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A volunteering initiative from the DoSomething charity

Charity Op Shop DOs & DON'Ts!



Spring is coming up so it’s time to clear out that closet and donate your gear to the local op shop! But make sure you do it right!

by Sally Creagh from Do Something


You’ve heard all the wardrobe culling guidelines before - if you haven’t worn it in a year (or two) then it’s got to go. Donating to your local op shop is a great way to support the fantastic welfare programs they provide for the community - but did you know that an estimated 40% of the items donated to op shops are thrown out?

Why? Soiled, ripped, broken or otherwise unusable items can’t be sold and become a problem for your local op shop - a costly problem.

Charity op shops have to dispose of this material, paying expensive landfill fees and taking funds away from the community they are trying to help.



Donating unusable junk amounts to illegal dumping at op shops. Don’t be part of the problem! Here are some tips for responsible donating.

For clothing:

 • Clothes are sorted according to their wearability and marketability, so make sure items are clean and preferably wrinkle-free. Obvious stains, rips or broken zips etc will result in the item being rejected, so only donate clothes you would not be embarrassed to give to a friend. A missing button is ok, but try to make any small repairs before you donate.

 • Fold clothing and put in a box or bag, don’t shove into a bag on a hanger - it can damage the other clothes.
Attach any things that come in pairs to each other. For example, tie shoes together with the laces; stuff socks or gloves into one another. At the very least, make sure they go into the same bag.

 • Pockets should be emptied and any belts securely fastened around the clothing item they go with. 

 • If you have clothing that is soiled or ripped but is made from cotton, then put them all in one bag marked ‘cotton’. The op shop can send this off for recycling into stuffing or rag stock.



For furniture, bric-a-brac and other items:

 • Some charities will pick up furniture, and will assess their condition on the spot.

 • If you are not sure about whether your furniture or other item is donatable condition, call your local charity op shop and ask them to clarify. A missing drawer in a dresser might exclude it for some charities, but others may accept it due to it’s upcycling potential.

 • All electrical items are tested before sale so don’t bother donating something you know doesn’t work.
Remember, a charity bin is not a garbage bin! The better the condition of your donations, the more your donation really counts as it saves the op shop’s resources for the needy.




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