There I was down in the basement, picking up our new playroom yet again. The kids were upstairs in the living room playing a new dance game on the Wii. They were having a lot of fun, judging from the giggling and the various stomps and booms I was hearing through the basement ceiling.
I admit that I had an ulterior motive for being down in the playroom–to identify some items that could get passed on to other kids. Every once in a while, I would climb the basement stairs and ask the kids, “Hey, can we donate item x?” Being distracted by the game and wanting to send the annoying mommy away as soon as possible so they could get back to playing, the answer was usually “yes.” See, I may be annoying, but I like to think that I am smart. You have to choose your moments.
I did run into a problem with some large stuffed animals, three to be exact. I am not a big fan of them, because whenever I look at them, I usually first see a cuddly toy, but secondly see a home for dust mites and allergens. Having a child with asthma has given me special vision for these things.
My youngest loves his stuffed animals and is loathe to part with any of them. I did manage to put one of the extra large ones away for a about a month, and he never asked for it, so in my mind, that is fair game for donation. That left me with two more huge stuffed animals.
I popped them into the washer on gentle, using hot water (fortunately, we have one of those extra-large top loading washers so useful in a family of five). Because there were two roughly the same size, they kept the washer balanced.
Some more tips for washing stuffed animals:
- Remove any battery compartments
- Place small ones in a mesh lingerie or sweater bag
- Remove any ribbons that might bleed color
- Use your dryer on low and add tennis balls in the last ten minutes to “fluff” the stuffing as the animals dry.
Out of the dryer, the stuffed animals were so clean and fresh smelling, that I let them sit in chairs at the round table we keep down in the playroom for games and puzzles–at least until the older brother decides to commandeer them to build a fort.