• Sun. Feb 25th, 2024

Five lockdown charity shop alternatives

ByOlivia Fallon

Apr 4, 2021
clothing is arranged to spell the text 'SECOND HAND'.

Lockdown(s) have triggered us all to take conscious steps towards improving our lives. For many, this has taken the form of clutter clear outs and closet purges, making way for a minimalist ‘new you’. Now that the sunny weather is finally making an appearance in Edinburgh, your spring clean senses might be tingling even more. Not to mention, we’re fast approaching that time of the year when we’re forced to haul all of our worldly possessions out of rented flats and back home for the summer (the moment at which we realise, some of these items just really aren’t worth keeping). 

The reasons to have a clear out are mounting, but there’s just one problem: how can you get rid of all your old stuff in an environmentally friendly, community minded way, during a pandemic? 

With the closures of charity shops, we’ve not only been missing out on some bargain buys, but at a loss as to what to do with all our old clothes and homewares. But fear not, this article will outline five ways you can continue to keep the circle closed and do good with your old belongings.

A pile of second hand jeans neatly folded on a table.
image: Linda Lioe via Pixabay
  1. Free postal donations

Being unable to accept in person donations over the pandemic, many charities have established free-post donation services to ensure that they can still take stock. Simply package your items, weigh the package, apply online for a printable free-post label, and drop it off either with Royal Mail or the charity’s designated delivery service. Two charities that are operating these services are British Heart Foundation and Shelter, both valuable causes. They only accept goods that are in a good, resaleable condition, and package weight is often limited, so be sure to check the website for terms and conditions before posting

2. Free home collection donations

You can even donate without leaving the house! Free home collection services, like that run by FarFetch, make donation accessible to those who aren’t able to make the trip to the post office. Simply order a donation bag online, pack up your items, and wait for the free collection service to pick it up. Plus, the proceeds of the sale of your items will be sent to a charity of your choice. FarFetch even reward your donation by giving you credit to spend on FarFetch.com for every item sold!

3. Asda George Take Back scheme

Lifestyle have previously featured Asda’s collaboration with Preloved to launch a vintage concession stand in many of their stores as part of a conscious effort towards promoting consumer environmental consciousness. Now they are expanding this mission to take donations of old clothes and textiles. Simply securely package your unwanted items, print off a QR code from the George Take Back website, and drop off at your nearest location. The Jewel is Edinburgh’s closest store and is easily reachable by bus. You’ll receive 10% off George clothing as a reward, and the proceeds from the sale of your donations will go to Asda’s Tickled Pink charity partners, including Breast Cancer Now.

a pile of colourful cushions
image: Public Domain Pictures via Pixabay

4. Charity clothing banks

These can be found all around the city, mainly in supermarket car parks and near to glass recycling points. They accept clothing, curtains, cushion covers, bed linens, and other soft fabric items, and are affiliated with a variety of charities, so pick one that resonates with you. The items donated to these banks are sorted, and depending on their condition, either sold on in charity shops (when they reopen), exported for sale or donation overseas, or sold to textile recycling companies, with the proceeds going to the charity. 

5. The Meadows Share

Home of community heroes, eco-warriors, and small business supporters, The Meadows Share is one of Edinburgh’s greatest community hive-minds. Anything offered up on this local Facebook page is sure to be snapped up within hours, if not minutes, making it ideal for shedding excess items before a sudden tenancy end, or just a spring clean. Unlike the previous options, you’re not just limited to clothes and home textiles; members offer up anything and everything, from plants, to bikes, to food. Just make sure you follow the rules – buying and selling is not allowed, and the admins will be quick to correct you if you step over the line. Please make sure you always follow the current lockdown rules when donating and exchanging goods!

So there you have it – lockdown needn’t mean we give up our environmental responsibility to prevent unwanted items going to landfill, nor prevent us from doing our bit for charity.

image: jakbraun via Pixabay