Children And Kids Toys: Starting A Stuffed Animal Collection

Stuffed animal collections can warm your heart and remind you of special occasions. These are tips for beginning and maintaining a stuffed animal collection.

Stuffed animals are one of the most popular gifts to give, receive and collect. Thousands of people collect stuffed animals. Some people collect their favorite animal. Some people collect certain name-brand animals. Other people collect stuffed animals that hold special memories for them, reminders of moments in time they wish to hold on to. Collections of stuffed animals range from teddy bears, Care Bears, anteaters, zebras, and antique bears to almost-as-big-as-your-living room critters. Whether you already have stuffed animals or are just beginning to collect, there are a few steps you can take to keep your furry, fuzzy friends happy, healthy and dust-free.

When collecting stuffed animals, you will have to find a place to display them. You can spread them out through your home to enjoy them no matter what room you are in or you can keep them in one area as a large display. One thing to keep in mind: natural sunlight can, and will, act as a natural bleach. Extended exposure to direct sunlight will fade the colors of your animals' fur and/or clothing. Indirect light does not have as severe of an effect and should be fine for your collection.

To find and collect your animals, you have an almost un-limited list of places to go. If you are collecting the more traditional teddy bears, cats, dogs, horses, frogs, etc., you can go to department stores such as Wal-Mart, Kmart or Target. If you are looking for more elaborate or expensive animals you can go to the nearest shopping mall. Many stores in any mall will carry stuffed animals that vary in size, color, price and quality. For some of the more unique stuffed animals, there are hundreds of catalogs and specialty stores to tap into. The quickest way to find these is either through the Yellow Pages telephone directory for stores near you or with any online search engine for other stores and catalogs. Some catalogs are free, though not all. These catalogs can be invaluable tools for adding to your collection.

Collections that include unique, antique, old or collector animals have a few additional sources to check into. Any thrift or second-hand store will have at least a few, if not few dozen, animals to consider. Antique shops and stores may also have an irresistible addition to your collection. Many times, yard sales will have children's stuffed animals that may or may not be what you are looking for. Do not disregard this option as all animals can be cleaned and repaired if necessary. Sometimes a little t.l.c. will make the piece a little bit more special to you.

No matter what you collect or how you display them, you will want to keep them clean to preserve their appearance. The easiest way is to use a hand-held vacuum or any vacuum that uses hose attachments. Simply vacuum them gently once every week (or more if you live in a dusty area). This will keep the dust and dirt from settling into the fur of the animals. On animals wearing clothing, you can also hand-wash the clothing once a month. Remember to remove the clothing from the animal before hand-washing.

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