A Good Clear Out: Donating Items in Lockdown

As spring time and FREEDOM quickly approach (thank you Boris!), if you haven’t had the urge to strip out your wardrobe or clear out your garage, you’re missing out. As mentioned in last week’s blog post, I love an excuse to get sort out and get rid of stuff, and can be surprisingly heartless when it comes to having a good clear out. Theres been many an awkward conversation when my mum has found old birthday or Christmas presents in boxes for the charity shop. According to research by WRAP, two in five of us have decluttered during lockdown. As a result, donated goods are at an all-time high, with The British Heart Foundation reporting that contributions were up 197%. Absolutely bonkers. Not only are donations arriving in droves, but charity shops are having to comply with new Covid-19 decontamination guidelines, and now, another lockdown. But, as usual, the human spirit cannot be crushed – life has found a way! In a response to Covid-19, charities have adapted to continue accepting donations despite lockdown restrictions.

As we tough it out at home counting down the days till May, creating a more organised space so that when we finally escape, is the perfect activity to keep us busy for the home straight. Decluttering is a de-stresser and is proven to improve your mood. Up until now, charities were stumped when it came to continuing to service donations, with all shops closed due to Covid. We could have sold it on eBay or FaceBook Marketplace, or even driven down to the dump, but if like me, you would rather donate or recycle, then now you can.

Yesterday was my birthday. The newest member of the 37 Club. I don’t think I’ve ever celebrated my birthday in good, actually great weather! Those of you also blessed with birthdays in bleaker months will know – you reside yourself with the fact that your parents will never pay for a bouncy castle to go in the back garden, and you’ll never have a BBQ with friends. First world problems I know! Anyway, this year its been blue skies and sunshine – a lockdown miracle! And to celebrate this luch weather, and my old(er) age, this week I went in the sea TWICE. Well, when I say “went in the sea”, I actually mean that I dunked myself in the sea pool off of the ladder, and then ran into the sea, and promtly back out again. But, hey – that counts! I’m determined to overcome by irrational fear of deep water, and learn to enjoy all that open water swimming has to offer. I’ve been in touch with a lovely local lady who is an open water swim coach, and who will be starting a group for those wanting to get into open water swimming. Aimed at building confidence and starting the 2nd week of April, the aim is to gradually increase time in the water, whilst slowly acclimatising to temperatures wise.

Inspired after seeing a fantastic blog post by Lisa Dawson, I’ve put together a list of charities where you can STILL donate or recycle, even if you can’t visit charity shops. From donating clothes to selling old CDs and books; to shipping off old furniture, you should be able to find somewhere to send everything you want rid of. Some of the charities and organisations mentioned offer free postage, or courier collection from your door. Purging has never felt so good. If I’ve missed anyone off, let me know in the comments.

Lauren x

Smart Works

Smart Works is a UK charity that provides high quality interview clothes and interview training to unemployed women in need. Though it is worth noting they only accept good quality, practically new women’s workwear that is suitable to be worn to an interview, particularly in size 16 and up. At present they are in urgent need of flat shoes, handbags and fresh cosmetics. You can send your items to them by post or courier for a small fee.

Marie Curie

Marie Curie is the UK’s leading end of life charity who provide frontline nursing and hospice care, a free support line and a wealth of information and support on all aspects of dying, death and bereavement. I ran the London Marathon for them in 2019 and they are just amazing. You can arrange a collection of a minimum of three boxes or bags of unwanted clothes, accessories and shoes. At the moment, they’re in need of spring/summer clothes and footwear in particular.

British Heart Foundation

The BHF have shops across the UK which although temporarily closed due to lockdown, you can still donate by post for free! They’re looking out for quality branded clothing, jewellery, books, vinyl, camera equipment and ornaments. Each Freepost package can weigh up to 10kg and be up to 60cm x 50cm x 50cm in size.

Shelter

Shelter helps millions of people every year struggling with bad housing or homelessness through advice, support, and legal services. Despite their stores being shut, you can still donate by post. Check out the website and request a Freepost label – pack up your pre-loved items (up to 10kg) and take to your nearest Collect+ point.

Re-Fashion

Consider this: around 350 tonnes of textile waste alone ends up in landfills each year. Depending on the material, it could take them anywhere from several weeks to several decades to break down, releasing methane, a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide, in the process. Fortunately, Re-Fashion aims to reduce fashion’s impact on the planet by reselling unwanted clothes to raise money or sustainable causes. You can buy second hand clothes online as well as donate your own threads by requesting a donation bag.

