A photo revealing a colorful pile of unwanted stuffed animals, their furry bodies entangled, awaiting a new purpose or a loving home.

Do you have a collection of beloved stuffed animals from childhood that are now gathering dust in the closet or taking up precious real estate on your bed? Stuffed animals can evoke warm memories and be difficult to part with, but sometimes it’s best to pass them on.

If you’re looking for solutions for all those plush pals you no longer have room for, you’ve come to the right place.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: donate, repurpose into something usable, sell, or upcycle them into art.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the pros and cons of various options to give your unwanted stuffed animals new life, from donation and selling to repurposing and upcycling into cute crafts.

Read on for pointers, step-by-step instructions, and creative ideas to determine the best new home for your beloved childhood friends.

Donate Stuffed Animals

Local Charities

Donating your gently used stuffed animals to local charities is a great way to declutter while bringing joy to children in need. Many charities like women’s shelters, children’s homes, and youth organizations accept plush toy donations.

When dropping off, call ahead to ask about their current needs and restrictions. Generally, they prefer clean items in good condition without missing pieces or exposed stuffing.

Stuffed animals can provide emotional support and comfort to vulnerable children facing difficult circumstances. According to Psychology Today, nearly 40% of children use plush toys to manage emotions and sleep better.

Your old Bears, dogs, cats, and other critters deserve a second chance to spread happiness. 😊

Children’s Hospitals

Donating stuffed animals to children’s hospitals allows kids coping with illness or injuries to cuddle a furry friend. Many hospitals have wish lists of plush toys to distribute for therapeutic comfort care.

When calling to coordinate a donation, ask about suggested animals and size preferences suited to different age groups.

According to the Children’s Minnesota Hospital, over 70% of children said stuffed animals help them feel better while hospitalized by reducing anxiety, improving mood, and aiding healing. Your toy box donations can significantly boost pediatric patients’ wellbeing. πŸ‘

Animal Shelters

Believe it or not, many animal shelters accept plush toy contributions to assist rescued pets! Shelters use stuffed animals in various ways:

  • Comfort dogs recovering from surgery
  • Calm anxious dogs in kennels
  • Entertain energetic puppies
  • Train dogs through play

When possible, shelters prefer new or gently used medium-sized plush toys without plastic pieces or squeakers for safety. By donating unused stuffed animals, you can positively impact animals awaiting forever homes! 😍

Sell Unwanted Stuffed Animals

Online Marketplaces

One great option for selling unwanted stuffed animals is through online marketplaces like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and Craigslist. These sites allow you to easily create listings that will be seen by many potential buyers.

When creating your listings, make sure to take clear, well-lit photos and provide detailed descriptions of the items including any defects. You can also research sold listings to price your items competitively. Payment and shipping details should be clearly outlined as well.

Selling stuffed animals online provides access to buyers across a wide geographic range.

Consignment Shops

Another idea is to bring your unwanted stuffed animals to local consignment or resale shops. Stores like Plato’s Closet and Once Upon a Child often buy gently used stuffed animals. The advantage of consigning items is you don’t have to deal with creating listings or shipping orders yourself.

However, the store will take a commission, usually around 50%, of the final sale price. Call ahead to inquire about their current stuffed animal buying needs as some shops may already have enough in stock.

When visiting, be sure to bring premium brands and items that are clean with no stains, rips, or missing pieces.

Garage Sales

Hosting a garage sale can also be effective for finding new homes for unwanted stuffed animals. Bundle animals together in clear plastic bags with attractive price tags attached. Market your stuffed animals on platforms like Craigslist and Facebook to draw in more interested buyers from around town.

Pro tip: Hold your garage sale over a summer weekend and advertise that a portion of stuffed animal sales will be donated to local children’s hospitals or charities. This feel good cause can help boost overall sales.

You’ll feel great knowing your once-loved stuffed buddies bring joy to their new owners.

Repurpose Stuffed Animals


Turning old stuffed animals into decorative pillows is a creative way to give them new life. Simply sew a pillow case or slipcover out of fun fabrics like corduroy, velvet, or patterned cotton, leaving one end open. Stuff your stuffed animal into the pillowcase, then hand-stitch the open end closed.

Smaller stuffed animals like beanie babies work great for throw pillows. Larger stuffed animals can become oversized floor pillows perfect for kids’ rooms or reading nooks.

For a quicker no-sew method, cut the seam of an existing pillowcase, slide your stuffed animal inside, then use fabric glue or an iron-on adhesive to seal the opening. Adding a colorful bow or decorative buttons dresses up plain pillowcases.

