Mindful donating

Each year, British households throw 22 million tons of waste into landfill. No-one wants to increase this figure so it's important to have a plan for decluttered goods. After all, your trash really could be another's treasure. 

Declutter Expert and Professional Organiser Kate Ibbotson (A Tidy Mind) offers her top tips on how to donate mindfully and conveniently and to ensure your decluttering benefits everyone. 

how to donate items to our shops

Recently, it seems as though everyone has been decluttering, or at least talking about it. The first month of the year often gives people the impetus to have a clear out. Plus cold weather means we're more likely to stay indoors and turn our attention to our homes. The popularity of Marie Kondo, a Japanese decluttering guru has also swept the nation due to the release of her Netflix show, Tidying Up, at the beginning of 2019.

As a professional declutterer and organiser, I love seeing that people are benefiting from more space and order in their homes.  However, it's important that we are mindful of what happens to our unwanted items once they are donated. 

Image of an old light bulb in hands


Here are five tips that will ensure your decluttering project is win/win for all.

1. Prepare in advance

It's important to separate out your unwanted goods and contain them in bags. Normally bin bags are fine although you could use a different colour to make it clear that the contents are for donation. Better still, order BHF collection bags by filling out this form. But if you're donating crockery, glassware or other delicate items, you will want to have bubble wrap or newspaper to hand and contain the items in a box or a sturdy 'bag for life'.

2. Donate quality items

A good rule of thumb when deciding whether something is donatable is to ask yourself whether you would realistically put it on the shop floor if you were a charity volunteer. Ensure the items are good quality and complete. Check that children's games contain all the pieces and that DVD cases contain the disc. You can still donate damaged or stained clothes and textiles to be weighed in but ensure they are clean.

3. Consider an upcycling project

If you have an unwanted item that isn't in a fit state to donate, taking on a mini creative project and upcycling it back to its best could be really rewarding. Not only could you breathe new life into it and extend its use for the future, you would also get the satisfaction out of preventing something ending up in landfill and giving it resale value for charity.

4. Complete the task

Have a plan for removing the items you wish to donate as soon as possible because it's easy to procrastinate over this otherwise. You could even end up with bags cluttering up a hallway or second guessing yourself by going through the bags. Remember that decluttering only works if you complete this essential piece of the puzzle.
If you have a car, you may choose to move the items to your boot immediately but do make a plan for when you will do the drop off. If you have no transport, large items, furniture or lots of small items, you can use the BHF free collection service by calling 0808 250 0030 or completing this online booking form.

5. Become a gift aider

If you are a UK taxpayer, you can sign up for Gift Aid and your donations will be worth 25% more. It's easy to do by filling out a form in a shop or downloading one online. You'll then receive your own gift aid card and number. Gift Aiders receive letters from BHF informing them of how much money their donated items have raised, which can be a real boost and extend that warm feeling donating gives you.  
Donating to charity can give you a real sense of satisfaction at doing a good deed and contributing to a shared public goal. As human beings, we naturally want to be helpful and it helps us feel connected as a community. So by making donations, you're also increasing your own levels of contentment.


Find a local donation point