Monday, March 21, 2016

Upcycle Toys for Pets!

Tis the season... it is spring cleaning time once again!

Let's visualize it now: you are meditatively sorting through your closet and dividing your clothes into piles. It's best to find that organizational zen. Maybe you've read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and you're deciding if clothes get to stay based on the level of joy they bring you. Maybe you're dividing clothes by season or color. Regardless, you have three piles:

  • clothes that get to stay. Congratulations, you passed the test! You get to stick around for another year!
  • clothes that you aren't going to wear again but are in good enough shape to be donated. Hopefully, they can make some residents smile at a local DV or homeless shelter!
  • clothes that aren't in good enough shape to be donated.
    Into the trash pile they go

Just because your clothes are worn and torn does not mean they should be thrown away! If fact, we have an awesome DIY project to turn your old clothes into the perfect gift.

Instead of throwing away clothes that aren't suitable to donate,
turn them into chew toys for animals at your local shelter!

I've heard your requests for more animal rescue projects, so when I had the opportunity to bring a new ITLT project to a local high school academy, I knew this was the perfect (furry) fit! Here's what we did and what you can easily do too:
  1. Collect the materials. Make it very clear to those donating that you only want items that would otherwise be trashed. Clothes in good shape should be donated to shelters. Clothes that have holes, rips, or are worn down are perfect! (Remember, even single socks - socks that have lost their partners - can still be donated to homeless centers if they don't have holes.)
  2. Create an event. You're going to want lots of helping hands to turn these rags into riches for the pups at the pound! Organize an event at school, for your club, or in your neighborhood. Then, call around to your local pet shelters and find out if they would like to accept your upcoming donation. Sometimes, they can't accommodate or already have enough chew toys, so you always want to ask first.
  3. Get it twisted! After I explained the goal of this project to the students, we got to work! 
    Rip, shred, twist, and tie soft material into a variety of shapes. If we were braiding a chew toy, we used scissors to separate the pieces evenly. Other than that, no additional supplies were used. All knots were tied by hand no rubber bands, glue, or anything that otherwise might become a hazard for the future chewers.
  4. Donate your new toys to those fur babies! Arrange a drop off date and time and (I also recommend) ask if you can share a few toys with some pups in person! It never hurts to ask, and who knows, the joy on their faces may make you want to do this creative act of kindness all over again!
  5. Share on social media! Whether you're thinking of starting this project with a group, or humbly bragging about tails wagging at your local shelter after you're all done, community is important! Team up and tear down (the old shirts, that is!), and show your friends and family how easy it is to get personal and be powerful in making a difference. People are usually just waiting to get creative; give them the opportunity! And don't forget to share with us!

You might have as much fun making these chew toys as your new furry BFFs will have playing with them! This campus-wide community service event ended on a cute note. All the toys made by students during our ITLT event were donated to Lucky Puppy in Studio City, CA. The pups LOVED it... look how sweet!

Where will you be participating from?
As always, tag us @itsthelittlethingsdotme and #TeamITLT 
so we can see your efforts!

A huge thank you to Mandi Schwartzberg, the best Guidance Counselor around, 
and my dear friend from elementary school, 
for inviting me to share it's the little things with these innovative young minds!
(...and for dropping off our amazing chew toys after I left town!)