College is supposed to be a time of growing up (whatever that actually means) and changing into our adult selves so we can go forth and be productive members of society after we leave Penn State. But sometimes growing up may have some casualties, namely your stuffed animals.
They were there for you when you watched that nail-biting series finale, when you cried over your less-than-stellar exam grade, cuddle sessions when you had no one to cuddle (and even when you did have someone because sometimes you end up with that one person who hates to cuddle), not to mention your entire childhood. It’s tough to say goodbye to Mr. Lion…but what about the 30 other stuffed animals smiling at you from your bed?
First, never feel pressured to get rid of them if you’re not ready, especially the ones that have had your back since you were in Pull-Ups. Your favorite plush toys make you smile and brighten up your living space (which is very important when you look outside and see there’s a blizzard brewing). But when they start taking over your living space (i.e. you have to literally sweep an arm across any horizontal surface to clear a space for your human company), that could be an issue.
Second, if you do want to get rid of some of them, make a plan. Whether you’re a BAND-AID-ripper type or more gradual when it comes to letting go, be prepared for floods of memories to hit the minute you pick up that teddy bear you randomly won at a school carnival. Decide how many you want to keep so you don’t end up keeping way more than you can reasonably accommodate.
If the memories are super important to you but you still have to let go, have a stuffed animal fashion shoot to capture some cute candids of them before they go off on their next adventure. Jot down your favorite memories of them for an album or photo collage. That way, you can still gaze at their furry face without having them literally staring you down every night.
For the less gross, chewed-up ones, donate them to charity or a child you know who would appreciate a few or specific ones (just like Toy Story 3) (actually, don’t watch that movie before you do this otherwise you may never let go). If it helps, have a trusted person (not your significant other who has always hated them anyway) deliver them so you don’t have to live through the agonizing moments of actually letting them go. But that closure is important so you don’t go running to snatch them back.
Making decisions is a tough but crucial process we all have to go through as we break away from our childhood selves to make way for the new things we discover about ourselves. Even though you want to be more ‘adult’ (again, whatever that means), your stuffed animals can help you along your way. Just as long as they don’t turn your apartment into a scene straight out of The Lion King.
Photo by Shidika Goode