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Let's Talk Stuffed Animals

If you are a parent, chances are you have dealt with the mounds of stuffed animals. I know I have.

"How many stuffed animals is too many stuffed animals?" is a common question from clients as I help them de-clutter and organize their children's rooms and playrooms. As simple as it would make organizing, there just is not an exact answer. What it comes down to is how much space you have for storing them - without giving up storage space for other items you need to organize.

Most of us don't have the space in our homes to dedicate to a "stuffed animal collection," so we have to reduce the number we have. Doing so, will allow children to really enjoy the ones kept, care for them, and keep them neat and tidy so the entire space is not overtaken by stuffed animals.

Step 1: Realistically, decide on how much space you have to dedicate to the stuffed animals, and decide on a number that will fit in that space. For example, if your space is a toy box, how many stuffed animals can you fit in the box and be able to close the lid? Will you allow for 1 or 2 stuffed animals to sit on a bed or a chair as a decoration, etc.

Step 2: Then the challenge...which ones stay and which ones go? I have found, that instead of focusing on the "ones you are going to get rid of," think of it as the ones "that are special enough to keep" - in the space you have allotted. This method is especially helpful for children. Show them the space they have to fill, and allow them to make the decisions. They can put in and take out as they try and fit in an extra special stuffed animal, but ultimately, the decision is theirs.

Step 3: Once you have reduced the number of stuffed animals to fit in the space chosen, it's time to set a system in place to keep the stuffed animals to a manageable, uncluttered, number. In our home, it's the "one in, one out" rule. My girls always want to purchase stuffed animals. I know, that the space we have for them, in each of their rooms, is already full to the brim. A simple reminder, that if they purchase the desired stuffed animal, then upon returning home, they must pull one from the bin to get rid of, helps them make a thoughtful decision. Sometimes, the new stuffed animal is so important to them, that they "can't live without it" and getting rid of one at home is no big deal. Other times, they decide the ones they have at home are to special to get rid of at the time. Either way, the decision is theirs, and the number of stuffed animals remains the same, and the space allotted for them remains tidy and organized.

The key to any system is consistency! The more it is applied, the easier it becomes. Don't give in! There are such an important concepts to be learned, wrapped up into a very simple application. Space is finite. There is not room in any of our homes for everything we would like to have. Sometimes, we need to be happy with what we have, especially if we have made the decision to keep it in our space. If there is something that we REALLY want, then we need to be very deliberate in it's purchase - knowing exactly where it will go and how it will be used. There are always others less fortunate than ourselves, that would be very grateful for a gently used item; it would in fact bring them great joy.

*As a side note, use the time just before birthday's and Christmas to encourage your children to go through their toys and collections of things. They know presents are coming, so making space for them by donating some they have, or purging the ones that are broken and no longer useable, is an easy idea.

Pinterest is full of great, creative stuffed animal storage solutions - so many fun ideas.

Here is just one idea that I used to help a client clear the "eye clutter" of a stuffed animal hammock (those are great storage solutions, if you can keep the number to what will fit inside and not piled high and falling onto the floor. This particular client wanted the stuffed animals to be accessible, but needed the room to look uncluttered and neat.) So we chose stuffed animal "bean bags." Purchase the zippered cover and stuff them full with the stuffed animals - suddenly you have a comfy chair and an area that is not cluttered and messy looking.

Decluttering stuffed animals is not the easiest of tasks; however, it can make a huge difference in the appearance and feel of a room and the improvement of getting rid of excess.

If you need suggestions on storage ideas for your personal space...lets chat. I can help you choose the best options for your personal space - sure to work within your budget and help provide lasting organization.

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