This is what you can and can’t donate to charity shops right now

Chances are that at some point during lockdown, you did a bit of decluttering. With all social plans scuppered and WFH becoming part of everyday lexicon, we were at home all the time, leaving us to finally notice all the junk building up and enough time to actually do something about it.

what you can donate to charity shops
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The last three months have been the perfect time to have a clear out, plus it can be a rather therapeutic exercise, something we all desperately needed. And so now, British households up and down the country are left with multiple bin bags full of unwanted items looking for new homes. Now that charity shops have officially reopened, you might be keen to head down to your local to finally get rid of your stuff, but there are a few things you need to check first before you do.

charity shop
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Firstly, thanks to the nation’s decluttering rampage, many branches are overflowing with donations and can’t accept any more. Check whether your local charity shop is currently accepting donations by calling ahead. It’s also worth noting that most charity shops don’t want donations left outside on the street, so check the opening hours and go at an appropriate time.

What can’t you donate to charity shops now?

The following items are generally not accepted by charity shops:

  • Identifiable school uniforms
  • Inflatable toys for water
  • Car seats
  • Prams/pushchairs/buggies
  • Cots and mattresses
  • High chairs/booster seats/child safety gates
  • Soft toys without the CE label
  • Used pillows and duvets (although pillow cases and mattress covers may be accepted)
  • Cushions/cushion covers
  • Furniture covers without fire safety labels
  • Computers
  • Electric blankets
  • Power tools without instructions
  • Electric showers
  • Sunbeds and tanning equipment
  • Waste disposal units
  • Gaming machines
  • White goods e.g. tumble dryers, washing machines, washer dryers/refrigerators.
  • Heating and cooking equipment that use gas or oil
  • Knives/scissors
  • Safety helmets/safety harnesses
  • Cycle helmets
  • Life jackets/buoyancy aids

What can I donate to charity shops now?

  • Clothing
  • Knitted items and blankets
  • Shoes and bags
  • Accessories and jewellery
  • Books
  • CDs and DVDs (that aren’t home recorded)
  • Homeware, such as ornaments, china, kitchenware and photo frames
  • Children’s toys and games (with a CE label if it’s a soft toy)
  • Bric-a-brac
  • Paintings

Some larger and specialist branches of charity shops will accept furniture donations (upholstered items must bear a fire label) and electrical items, but it’s always best to call ahead and check if you’re unsure.

what you can donate to charity shops
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Where else can I donate items?

If you’re still left with an overwhelming amount of stuff from the ‘can’t donate’ list or none of your local charity shops are accepting donations right now, there are other ways to get rid of your unwanted items.

The food-sharing app OLIO has reported a 213 per cent rise in non-food items being shared for free amongst its 2 million members over the last eight weeks. It’s a great way to get rid of those bulky items that charity shops often can’t take, like buggies, kitchenware and electrical appliances, and to share with and help out people in your local neighbourhood.

Meanwhile Shpock is another great app for selling households items for a low price with local people and neighbours, so you can make a bit of money on the side, too.

And of course, there’s always trusty Ebay and Facebook Marketplace, which are ideal if you’ve got high-ticket items that you’d like to make some money back on.