For years he's been in a tote in one basement or other so I had every intention of letting him go. But when I took him out of the tote that became less clear. Then I hugged him and boy did that spark joy. It felt incredibly comforting. He's just the right size for a good hug. Mmm.
I'm learning more clearly from Marie Kondo's second book that this tidying method is not about getting rid of things. It's about keeping just the items that bring you joy, curating those items category by category. I decided to curate Mr. Bear.
Yesterday I spent about an hour working on cleaning him up. Research suggested putting the stuffed toy in a garbage bag with a half a cup of baking soda and give it a good shake. Let it rest for 15 minutes and then gentle rub off the baking soda with a damp rag. That didn't do much on his ancient dirt.
Next I used a teaspoon of wool wash laundry soap in about a quart of water. I used this to dampen a white rag and spent quite a while going over him, bit by bit, in circular motions. I dried him with white rags which quickly became not white.
He definitely looked cleaner but was still a bit matted. So I did something my mom used to clean some "dry clean only" curtains. She'd put the curtains in the dryer along with some wet towels, and set it to air dry for half an hour. The towels would come out filthy and the curtains would be refreshed. So I tried that with Mr. Bear. First I did air dry but he was still a bit damp so I used the delicate setting.
Mr. Bear looks quite a bit cleaner and he fluffed up and filled out. The makeup I put on his nose (beautification project from long ago) will probably never come off and there's a bad patch on his tummy that I'll work at some more. He needs a new left eye which I'll look for at a crafts store. I'll post an update when he's all the way done.
He's a bit threadbare but that just makes him more real, right Velveteen Rabbit fans? He was my companion for so long. He's not going back into the basement. For now he's resting in my closet. I may get a display case for him so he doesn't get too dusty. The display case will have a door so I can hug him whenever I need that comfort and joy.