Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Stuffed Animal Storage

I wrote this post for my old blog nearly a year ago. It was a great idea at the time and still continues to be so now. I thought I'd pull this one out of the archives and share it again....

I once read an article about children and stuffed animals. She talked about how kids often own many stuffed animals and asked something along the lines of, "What happened to the days when a child had just ONE beloved stuffed animal?" She suggested to her readers that they pair down their child's stuffed animal collection to just one beloved stuffed animal. The child would appreciate the animal more and there would be less clutter to clean.

I thought about her words. I agreed with her words. Oh, how nice it would be to clean a child's room when they have only one stuffed animal that gets lovingly placed on the pillow each morning!

Then reality brought that fantasy to a screetching halt. I have a child who would never part with her stuffed animal collection. She loves stuffed animals more than any other toy. I don't think she could choose 10 to keep let alone just one. I don't think she would EVER forgive me if I donated half of her collection let alone all of it minus one. So what's a stuffed-animal-loving-girl's mom going to do? Create a perfect stuffed animal storage space...

Our Stuffed Animal Zoo

click for larger view

I bought this shelving unit at IKEA. It is part of their gorm collection which comes in two depths; this one is the 20 inch deep shelf. It was $39.99. Because these plain, unfinished pine shelving is meant more for the garage than a child's bedroom, I prettied it up by painting it with bright blue enamal paint designed for a kids room. Then I purchased 1/2" wide elastic. Using a staple gun, I stapled the elastic to the top of the top shelf, stretched it slightly, and stapled it to the bottom of the third shelf down before cutting the extra elastic. (This gave me two shelves for stuffed animals. You could easily staple under any shelf you want, give you as few or as many shelves you need.) I repeated this every 3 inches or so, creating "bars" all the way around. I left the back side against the wall undone.

Our new stuffed animal zoo works perfectly. It holds the stuffed animals in so that they don't fall out. It is easy to put the stuffed animals in...just push them through the "bars". It is easy for the kids to get their stuffed animals out...just reach in, grab the animal you want, and pull it through the "bars". I've placed a basket on the bottom stuffed animal shelf to hold clothing (some of our animals wear clothes on occasion) and tiny animals that fall out of the zoo.

These shelving unit is large so the bottom shelves are a perfect place for storing larger toys. I love this solution and I think the IKEA shelving is perfect for it. You could easily adapt any shelving unit or bookcase to hold stuffed animals this way, especially if you don't have quite as many as we do.

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Anonymous said...

What a clever idea! My little girls love their stuffed animals, too. We store them all in a large basket, but they would have so much fun with their own zoo/vet clinic. Thanks for sharing!

Luke Holzmann said...

Fantastic! My wife loves Ikea... and I've heard rumors that Colorado is going to get one in the near-ish future.