Updated: Apr 18, 2021
Lockdown has given us all an opportunity to finally get round to sorting out all the clothes that have accumulated in our wardrobe over the years. A report from WRAP found that during the first lockdown, 37% of people had a spring clean of their clothing, clearing out 11 items of clothing on average. WRAP estimates that this equates to 184 million items of textiles cleared out in the first lockdown. Of those donations 40% of the them people intended to give to a charity shop when lockdown ended.
If the changes we saw in March are seen in this third lockdown, there is great potential for quality clothes to be given to those who are in need. At Clothing Collective, we work by providing vouchers for those in need to purchase clothes in charity shops. We believe this gives people dignity through being able to choose their own clothes. Having more clothes in charity shops means more choice and sizes, helping provide the right clothes for those we support.
Seen outside a charity shop in Putney
However, across the country there are reports of people dumping these valuable donations outside charity shops. These clothes quickly become damp or animal infested when they could have been used for someone in need. The lockdown has meant that charity shops are closed so they are unable to accept donations, but accumulation of items outside have meant that shops have had to use waste disposal services or volunteers to redistribute them. Leaving donations outside a charity shop does not just mean they cannot be sold but costs the shop money and time in having to dispose of the items. Although it may seem acceptable to leave your donations outside, particularly when other people have done the same, it is fly tipping.
However, there are some really easy ways in which to not waste your donations:
Hold onto your items till after lockdown. Temporarily keeping the donations in your house until after lockdown ends, is an obvious way in which you can make sure your old clothes help your local charity shop. When charity shops do open, it is worth ringing beforehand to check that they can take donations at that time. In the meantime, you could check out another of our blogs on what you should do when donating clothes, such as making sure the clothes are washed and taking out items that the shop can’t sell. You can also find your local charity shop and where to donate your clothes here.
Use a nearby clothing bank. Alternatively, you can donate your clothes using a local clothing bank (find one near to you here). Over lockdown some of these banks have become very full, so if there is not space for your donation, take it home and don’t leave it next to the bank.
Post to organisations that are accepting donations. Some organisations such as Give back box and British Heart Foundation are still accepting donations via post.
Additionally, you can help by giving your donated items to those in need through supporting our work at Clothing Collective. We appreciate all support whether that is reading and sharing our blogs, following us on social media or supporting us financially like you can do here.
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