Today's mission is to declutter stuffed animals, so you and your kids can enjoy the ones you keep but are not inundated with too many of them to play with or store properly.
This mission is designed to be done while working on the Organize Toys & Games Challenge here on the site, which is one of the 52 Week Organized Home Challenges.
Of course, the mission can be done whenever you or your kids feel like stuffed animals are beginning to overtake your home, or your child's bedroom, or bed, and you need to reduce it down to a more reasonable number.
As with all of the kid-centered decluttering missions here on the site, I suggest you get your children involved to help with this mission, if they're old enough and able.
The reason? Because no one wants their stuff thrown out without their permission and consent, and you'd want to be treated the same way.
Further, getting your child involved allows them to learn critical life skills, including how to declutter things and let items in their life go, so they're better able to function on their own, when they grow up and are on their own.
Here are my suggestions for the types of stuffed animals that should be decluttered from your home:
This last criteria for which stuffed animals to declutter, for those where you don't have enough room for all of them, is the one that often gives people the most trouble, so I'll discuss it more below.
Some people absolutely love stuffed animals, and honestly, there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, I love stuffed animals, several of my children do as well, as we've gotten great joy and had a lot of fun cuddling and playing with them over the years.
The problem is when you start to accumulate so many of them that they overflow the space they're supposed to be in, and begin taking over, everywhere.
The photo above was sent in by a reader, Sarah, who asked what to do with all of these stuffed animals that were overflowing from giant bins in her basement.
This is a common question, often asked as "how many stuffed animals are too many?"
There's no clear cut answer to this question, because it really comes down to how much space you can devote to storing them, without sacrificing other types of storage areas you need for other things.
If you love stuffed animals, and actually play with all of them regularly, and have a huge amount of space you can keep them in without anything else feeling cramped, and still have room for all the other essentials in your home, you can have a HUGE collection. There's nothing wrong with that.
On the other hand, many of us don't have that much space we can allocate to storing stuffed animals, so we've got to really reduce our collection to allow us to enjoy what we do keep.
The easiest way to decide how many stuffed animals to keep is to get realistic with how much space you can allocate within your home to their storage.
Stuffed animals are rather bulky, so the smaller the storage space available, the less you can keep.
Sorry, but that's how it is.
Instead of deciding what stuffed animals to get rid of, reframing the issue as which stuffed animals are special enough for you to keep in the space you've got available is often an easier way to to go about the decluttering process.
This way of thinking about it can be especially helpful for children, because you can explain how much space is available and then let them choose which stuffies will be placed into the storage area. You're not the bad guy when they run out of room, it's the space available. Plus, they can rearrange or re-prioritize to fit a special one in, as long as they choose which ones are taken out, so everything that is saved fits into the space available.
It's amazing how having control over these small choices can transform a child's attitude from upset to cooperative with the decluttering task.
I've also written an article about how to declutter your child's collections or collectibles, which has more tips for helping your child decide what collections they want to keep versus to get rid of. If your child's stuffed animals are not just toys, but treated as a collection, this article can give you some additional guidance.
Since the amount of storage space you've got available for stuffed animals is critical to deciding how much to declutter, here is an article on the site which give lots of ideas for stuffed animal storage, for both large and smaller collections.
In addition, if you've got room for a large amount of stuffed animals, a stuffed animal zoo may be a great storage solution for you. (You can fit a LOT of stuffed animal into one of these zoos.)
Once you've taken the time to declutter excess stuffed animals from your home, I know you don't want to become overwhelmed and inundated with stuffed animals again in the future.
The way to avoid this problem is to use the one in, one out, rule.
If you or your child get a new stuffed animal, the rule requires that you get rid of one of comparable size at the same time.
This keeps the total amount of stuffed animals the storage area the same, so they all continue to fit into the space you've allocated for them, and do not begin to overflow the space yet again.
I know, this is often easier said than done, but the rule definitely does work when applied consistently!
Decluttering stuffed animals isn't the easiest task, but it can make a huge improvement in your home to get rid of excess. Here are some photos from Declutter 365 participants who've already done this mission, showing their results, and hopefully inspiring you to tackle this task now in your own home.
The top photo in the collage is from a reader, Christine, who said, "We decluttered stuffies this week! With new toys for Christmas we knew some had to go!"
The bottom photo in the collage is from another reader, Jessica, who said, "Kids helped pick their favorite stuffies, divided up the zoo to just have less in their room. Grandma just keeps buying them and we have been overrun!!!"
Both of you ladies have done a great job reducing the total amount of toy clutter in your home! Now are you ready to do the same?
I hope seeing these pictures and instructions have inspired you to declutter excess stuffies from your house.
When you begin to declutter the feeling you get is contagious, so if you're loving the results you're getting I would encourage you to keep going.
I've got a whole series of 15 minute decluttering missions (eventually 365 of them!) that you can do.
Just pick and choose the ones you want to do, that will make a big impact in your home. But if you want someone else to tell you the order you can also grab the 15 minute daily decluttering mission calendars and follow along as we all get our homes clutter free together!
I would love to hear from you, sharing your thoughts, questions, or ideas about this topic, so leave me a comment below. I try to always respond back!