It can be really hard to get rid of old things, especially for little ones. There comes a point in every childhood though where some toys have just got to go to make room for new things. To make it a little easier on your kiddo, and in my case my husband too, you might want to try donation rather than trashing everything. When your kids donate stuffed animals to someone who needs them, it seems to be less painful than just saying goodbye to them. Not to mention, overstimulation is actually really common and our kids don’t need nearly as many toys as they end up with. When they have too many toys available to them, it makes it hard for them to make decisions and be able to entertain themselves.
By de-cluttering, you will probably end up with a much happier kid. Every single time we do this decluttering my kids love the look of their rooms and end up playing way more with their existing toys. It can be time-consuming and a little tricky to figure out exactly how to get going with a donation though, so we’ve found some of the best ways to do it!
How to Donate Stuffed Animals [5 Easy Steps]
What to Tell Your Kiddo When Choosing to Donate Stuffed Animals
Be open and honest with your child about the need to declutter and the need to donate stuffed animals. Tricking them or slowly trashing their toys without their knowledge will actually be a lot more traumatic in the long run. Plus, this is a really easy first lesson about community service and charity work. Explain to them where their stuffed animals will be going and how they will help somebody else. Not going to lie to you here, this won’t work for every kiddo. Some still aren’t going to want to part with their stuffed animals no matter how much someone else might need them.
It’s hard to give up the things you love! Another thing that can help with this is talking through the memories of each stuffed animal, like where your child got it and why they love it so much. Your child will probably appreciate your acknowledgment of how important their toy is. You can reassure them that they can still keep these good memories and by decluttering their opening up room for new memories.
Best Places to Try Donating Stuffed Animals
Since I don’t know exactly where you all are located, I pulled together a list of some common places that take toy donations. Just search the web for these in your local area! It’s a good idea to give them a call or check the website to see what they’re in need of and what their standards are for donation.
Ronald McDonald House
If there is a Ronald McDonald house anywhere near you, it should be your number one choice for donating. They give families a place to stay near the hospital where their child is being treated, meaning they get to spend optimal time together when every minute really does count. Your donated stuffed animals will be enjoyed by the whole family here, as there are many siblings who stay in the house with their parents. When you bring your donations in there will likely be an opportunity for you to help out around the house, like helping make dinner or cleaning up the rooms. It’s a really special experience and your kids will get to meet some truly inspiring people!
Donating to shelter near you will help a child who may be experiencing a lot of instability have some comfort. Their new stuffed animal friend can go through all the new changes with them making things a little less scary.
The same thing as above goes for any children’s homes that may be near you. Having toys around can make everything feel a little more familiar with big changes.
Preschools or Daycares
Many preschools and daycares greatly appreciate toy donations, including stuffed animals. Give them a call and let them know what you have because they don’t want to be over-cluttered either, but there’s a good chance they could use some more stuffed animals.
Toys for Tots
You probably recognize this name, but you might not realize all that they do. While their main efforts are for new toys, they do take used toys in some locations and for certain occasions. Click here to visit their website and see if they do a used toys drop off or pick up near you!
Salvation Army takes toy donations, but not at all locations. Make sure to give your local Salvation Army a call before heading over with a donation drop off. If they do accept toys, the proceeds typically go towards local programs for those in need which is an awesome way to benefit your community.
There is no saying whether the hospital near you accepts toys, as it is a 50/50 chance. When in doubt, just give them a call. They probably do have strict sanitation rules about what they will accept. If you have very gently used toys, this can be a great place to donate. Plus, you’ll know your stuffed animals will get lots of love from young patients.
Social services can use your donated stuffed animals to bring kids comfort in some very uncertain and scary situations. They are also a great source for knowing foster families or struggling families in need of some toys.
5 Easy Steps for Donating Stuffed Animals
- Talk to your child about stuffed animal donation.
- Divide your things into Keep, Donate, and Trash piles. Rather than just grabbing things and throwing them into boxes, take the time to really go through and organize. I know how tempting it can be to skip this step, as you just want a clean organized home.
- After you’ve made your three piles, let your child see what you have decided on. If they want to make some switches between Keep and Donate, go ahead and let them. It’s good for them to have a say in the process.
- Find one or two places to donate your things to. Make sure to check all their guidelines and only bring along things to give them that are in good condition.
- Head out as a family to the donation place of your choosing! It can be a really good experience to do this all together. To donate stuffed animals is to help others!
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