Box 3 of 9: The Dreaded Bin o’ Beanies
This is getting tough.
Compared to boxes 1 and 2, which were full of memorabilia and clothes that were out of style and no longer fit, this box was different. Different because I didn’t want to give away my sweet, adorable Ty Beanie Babies! They weren’t hurting anybody sitting in a box in the corner of my mom and dad’s garage!
But I could hear Peter Walsh’s voice in my head saying, in his Aussie accent, “You have to give your collections a place of honor.”
Damn him! And the fact that I’m a professional organizer who should, as they say, walk the walk!
So I cracked open that blue, Sterilite container and pulled out 106 Beanie Babies: 52 regular Beanie Babies (including one platinum membership bear), two of the larger Beanie Buddies, four Ronald McDonald House Charities bears and 48 McDonald’s Happy Meal Teenie Beanies (Yes, I ate nearly 50 Happy Meals to get those – good thing I had a fast metabolism back then!).
Among these beanies are two cardinals and one bear cub commemorating baseball cheaters Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa during their 1998 pursuit of Roger Maris’ home run record; two walruses (walri???) that have the same name as the boyfriend I had when I bought them (I hope that’s not the reason they joined my beanie family, but I think it is.); and a Valentine’s Day bear given to me by a guy years after I stopped dating him (I found out he had a girlfriend. Can you say, ‘guilty conscience?’).
I obviously had money to burn. And working in a mall just a few stores away from Beanie central – AKA Hallmark – didn’t help (nor did the fact that my best friend worked there and set aside the best beanies for me).
Next step: eBay. I couldn’t give away my beanies without confirming that they were essentially worthless. Well, consider it confirmed. Most of the beanies that sold recently on the site went for a paltry 99 cents – or 1/6 of what I paid for them! A select few went for as much as $14.99 – but for every one of those, there were five or six others that hadn’t sold.
As soon as I came to terms with the fact that I would never recover the money I spent, it became clear that my only option was to get my beanies in the hands of kids who would love them. But which kids?
One perk of being a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers is that we can tap into the wisdom of organizers across the country via a listserv. Why am I telling you this? Well, three weeks ago, a fellow California organizer asked the group for advice on getting rid of Beanie Babies. It’s like she knew I had a bin of beanies that needed to be dealt with (she actually had a client with a beanie problem that was more serious than mine)!
These are the recommendations she received:
- Beanies for Baghdad and Barry’s Beanies put Beanie Babies in the hands of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan so that they can distribute them to the children there.
- Stuffed Animals for Emergencies (SAFE) collects new and gently used stuffed animals and distributes them to emergency organizations, children’s services, hospitals, homeless shelters and other places that help children during times of crisis.
- And in general: children’s hospitals, police stations, ambulance companies, elementary schools, animal shelters (one organizer said she rolls the beanies in dried catnip and gives them to her cats when they are restless or cranky).
While those were great suggestions, I:
A) didn’t want to pay to ship them anywhere (haven’t I spent enough money already?) and
B) liked the idea of my beanies going to local kids.
I thought about giving them to a pre-school, but I didn’t want to wait several weeks for school to start. Then I remembered a friend telling me about Casa Pacifica, a center in Camarillo that offers emergency shelter care, psychiatric and psychological treatment, educational programs and overall support for abused and neglected children. Perfect!
After calling them to see if they would take my beanies – they said yes! – I packed them up (minus four holiday-themed beanies that I kept for decorating) and delivered them. As a bonus, I threw in these non-Ty bean-bag toys:
Some of my beanies will go into the welcome packages that are given to the kids when they arrive at Casa Pacifica. Others will be given to kids to comfort them when they receive medical treatment. The rest will go to center’s store, Cloud 9, where kids can purchase them with play money they have earned for good behavior.
So even though I’m left with this:
I feel that my heart, like the Grinch’s, grew three sizes knowing my beanies went to a good home.