Your Helpful Guide: What to Do with Stuffed Animals

stuffed animals

Your stuffed animal collection is growing. So much so that you’re not sure what to do with all of them. Whether you received cute stuffed animals as recent gifts or have treasured them since you were super little, we know how special some can be and how much they might mean. So here are some suggestions on what to do with stuffed animals. From keeping your favorite stuffies for bestowing to your children some day to donating them to those in need, there are many things you can do with them.  

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1. Use Your Stuffed Animal as a Stress-Buster

When you feel stressed, hug a stuffed animal. Seriously, it works! Stuffed animals are not just for children. They're the perfect stress-buster for adults, too. Just like petting a live animal like dogs and cats can release mood-boosting hormones and reduce stress, so can hugging a stuffed animal. It’s the same exact psychological response and science behind animal-assisted therapy. Soft plush fur can bring comfort the same way. So save a stuffed animal or two that really calms you, and give it a good, healthy hug when you’re feeling down or experiencing high levels of anxiety.  

2. Donate Your Stuffed Animals to Someone New

If your stuffed animals collection is enormous, it might be time to donate a few. We’re not suggesting giving up your childhood favorites or special gifts, but if you can't remember where a few came from, it might be time to say goodbye. But don’t worry! You can give your old stuffed animal buddies a new home by donating them. Where exactly? Glad you asked. While Goodwills and Salvation Army stores are always an easy way to donate older ones, there are lots of other organizations that will make the best use of gently used critters, such as Stuffed Animals for Emergencies (SAFE) and Toys for Tots.

Wash your stuffed animals and donate them to someone new who will appreciate them. If you aren’t willing to part with any of your stuffed animals but still would like to give back, SendAFriend’s GiveAFriend donation program helps you send stuffed animal care packages to those who could use a little love.child receiving GiveAFriend care package

3. Secure Your Stuffed Animals in Storage

Donating your stuffed animals is a great way to give them a new lease on life, so to speak. But what do you do with stuffed animals that you simply refuse to part ways with? For those childhood stuffies you want to keep, consider securing them away in storage. Keeping precious stuffed animals and fuzzy critters in a storage bin away from dust mites, sun damage and other things can prolong their life. This way, you can keep your cute stuffed animals around forever, gifting them to your children or grandchildren, or keeping them for yourself for those moments of need. 

For starters, choose an airtight bin and keep that bin in a temperature-controlled environment. Throwing a stuffed animal in a garbage bag and tossing it in a hot attic is a recipe for disaster. If your stuffed animal is extra special, choose an archival-quality box and wrap the stuffie in acid-free tissue paper. You could even add your stuffed animal to a cedar hope chest or cedar box to keep away pests. For good measure, add a couple of desiccant silica bead packets in the container to absorb any moisture. 

4. Send to a Friend or Loved One

Another thing you can do with stuffed animals is to send them to a friend or loved one who could use a pick-me-up. Sending someone a stuffed animal can brighten their day in so many ways. We’ve already talked about how a stuffie can reduce anxiety and improve mental health. But, in general, it also lets them know you are thinking of them, sending a hug or reminder that they are loved. You can put together a personalized care package with the stuffed animal and a few favorite treats. Not sure where to start? Learn how to send a care package properly and add a few clever items along with their new cute stuffed animal.cooper the cow care package

Pictured: SendAFriend's Cooper the Cow Care Package

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5. Place Your Stuffed Animal on a Shelf or Chair

Have a favorite stuffed animal that you just can’t simply put away or donate? Then keep it out as decoration! There are tons of ways you can display stuffed animals – even in a mature, adult way. Rest your octopus stuffed animal on a floating shelf, letting its tentacles dangle over the edge playfully. Or place a childhood favorite behind a plexiglass box or shadow box. You could place a stuffed animal as a cute pillow on a bed or an accent chair where you usually go to curl up with a book or drink your morning coffee. This way, you can enjoy each others’ company!

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