Donating to your local charity has never been easier. From arranging a free collection, dropping items to your local charity shop to posting donations, you can donate in a way that suits you.
Let’s start with the condition of your donations. If you wish to donate to a charity so that they can re-sell them, make sure all your donations are clean, usable and of decent quality. As one charity puts it:
“If you wouldn’t buy it then we probably won’t be able to sell it.”
What can you donate to charity shops?
- Knitted items and blankets
- Shoes and bags
- Accessories and jewellery
- CDs and DVDs
- Children’s toys and games (with a CE label if it’s a soft toy)
What about unusual items?
More unusual items such as sports equipment, musical instruments, and home furnishings may also be welcomed – but it’s best to call your local shop to check.
Some items, such as bicycles, furniture that has fire safety labels, small electricals, and white goods may also be accepted depending on their condition and the shop in question.
These are items you generally cannot donate to charity shops…
- Identifiable school uniforms
- Inflatable toys for water
- Car seats
- Prams etc
- Cots and mattresses
- High chairs/Booster seats/Child safety gates
- Soft toys without the CE label
- Used pillows and duvets (although pillow cases and mattress covers may be accepted)
- Cushions/Cushion covers
- Furniture covers without fire safety labels
- Electric blankets
- Power tools without instructions
- Electric showers
- Sunbeds and tanning equipment
- Gaming machines
- Heating and cooking equipment that use gas or oil
- Safety helmets/Safety harnesses
- Cycle helmets
- Life jackets/Buoyancy aids
What about electrical items? What electricals do charity shops accept?
Bear in mind that not all charities accept electricals and of those that do, some are more selective than others. But with the following tips, you should have no problem finding a charity that will take your electricals, and even one that will collect from you.
Are your electricals in good condition?
Let’s start with the condition of electricals. If you wish to donate electricals to charity so that they can re-sell them, make sure all your donations are clean and usable.
Here are some other things that will make your electricals more desirable:
- Boxed, as new
- In good working order
- With accessories such as chargers.
If your unwanted items fit some of the following categories, it’s more likely that a charity near you will welcome them:
- Small electricals
- Battery-powered electricals – ie that don’t need to be plugged in to the mains
- Mobile phones
- Toys and games
- Ipods and MP3 players
You’ll notice that this list doesn’t include bulkier electrical items such as fridges, washing machines or televisions. That’s not to say there are no charities that will take the bigger electrical products – there are; it’s simply to stress that small electricals in decent condition are more likely to be accepted at a charity shop near you.
There are also some types of electrical goods that, for understandable reasons, seem less welcome among charity shops. These include second-hand medical equipment, sunbeds and electric blankets. You might need to consider repairing or recycling these.
What I’m definitely not recommending is that you visit your local charity shop with a box of preloved electricals expecting to be able to hand them all over. And you should certainly resist the urge to leave the contents of your gadget cupboard on your local charity’s doorstep (unless they explicitly ask you to do that).
All it really takes is a little bit of research – and to set you on your way, I’ve made a start for you.
Which charity shops take electrical goods and which charity shops collect?
Here, in alphabetical order, are some major charities – and a few smaller ones – that might make sure your unwanted electricals are put to good use.
The older people’s charity says its larger shops that accept furniture may also take electricals. In 2020 there were 18 such stores in England and Wales, from Barnstaple in Devon to Winsford in Cheshire. Contact an Age UK shop near you.
British Heart Foundation takes a wide range of electrical items for resale, including gadgets such as consoles, tablets and laptops, and even bulky items such as fridges, TVs and washing machines. The BHF website helpfully lists the items they can’t take. BHF is also one of the charity shops that collects – arrange that via the BHF website too.
Cancer Research UK
The charity’s shops across the country will take electricals, excluding white goods such as washing machines and fridges and damaged or broken toys. Check with your local Cancer Research UK store before paying them a visit. If you’re a business, talk to them about arranging a collection.
ChildAid to Eastern Europe
This London-based charity accepts mobile phones, cameras, and gadgets including sat-navs, MP3 players, and games consoles. Find out more about ChildAid to Eastern Europe.
“One person’s junk is another’s treasure”, says the skin health charity, which operates more than 100 charity shops across the UK. DEBRA’s furniture and electrical stores offer free collection of large donated items within a 15 mile range. Contact a store to arrange a collection or book one online.
The homlessness charity takes mainly donated furniture, but also some electricals, to redistribute to people who need them. They will also collect larger items by arrangement. Check with your nearest branch.
This London-based charity supporting families in Romania accepts a range of electricals excluding large, non-flat screen TVs, computer hard drives, white goods and electric blankets. Contact FARA shops directly before donating large items.
This children’s charity, based in London, welcomes donations of unwanted TVs and computers. They are another charity that will collect – in this case even a single laptop. Contact Little Lives.
Accepts small electricals, and shops will collect from within a 20-mile radius (outside the London congestion zone). Contact Marie Curie about donating electrical goods.
The mental health charity’s shops in Alvaston in Derbyshire, and Hinckley in Leicestershire take donations of electrical and white goods. Some of Mind’s other shops also accept electricals – but check with your nearest Mind branch.
Many Oxfam shops take electrical goods – especially toys, games and mobile phones. Ask your nearest Oxfam branch before donating.
Welcomes new, boxed electrical items, cameras and multimedia devices. Contact your local Red Cross shop before you visit.
A growing number of the Salvation Army’s charity shops are able to test electrical items safely and so take them for resale. Call ahead to Salvation Army Trading to check if your nearest branch will accept electricals.
Accepts a range of electrical goods to redistribute or resell. They can’t take computers, mobile phones, electric showers and blankets, sunbeds, waste disposal units or white goods – but that still leaves plenty they will accept. Find your nearest Sue Ryder shop.
Takes a range of electrical goods – and some of Sense’s shops will collect from you.
But throwing perfectly good things away is unthinkable for most of us, so what else can we do with it?
Best known for reducing food waste, sharing app OLIO also lists household goods. To share on OLIO, users simply snap a picture of their items and add them to OLIO. Pickup is arranged via private messaging within the app and can be collected on the same day.
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