How is your charity shop etiquette?

St Albans charity shops tell us how to help them.

St Albans charity shops tell us how to help them. - Credit: Matt Adams

Standard lockdown problem...You have cleaned and tidied your home within an inch of its life and been left with a pile of...well, things. 

Every time I throw something away I hear my mum's voice saying "No...Take it to a charity shop!" I always reply that it's rubbish that nobody would want but often it is more laziness than judgement. 

But do people really know what to donate? Is it just a way of getting rid of your unwanted stuff? Is there value in things that have no value to us anymore? We spoke to St Albans charity shop managers to get some answers. 

Manager Cloe Ansari of Oxfam on Chequer Street said: "We are accepting all donations as usual, minus electricals and furniture.

"We understand it's overwhelming to deal with lots of donations but we don't discriminate.

"Even if the donations are not saleable we are able to recycle certain materials through our Waste Saver scheme. We don't think of any of it as 'crap', we think of it as charity."

Rachel Greenberg, on behalf of The Peace Hospice in St Peter's Street, said: "As a charity we rely on the support of our local community, and as ever, we have received fantastic support from local people throughout the entire pandemic. As lockdown eased and some of our shops re-opened, we have gratefully received a huge amount of donations from those in our community who had been unable to donate when our shops were closed.

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"The money raised in our shops is vital in supporting us to provide our free services and we are so thankful to every person who donates or shops with us. At our St Albans shop we have a great range of items on sale including some lovely summer clothing, so do pop in if you want to pick up a bargain.

"We are always looking for donations of any clothing, shoes, handbags and good quality china but are unable to accept hardback books or toys at the moment."

Of course, even the most random donations are nothing compared to some of the rubbish dumped outside charity shops during lockdown.

Manager of Oxfam Hatfield Road Elton O’Neill told us last year how items left for his team to clear away included a bottle containing an inch of shower gel.

He added: “It is not that we are not grateful for genuine donations but rubbish is rubbish and it should be treated as such.”