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Op shop donations done right

By Laurie 21 Jul 2019
Clothes rack


Australia has one of the highest numbers of second-hand and opportunity shops (fondly known as op shops) in the world, but did you know that nearly 40% of all items donated have to be thrown out?

If you are planning on having a purge of your wardrobe and donating what you no longer wear to VinniesThe Salvation ArmyLifeline or any other organisation, there are a few things you need to know to make sure your donation is usable and ends up where you intend it to:

  • Don’t donate anything that has rips, tears, stains or is no longer wearable for any other reason. If it’s within your talents, mend it before you send it.
  • The right way to donate clothes is to fold your clean and rip-free items into a plastic bag or cardboard box, attach anything that is a pair to each other and empty any pockets of all items.
  • If you’re putting anything breakable into the donation bins make sure that it’s wrapped securely so it won’t break and doesn’t endanger the volunteers who unpack and sort your items.
  • If there is no room in the bin, don’t leave your things on the ground beside it. Take your donation to a different bin, hand it in at a store or wait for another opportunity.

Sometimes when I’m cleaning out my wardrobe, I hit the dilemma of whether to throw out or keep items I am particularly attached to, but may not wear at all. A handy trick I have learnt is to put these uncertain items into a bag and hide them under the bed for a couple of months. If you don’t miss their presence or dive to retrieve them from their hiding spot, you probably don’t need them. So send them to a place where they can be reincarnated and loved again!

Pants, tops and jackets from op shops hanging up. 
Some of my favourite op-shop finds!

When I’m donating after a clean-out, I only give away the things I wouldn’t be embarrassed to give to one of my friends. Op shops are charity organisations that have to pay for the removal and safe disposal of all the illegal and unusable items put into or beside their donation bins, which costs the community and takes away from the cause they exist to assist.

Three outfits purchased at op shops hanging up.

If you’re looking for an opportunity to help in your local community, build your résumé or just meet some new people, volunteering at an op shop is an awesome option! Employers love to see volunteering on a résumé because it shows that you have taken the initiative and chance to learn new skills with people and sales. There is nothing stopping you! Just go into your nearest op shop and ask about volunteering; they’re always looking for more people to help, especially from the younger generation.

Now that you’ve done all that purging, you don’t even need to feel guilty for re-stocking your wardrobe with op-shop bargains! Check out my tips for getting the most bang for your buck at the op-shop.

Author profile image of Laurie