Wednesday, December 29, 2010

 

Charity Shop Tips

I remember writing some years ago (although it really doesn’t seem that long) how difficult I found cleaning up. Reading back now, I only have God Almighty to thank! Anyway this post is about giving you tips for a clearout which may benefit someone else!


So here are some tips if you decide to give your unwanteds to the Charity Shop:


1. Ensure your intention is to give to charity in the same way a smile equates to charity in Prophetic teachings. If your items need to go into a skip, then put them into a skip. Avoid giving items which are damaged beyond repair and unlikely to be used by someone.


2. You decide which Charity Shop to give to. Obviously certain items may be more suited in some shops than others. One example is of religious material which should be given to appropriate stores with said religious affiliations; another is ethnic clothing such as saris which may be better utilised at an Asian one.


3. In addition, some retail charity shops allow donators to become part of ‘Gift Aid’ schemes which mean they claim back tax on a sold item. Such shops will give you a membership card and your donated items will be price-tagged with your donor number on it. At the end of each financial year you will receive a letter telling you how much tax has been reclaimed by the charity. It is worth asking the staff, if they don’t tell you about it from the outset. The charity shop Sue Ryder started this and it has extended to other shops.


4. OK so you have decided who you will take your unwanteds to, next? Here comes the fun bit: organisation time! Yes, giving to charity is not just about grabbing a black bag and throwing everything into it. Just imagine the time it will take some poor soul to go through your junk! Prophetic wisdom teaches us to try our best to make life easy for the other. So avoid the mess and start arranging things into some order. If you have a stack of books, cassettes and clothes, then make three piles. You can even further arrange the clothes so similar items are grouped together.


5. Now that all like items are sorted, you can pack them. Be generous with your wrapping and use ample plastic bags. The charity shop can prolly re-use the bags. Use bubble-wrap for anything fragile as you don’t know which store the bags will be sorted in! This is extremely important if you are donating glass items.


6. You may think this is OTT but there is nothing wrong with labelling bags with contents; especially if you have done a sizeable clearout. Again it just makes life easy for the person sorting the donations out.


7. When donating a large item which has a fault or damage eg a bookshelf with a missing shelf, it may be worth pointing this out upon donation / delivery. A simple note will again do the trick.


8. In the case of religious material, some shops will specifically ask what you are donating, and this is when you should make it clear if you are donating any copies of texts eg Quran. The reason for this is because at some shops staff will take the Quran quite immediately and place it on a specified bookshelf before sifting through the rest.


9. There has been a recent trend of collecting unwanted clothing in return for cash. I have certainly seen some shops which claim to give £10 for 10kg of clothing. Personally I am not in favour of it. This is because I believe the spirit of giving for no material return generates a feeling that a £10 note just cannot match. Of course one never knows the financial state of another and I am not here to judge.


10. Finally, in the case of fabric off-cuts or items of clothing or furnishings (such as curtains) which are soiled, damaged or burnt, one idea is to contact the textile faculty at your local college. Many art and textiles departments are only too keen to get fabric off-cuts for students, and the more variety of material on offer, the greater the possibility of enhancing a student project. However please do ensure that all damaged bits of the fabric are cut off first!


A general principle I have taken from friends is:

if you haven’t used it for six months, you probably won’t use it again.

This can be applied to a lot of the things we may be in two minds about getting rid of.

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