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When we donate to a charity shop, we often don’t think about the process that goes on behind the scenes with those bags full of donations, but rather that we have done a good dead by taking it there instead of chucking it in the bin. A charity shop often doesn’t have the time or facilities to wash any donations or give them bit of TLC. This means that quite often those donated clothes could end up going straight to the ‘ragman’ rather than getting a chance to be loved again.

Follow these top tips to ensure that your donations make it to the shop floor.

  1. WASH YOUR CLOTHES 

Wash your clothes before you donate. It’s really important that the clothes charity shops put up for sale are clean and smell fresh. Most charities won’t have the facilities or time to wash any clothes and so its really important that they receive clean donations. 

2. SCRUB THOSE STAINS 

We’re only human, and that means that we can be clumsy! We all often spill food or drinks down ourselves, get our sleeves dirty or get a few grass or mud stains when we’re out and about. These stains can often be rectified and can save the clothing, however you can’t count on the charity shop having the time, staffing levels or facilities to do so. Check any clothes that you want to donate for stains and if you do find some, get your vanish bars, washing up liquid and soda crystals out. Most stains are common and happen often, so there are thousands of home remedies to fix them when you search on the web. Spend that extra 5 minutes on them and give your clothes that chance be re-loved.

3. DEBOBBLE YOUR JUMPERS

Get your debobbler out and make those jumpers look brand new! Some charities will put debobbled jumpers straight in the rag bag, so give yourself 10 minutes to clean up the condition of the jumper.

4. CHECK YOUR POCKETS

Old receipts, used tissues, forgotten change… Check your pockets so they don’t have to. You never know, you might be lucky and find a tenner!

5. USE A LINT ROLLER OR BRUSH

If you have a pet, they can often leave little hairs on your clothes. Some garments pick up extra fluff super easily, depending on the fabric and colour. Use a lint roller or brush before you put it in the bag- you never know who might be receiving it and what allergies they have.

6. FIX BUTTONS

Most garments that have buttons often have a spare sewn into the label. If your garment has lost a button, all you need is a needle and a bit of thread, and you can give that garment a new life.

7. SPEAK TO YOUR CHARITY SHOP

Ask the charity shop you wish to donate to what standards they have to meet to be able to sell the garments. Some charity shops will not sell anything with even minor defects; however, others will sell lower quality stock on their bargain rails and bins. Some sell used nightwear, others don’t. Know your charity and what they will sell, so everyone can benefit.

8. THINK ABOUT SOCKS, UNDERWEAR AND PYJAMAS

Some charities will sell used pyjamas, other’s won’t. Most charities won’t sell worn underwear or socks, however there are places that will take them. Do a bit of research and find where you can take things locally. Smalls For All and Against Breast Cancer will take used bras, so be sure to check them out.

9. BEYOND CHARITY SHOPS

So now you have a load of old garments and linen that you know won’t sell at the charity shop huh? That doesn’t mean it needs to go to landfill- here are some other ideas:

HOMELESS SHELTERS ANC CHARITIES: They will take second hand clothes, coats and thick socks. Quite often they will take duvets and sleeping bags too. Be sure to phone or visit first to see what they will accept and what they are in need of.

DOGS HOMES: Dogs homes will take old bedding and towels for the dogs to sleep on.

REFUGEE CHARITIES: Refugee charities are always in need of clothing, shoes and coats. Find out if there is anyone collecting for the charities in your local area. And if you are planning on clearing out your shed – they are always looking for tents and sleeping bags.

RELUV Co-founders can’t help but sneak out on their lunch break- Cornwall Hospice Care: Redruth, Cornwall

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