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Donating house-clearance items to charity is a win-win

Posted on | April 7, 2010 | Comments Off on Donating house-clearance items to charity is a win-win

Many of our customers not only ask us about how much we recycle, they want to know if we donate items to charity. They know that they have to clear the house of large quantities of ‘junk’, collected over the years, but much of that so-called junk has strong associations for them.

A customer who, for example, is clearing the house of a deceased aunt may look at an old dressing-table and remember the times during her childhood when she watched her aunt combing her hair or applying make-up at that very dressing-table. This may even bring tears to her eyes. She knows she can’t hold on to the dressing-table, but she can’t bear the thought of it being broken up and recycled. That would be like a betrayed of her beloved aunt.

Then she thinks that someone might like it and suggests that it be donated to a charity shop.

We’re entirely in sympathy with customers who want us to donate. Some customers ask us why we took clothing that belonged to a loved one to a recycling centre rather than to a charity shop. We just have to say, ‘Trust us.’ We know from long experience the kind of items that charity shops are glad to receive – and the ones they have to reject.

When we’re carrying out a house clearance, we take items that we know charities will accept back to our warehouse. Then we sort, pack and deliver them to suitable charities.

Going to a good cause

Donating works well for all involved. It saves Abacus a lot of money in recycling fees, while our customers feel good when certain items – particularly those with some sentimental value – go to a good cause. (As well as donating to Oxfam and others, we contribute to a number of children’s charities, through monthly standing orders.)

However, we do have to be strict about what we donate. Charities have limited storage space and need quick sales. If they can’t sell an item, they have to pay to dispose of it.

A television set may look perfectly good to a customer, but that does not necessarily mean that a charity will want it. For one thing, there are the costs involved in having it PAT-tested (Portable Appliance Testing is required under health and safety legislation).

Before a house clearance, it’s a good idea for customers to see if they can find new homes for any items of that kind that they think might be useful – and safe to use.

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