Air Ambulance Service

The Air Ambulance Service operates the national Children’s Air Ambulance and the local air ambulance services for Warwickshire, Northamptonshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland. Their vision is clear – to ensure children grow into adults, for adults to live longer and for families to stay together. Each of their services works tirelessly to save lives and they rely entirely on voluntary donations and support from the public. You can send donations of clothes, shoes and accessories to them free of charge, up to 10kg.

Ian Snow

Do you have old clothes or fabrics that you would like to re-home? Ian Snow have set up an initiative which is currently paused (due to fantastic public response!) but bookmark them for future use. They will take any fabrics or old clothing that you no longer use in exchange for Ian Snow vouchers! Everything sent in will be put to good use and not a thing wasted – all zips, buttons and fabric will be used. Payment is made per kilo and they offer a free Collect+ service for up to 10kg, and anything more than 10kg they will arrange collection via DPD. Simple!

Care4Calais

Care4Calais is a charity set up to provide aid and support for refugees living in the most appalling conditions across Northern France and Belgium. With drop off points across the UK, and have a list on their website of items needed – from tracksuit bottoms through to toiletries. You can also apply to register your own drop-off point so others can bring their pre-loved items to you. Presently, they are running #Coats4Calais campaign, for donations of unwanted winter coats.

Give Your Best

Give Your Best aims to empower those in need of women’s clothes who are refugees, seeking asylum, destitute or with no access to support. GYB are passionate about sustainability and tackling donation waste – they’re an LGBTQI+ inclusive platform and stand strongly and passionately for all human rights. Visit their website to register your items – take a couple of photos, and detail the brand and size. When your item has been ‘shopped’ on the platform, you’ll be contacted to send the item on to those that need it.

Against Breast Cancer

Against Breast Cancer operate a bra recycling scheme that takes your pre-loved bras and through their network of bra banks, raises vital funds for pioneering breast cancer research. The same bras also help to support small businesses in Africa- together with their recycling partners, their textile recovery projects give them a new lease of life in developing countries such as Togo, Ghana and Kenya, where bras remain too expensive to produce locally. There is also a doorstop recycling service which takes away your unwanted clothes for recycling.

Reuse Network

Reuse Network works to reduce poverty, tackle waste and offer a brighter and better future for the most isolated individuals in society. They partner with locations such as Community Furniture Stores to make sure your unwanted goods get to people who really need it. Simply enter your postcode and check out the locations where you can drop off your unwanted items – from furniture, bicycles and electrical equipment. For larger items, it’s worth getting in touch with your nearest drop off store to find out if they can collect from you at home.

Books2Africa

Books2Africa is a UK charity that collects and sends donated books, computers and educational resources to Africa by helping individuals and communities to access, read, and understand books, and to extend the life and impact of books by reducing waste and increasing book ‘readcycling’. Package your resources and either drop them off at their offices in Canterbury or arrange a collection via their website. They also take computers, shoes, sports gear, games, educational toys, DVD’s and duffle bags.

Build A Bundle

Build A Bundle will buy baby, kids and maternity clothes from you in an easy hassle-free way. You don’t need to sort them or take photos (although they do need to be freshly washed) – just stick them all in a bag or box, and send them to their office in Barrow In Furness. You can include different sizes, genders, brands and seasons within the same parcel. Please note that you will need to pay for postage yourself.

Ziffit

On Ziffit, you can sell your books, CD’s and DVD’s by scanning in the barcodes and getting a price. Package them up, then send via the free courier or drop off service before you are paid via Paypal, bank transfer or cheque. Ziffit have also partnered with Virgin Money Giving, so you can choose to donate your profits to a charity instead.

Thrift+

Thrift+ is an online selling site with a difference. You order a Thrift bag and send off your good quality second hand clothes by Freepost using Collect+. Thrift+ photographs and lists them in their store and when they sell, they take off their selling fees and split the profit equally between you and your chosen charity. You can then either spend your payment in their online store or receive a John Lewis gift card. Win win.

Loopster

Loopster is a sustainable clothing initiative with an online sales site. You go online and order your Loopy Clear Out bag which comes with a prepaid label to take it to the Post Office. They check that the clothes are in good condition (they won’t accept items that have stains, tears, missing buttons, broken zips, children’s names written in them, or are noticeably worn out). They then send you an offer price for the clothes you have sent. Once you confirm you are happy with that price, they will pay you either by bank transfer or Paypal. All clothes that are not accepted will either be donated to their partner charity Traid, or returned to you at your own cost, depending on what you have specified.

Freegle

Formerly Freecycle. It’s free to join, free to use, and everything on Freegle is free! Offer what you don’t need, post Wanteds for what you’d like, declutter your stuff and help people nearby in the process.

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