When the boys were small I used to do a frantic clear out before Christmas to make room for the deluge of new stuff that was about to arrive. Out went the toys that were no longer played with, the clothes that were too small, the broken bits of plastic tat. The 15yo was always particularly strong in that regard. One year I realised he had almost no toys as everything had been taken apart to make into something else. I have become adept at sorting through what most people would regard as rubbish to sift out the useful stuff- pen spring in, sweet wrapper out, plastic wheel nut in, half a pencil out. The other day he bought a child’s cash register from Sainsbury’s because it came with a conveyor belt – that has now been repurposed into a background for stop motion movies and the rest is in the bin.
And yes I feel bad about the plastic. While not wanting to stifle this amazing creative spirit. So I thought this year, just before it all starts I would make a list of places to donate things so that if you are also clearing out the old to make way for the new then it might help.
I wanted to do this as well because I notice that the stock response of “let’s take it to the charity shop” doesn’t always work. They don’t always want it – particularly home furnishings as I think there are rules and regulations about what they can accept – they need a valid fire label basically.
The other day I linked to a simillar post by Alex of The Frugality and her list includes dontations for women and babies, small children and animals so rather than repeat I shall link here.
First up don’t forget Freecycle which is a non-profit organisation you can use to get rid of, and acquire, stuff for your home that might otherwise end up in landfill.
You can also ask the local library if they would like books that are in good condition.
To donate furniture you can always ask your local council if they can use it. Then you can see if there an an Emmaus local to you. This French organisation was founded after WWII in Paris by the French Resistance fighter Abbé Pierre to provide homes for homeless people . It came to the UK in the 1990s following a chance encounter in a soup kitchen and there are now 29 communities spread across the UK supporting some 750 people by giving them a home as long as they need it and work in the Emmaus commumity. They are hoping to increase this to 1000 places by 2020. They also save some 3000 tonnes of furniture from landfill annually.
Or you can book a collection from the Furniture Donation Network, who will collect it directly from inside your home (so you don’t need to heave it about) and donate to low income families or sell to help with social welfare projects.
Another idea is the Re-Use Network which helps families in crisis by putting them in contact with places where they can find affordable (sometimes free) items for their own homes or vice versa – helping you find a local place where you can donate things you no longer need.
There is also the Veterans Charity , who provide furniture and other essentials – food, clothing and household essentials as well as Forces Support, who will collect furniture and carry out house clearance.
These are just some ideas which might be worth bearing in mind.