Pouches & Bags

Old stuffed critters transform into one-of-a-kind zipper pouches, make-up bags, pencil cases, or small purses when you sew them into fabric sleeves. Choose a patterned fabric that complements or contrasts with your stuffed animal’s colors.

Sew the fabric into a rectangular pouch shape, leaving one long edge open. Turn the fabric right side out, then insert the stuffed animal. Hand stitch the opening closed, and add a zipper, snap, or hook-and-loop closure.

Small felt critters work great for mini make-up bags, while bigger plush pals make roomy carry-all pouches.

For a no-sew version, use craft glue to affix the stuffed animal to an existing pencil bag or cosmetic case. Felt sticker eyes add personality!

Pet Toys

Gently used stuffed animals, especially those with squeakers or crinkly material inside, can be donated to animal shelters as enrichment toys for dogs, cats, and other pets awaiting forever homes. An average of 6-8 million dogs and cats enter U.S. shelters each year, according to the ASPCA, so donations are always welcome.

Before dropping off stuffed animals, be sure to machine wash and thoroughly dry them to eliminate smells and potential allergens. Avoid donating stuffed animals with buttons, ribbons, plastic eyes, or other decorations that could detach and become choking hazards. Soft, cozy plush toys are safest.

You can also upcycle an old stuffed animal into a DIY cat toy at home. Simply sew a felt mouse or bird shape onto the stuffed animal using strong thread or fishing line. Dragging around their new “prey” will give kitty hours of playtime fun! Be sure any sewn-on attachments are securely fastened.

Upcycle Stuffed Animals into Art

Stuffed Animal Wreaths

Turning old stuffed animals into creative wreaths is an awesome upcycling project for the holidays or all year round. Simply grab some plushies and secure them into a wire, grapevine, or foam base wreath form using hot glue, needle and thread, fabric glue, or by tying them on with embellishments.

Arrange them artfully for a fun, colorful decoration! Here’s a step-by-step tutorial for making fabulous stuffed animal wreaths:

  1. Gather supplies like wreath base, stuffed animals, scissors, hot glue gun, ribbon, fabric, flowers, etc.
  2. Cut open a section of your plushies to fit wreath form inside.
  3. Hot glue base wreath form securely inside stuffed animals.
  4. Glue or tie animals artfully onto the outside of the wreath base too.
  5. Embellish with ribbons, fabric pieces, tiny flowers or leaves.
  6. Hang on doors or walls to enjoy!

You can find wonderful stuffed animal wreath tutorials online. Let those unwanted plushies bring some bright, whimsical cheer to your home!

Wall Hangings

Stuffed toys can become fabulous frugal wall art as well! For instance, group multiple plushies together in fun arrangements on canvases. Secure them into place with hot glue and add touches like decorative paper, fabric, ribbons, buttons, and acrylic paint designs. Some ideas include:

  • Oversized colorful flowers made from glued-together stuffed animals accented with ribbons and buttons.
  • Geometric or abstract art styles with bold painted designs on stuffed animal canvases.
  • Sweet nursery dΓ©cor with felt clouds, rainbows, hot air balloons, or trees using plushies and acrylic paints.

Or simply put favorite old plush toys into custom-framed shadow boxes for kids’ rooms. These make sentimental wall hangings for cherishing beloved stuffed animals. Add backgrounds like wallpaper, felt, or wrapping paper along with fun embellishments too.

Stuff Animal Sculptures

With some creativity and basic crafting skills, ordinary stuffed animals can be transformed into amazing plushie sculptures! Using wire frames, glue, light weight fabrics, and embellishments like buttons or ribbons, you can design spectacular standing sculptures from recycled toys.

Some quick DIY ideas include:

  • Adorable animals like giraffes, elephants, or horses made with mixed up plushie parts.
  • Whimsical fantasy creatures like dragons, unicorns, or mermaids crafted from plushies.
  • Abstract humanoid robot sculptures from random stuffed animal limbs and accessories.

The possibilities are endless! Let those tired stuffed toys inspire you to design one-of-a-kind upcycled sculptures. Not only are they great crafts projects, but they also reduce waste from unused plush toys headed to landfills. πŸ‘


We cherished our stuffed animals growing up, but sometimes it’s best to pass them on or give them new life through upcycling when space is limited. Luckily, there are many creative ways to donate, sell, repurpose or upcycle unwanted stuffed animals.

Next time you’re purging and organizing your home, refer to these tips to responsibly rehome your beloved plush pals. Just because your stuffed animal’s role in your life has changed doesn’t mean it can’t bring joy to someone else.

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