you might dig It’s Always Autumn’s multi-tiered stuffed animal swing. It’ll get animals off the floor but still keep them visible, so your kid can find what they’re looking for.
This is a great way to help your child pare down their collection, too. Blogger Autumn says each swing ladder can hold eight Build-A-Bear-sized animals easily—but that’s it. She writes:
The boys know they can keep as many animals as will fit on their shelf, which is going to make it easy to know when it’s time to de-clutter and donate a few.
A warning: This swing might be a better idea for older kids. The urge to turn the swing into a ladder might be a bit too great.
And finally, the ultimate storage solution: Get rid of them. Many donation centres don’t accept used stuffed animals, though, so the trick is to find spots that are willing to take the “slightly used” variety. Here are some spots that want them:
Stuffed Animals for Emergencies
Stuffed Animals for Emergencies accepts new and gently used animals and passes them out to children in traumatic or emergency situations. Its volunteers will even clean the animals for you. There are currently only locations in five states, but you can send your animals to any location.
Backpack Beginnings accepts new and gently used animals as part of the Comfort BackPack Program, which provides backpacks full of goodies like stuffed animals, hygiene items and school supplies to children who have been displaced due to trauma. You can assemble your own backpack or donate animals only. Mail them to 1852 Banking St. No. 9024, Greensboro, NC 27408.
Some humane societies and ASPCAs accept stuffed animals for their live animals, including the Michiana Humane Society in Michigan City, Indiana, which specifies donations should be without beans, sand or pellets; the Chautaqua County Humane Society in Jamestown, New York, which will sell clean, undamaged animals in their resale shop; and Chemung County SPCA in Elmira, New York, which uses stuffed animals for play.
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