Donating things to charity

Giving away your unwanted items to charity is a great way of making sure things are put to good use and benefit other people.

Find your local charity shop

Look up charity shops in your local directory like Yellow Pages or go to

Before donating:

• Clean items by giving them a wipe down or wash and make sure they are in working condition.

• Check the charity shop will accept your items. You’re probably OK with clothes, books, CDs and pots and ornaments. But you will have to shop around a bit more to find ones which accept electrical goods, furniture or even children’s clothes. Some require furniture and toys to have safety labels.

• Find out the shop opening times – these may be shorter than usual. Don’t leave your donations outside the door to spoil or become a hazard.

Look out for specialist charity shops

Some items like electrical goods are difficult to donate. But some charities have specialist shops. The British Heart Foundation, for instance, has some shops which take electrical goods.

You may be surprised what items shops will take. Cancer Research UK charity shops, for instance, not only accept clothing, accessories and quality homeware, but are happy to take CDs, DVDs, mobile phones and used printer cartridges. Go to for more information and to find your local Cancer Research UK shop.

What not to donate

Shops have to be very careful not to sell things that could be dangerous or unhygienic, so avoid things like earrings for pierced ears, crash helmets and children’s clothes with drawstrings. Shops may also not accept films with an 18 certificate.


According to the Furniture Re-use Network (FRN), 10 million items of furniture are thrown away in the UK every year, 3 million of which could be easily re-used as found, and even more could be repaired.

So why not look out for community projects which will collect furniture, cookers, fridges/freezers and pass them on to people who need them?

Check with your local council or go to to find your local furniture re-use organisation. Many community projects will take large appliances such as fridges and cookers, as well as furniture and clean carpets, so they can sell them at affordable prices to people and families on low incomes. There is currently a shortage of good-condition ‘white goods’.

Prescription glasses

You can donate out-of-date prescription glasses to Vision Aid Overseas Check with your local optician.

Other things charity shops do

Look out for charities which:

• organise home clearances

• run collection services

• recycle mobile phones and printer cartridges.

• use rather than sell items – for instance charities working with refugees may need children’s clothes and furniture.