Spring cleaning? What to do with those stuffed animals your kid has collected

Here are some tips from experts Only sell valuable stuff Understand the fees Avoid the scams Optimize your title Take great photos Don't try to profit from shipping charges

There's a type of toy in every kid's room that brought joy at first but eventually turned into a dusty pile of inconvenience. You know, those stuffed toys that don't take batteries: teddy bears, bunnies, "Sesame Street," dolls, Chick-fil-A cows.

What's a parent to do with the mountain of plush now that it's time for spring cleaning? You have a few options: sell them, give them away or toss 'em.

If moving the problem to the landfill feels wrong, here are some alternatives.

Where you can donate them

Atlanta Mission takes donations of stuffed animals to give out at the women's and children's shelters. There are between 40 and 90 kids at the shelters each week who can use the toys, said Rachel Solid, a spokeswoman for the mission. The organization also raises money for its mission at its five thrift stores, which gladly accept gently used stuffed animals.

Goodwill also runs thrift stores, with proceeds going to job training programs.

"There are lots of parents who come in, with the smaller kids especially, as they grow out of one toy, they want to go in to buy something else. For a few dollars they can trade up for other toys," said Elaine Armstrong, director of public relations for Goodwill of North Georgia.

Armstrong has also seen customers buy a cartful of stuffed animals at Goodwill to donate to an animal shelter.

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Consider donating to your local animal shelter or rescue organization. Pets need toys that are sturdy and without embellishments such as buttons or zippers, however.

The American Kidney Fund also accepts gently used stuffed animals, according to its website.

There are some places that can't take the toys, however. Children's Healthcare of Atlanta accepts donations of new stuffed animal to give to patients, according to the hospital's website, but used stuffed animals, even if they are in the best of shape, cannot be donated.

In fact, new stuffed animals don't even make the top eight gift ideas for patients promoted by the hospital, because such toys need to be frequently washed to reduce germs.

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Trying to sell them

Parents probably wouldn't have much luck selling the stuffed animals. The issue is finding buyers. Other parents don't want stuffed animals; They are dealing with their own mountains. Consignment stores won't take them and they don't move at yard sales.

There are always customers beyond the Atlanta area, but that comes with its own difficulties. Pennyhoarder.com suggests selling the toys on eBay. However, eBay warns that buyers are picky. And most online customers aren't parents looking for just any toy for their kids.

"As adult collectors of plush animals, many of us are purposely looking for older plush that are no longer in retail stores. That is probably the bulk of the used stuffed animal purchases on eBay," eBay seller foxwolfie wrote.

There are about 80 postings in the Atlanta area on Craigslist.com about selling stuffed animals. Much like eBay, these items are unique or no longer made. Those six identical Elmo toys probably won't move on Craigslist any faster than on eBay.

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