If you still have any of that new year energy left, a lockdown clearout may be on the cards. But what to do with all the clutter you want to offload?
Like all non-essential retail, charity shops across the country are closed at the moment until lockdown restrictions ease. However, thanks to platforms like Depop and eBay, many charity shops are continuing to trade online with some still accepting donations, albeit in alternative ways.
British Heart Foundation – one of the first charity shops to embrace online trading – is asking people to send items via its freepost donation service. All you need to do is head to its website to download and print off a unique label, attach it to the envelope, parcel or box you’ve put your bits and bobs in, and then take your packaged donation to a Collect+ drop-off point from where it will be distributed. You can find your nearest collection location on the website. A similar scheme is being used by Sense.
While the Salvation Army’s shops are closed, people can use its donation banks to drop off their items. Other clothing banks across the city may also be open over lockdown. Recycle Now’s website can help you find your nearest facility, but do check with your local authority before visiting as there may be closures and opening times may be different over lockdown.
Most charity shops, including Oxfam, are asking people to hold on to donations until they reopen. While shops are shuttered, organisations including Love Not Landfill and the Charity Retail Association have warned people not to leave bags of stuff in front of closed shops as this is technically fly-tipping and the bags may be removed and end up in landfill. Once shops have reopened, there are safe and easy ways to get your items to them, like Save the Children’s free donation bags and the TaskRabbit service used by Barnardo’s.
While you’re sorting through all those ill-advised purchases and unwanted Christmas presents, remember charity shops are facing huge losses after a year of lockdowns and restrictions. Mental health charity Mind says it lost £1.5 million in sales in the run-up to Christmas, making it difficult to raise money to provide support to people in need, while Cancer Research UK estimates it’s had a 20 to 25 percent drop in fundraising income due to the pandemic.
So, instead of heading to Amazon, take a look at your local charity shop’s online store instead. Saving stuff from landfill and shopping ethically is a pretty good way to start the new year.