For Hanukkah this year, my toddler agreed that for every present she gets, she’s going to give something that she already has to other children. She was so enthusiastic about this idea, in fact, that she threw all the stuffed animals off her bed saying that she wants all her animals to go to other children including a sock monkey which I had lovingly hand knit for her. We modified the rule a bit so that Scott and I get to approve anything she wants to get rid of.
Getting her buy in seemed to be the easy part.
The hard part is figuring out where all the stuff should go. Here are my thoughts about how to pass on stuff.
Loved Twice takes baby clothes up to 12 months, blankets, hats, socks, bibs and board books. They then distribute these items to babies in need. Bay Area drop off locations are listed on their website.
Locally, the only place that I’ve found that consistently takes stuffed animals is the San Francisco SPCA. I called and spoke to someone in their development department who told me that they use the stuffed animals in two ways. First, their humane education department uses stuffed animals for children to play with; and, second, they give some of the stuffed animals to their dogs.
If you’re willing to ship your stuffed animals, The Teddy Bear Brigade, collects them for use as humanitarian aid and disaster relief in developing countries.
I gotta put in a plug for KinderCycle, the company that I founded and ran until very recently! KinderCycle hosts swap events where families get rid of stuff they are done with and then they get stuff they want including clothes and gear. Head over to www.KinderCycle.org to get the details on their January swap.
Brighter Beginnings is an organization in Oakland that helps families in a variety of ways. What they accept as donations changes depending on what they currently have a lot of. Right now, they are not accepting clothes, but they are accepting car seats that haven’t expired, toys, cribs, books, bathtubs, and potties. Call ahead to make sure you are bringing them stuff that they can use (510) 437-8950.
If you have a bunch of books, you might consider donating them to the Friends of the Berkeley Public Library. Check their website for kinds of books they accept.
The East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse takes donations of all kinds of stuff which they then display for sale in their store from baby food jars to feathers. Their website has a list of what they are currently taking.
If you’re crafty, think about ways to re-use your kids’ stuff. I recently made a cat pillow stuffed with shreds of my daughter’s ripped and stained clothing. Stuffed animals can also make great stuffing for a new crafty project, but you might not want your little one to see the transformation take place!
Thanks so much, Jennifer, for sharing these worthy places to donate our used STUFF so it can go to people who will use it.
[Photo provided by Jennifer of her daughter's bed before the purge!]