Saturday, 22 October 2011

Faith, Hope And Charity

donatedontwasteI have been continuing with my Fall-Out campaign, and sorting out loads of clothes which do not fit, books I no longer read and household goods which are surplus to requirements. And if there is any life at all in them, then they are going off to charity shops hither and thither.

That way, other people [and the environment] will benefit

I seem to have read loads of blogs [Jazzy, Fishcake, Lakota et al – you know who you are!] in recent weeks about ‘charity shopping’ – and consider myself a veteran of this practice. For 8 months when we first came to this village, we actually lived over a charity shop – how exciting was that?! Here are my CS tips


  • if you have a specific category of donations [eg books,ageuk music or china] try and find a shop which specialises[see below**].
  • this is not a Rummage Sale- clothes should be clean and immediately wearable [no broken zips, missing buttons etc.]
  • incomplete sets [5 cups & 6 saucers] are acceptable, chipped or cracked plates are not. And broken glass is hazardous.
  • take the goods into the shop, do not leave them on the doorstep – if you do the bags will get nicked, or ripped andbhf that just upsets everyone
  • donate goods in carrier bags, and don’t ask for the bags back! The CS will appreciate them
  • see if your shop operates a Gift Aid policy [I believe that Heart Foundation, Barnardo’s and Oxfam do – and there are others]
  • Oxfam [and some others] operate an ‘all clothes accepted’ policy – and can make use of garments which may be unwearable or unsaleable. They sort and send them for rags and recycling. It will help them if you have post those garments in a separate marked bag though.
  • take your goods in carrier bags – and donate the bags too!


  • haggling the price down is very bad form – this is a charitybarnardos who are working with mostly unpaid volunteers trying to raise as much money as they can for their cause.
  • if you only want part of a ‘job lot’ then only take that part – that way they have the option of selling the other part to someone else. But be prepared to pay the original CS asking price.
  • it is wise to try on garments if you can – clothes and shoes dooxfam not always fit the size on the tag!
  • not everyone will have followed the zips/buttons/wearability etiquette – be prepared to do a little mending on purchases.
  • take your own carrier bags with you
  • if you want ‘upmarket’ clothes, then shop in a CS in an upmarket area- but expect to pay more [their rent is probably higher, and their local clientele probably richer!]

**One of the most helpful websites is this oneFind A Charity Shop Near You is really informative on all counts – including stuff about goods you wouldn’t think of as necessarily worth anything. Don’t forget that many opticians can take your old prescription spectacles and they are graded and then passed on to third world countries.

What you do with your purchases is up to you.

My SIL from Surrey gave us all superb CS gifts one Christmas, and she had put a lot of thought into the items, finding things that she knew we’d appreciate. I still treasure my vintage wooden knitting needle holder. But some friends and relations may not appreciate ‘pre-loved’ items.

I confess that I am little unhappy when people buy things reallyebay cheaply in a CS with the specific aim of then selling them on eBay to make a profit for themselves, but that’s just my personal opinion.

Please be friendly to the staff – they work hard, usually as volunteers, because they believe in the cause. And remember the stock depends entirely on the donations – so if you cannot find a pair of size 5½ black court shoes, or a size 10 green cord skirt, it is not their fault!

In the 1990’s, my friend Irene very nearly lost her good coat whilst being a volunteer assistant – another of the team almost sold it to a customer! To this day the story is still being told here in the village.


One final thing- and this is just a purely personal quirk – if an item is price at “x pounds and 99p”, or just 99p or 49p, then I cannot bring myself to put that odd 1p back in my purse – it has to go into the collecting tin on the counter! As they say…

every little helps!


  1. All charity shops send unsaleable clothes to be sold to textile recyclers (rags). I volunteer in a shop, none of those mentioned above and quite often take in my kids clean washed underwear which will be put in the rag bag. Just take your rag donations in and mark them as such which helps at the sorting end.

  2. I just don't think charity shops here are as plentiful or as rich in finds as they seem to be in England. I could be lamentably mistaken? My cousin's wife does run a church based one in an estate near here though, and it is fabulous for furniture.

  3. Hi Angela, Cottonreel and I are always loading up my car with stuff for the charity shops and we nearly always buy stuff when we are in the shop. I always save all my little tiny scraps of fabric from quilting because one of the groups we go to has found someone who will take them for recycling. I collected all the bone china cups saucers and plates for my daughters vintage wedding which looked fabulouse on the tables and she now uses them for her business of vintage teas, so I hope we are doing our bit.

  4. We are on the same wavelength, as this is what I've been doing every Saturday - making room here and providing something for my local shop to sell. It's a win-win situation!

  5. Great Post Angela!

    I actually read in a charity shop yesterday 'Please don't be abusive to our staff'. I was shocked!

    I used to volunteer in a charity shop (save the children) and I loved it.

    Sft x

  6. Thanks you for the mention :)
    I love charity shops and I am so so grateful to anyone who donates, if it wasn't for places like these my family and I would never survive!!! We have lived with literally pennys to our name at some points.
    Your are amazing <3
    x x x x

  7. PDSA have a gift aid system. We donated lots of books recently and got a lovely letter back. We donated a few things today not much but as you say every little helps!

  8. "If you haven't any charity in your heart you have the worst kind of heart trouble" to cure it help people, let's unite for one good cause, be a volunteer"save lives"!mawaddainternationalaid


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