How to declutter and donate like a pro

My grandmother was a member of the “waste not, want not” generation. A child of the Great Depression, she was in the habit of reusing and repurposing long before we needed encouragement to do so. She was a fantastic home cook, a talented seamstress and a keen gardener. Until refrigeration was readily available, food was purchased frequently and fresh from local suppliers (if she couldn’t grow it herself). It would be fair to say that Grandma was a greenie without even realising it!

While Grandma’s sustainable lifestyle was something to which many of us today would aspire, the flipside was a home packed to the gunnels with bits and bobs; anything still in working order was kept “just in case” it might have a use, one day. How to find the sweet spot between living sustainably, and letting go of things that will realistically never serve us?

One answer is to donate your clean, good-quality, unwanted items to a charity that can use or sell them. The charities below are among many doing excellent work in our community:

  • The SPCA appreciates newspapers, stained towels, linen, blankets and duvet covers

  • Dress for Success accepts clothing, shoes, hand bags and jewellery in near-new condition.

  • Harbour Hospice welcomes items that are clean, good-quality clothing and homeware

  • Salvation Army Family Stores are a great place to recycle household goods, clothing and furniture.

If you’re having a significant clear out, I recommend creating categories as you go and bagging up each category separately. This is something I do when working with my clients; by separating the items out, I can easily phone my local charity store(s) and confirm they need what I am donating. It sometimes means dropping off different categories to different stores, but it ensures the items go where they are needed most.

My top five tips for donating like a pro:

  1. Donate items that are clean and good-quality.

  2. Create categories for your items and bag them separately.

  3. Phone ahead to confirm the charity needs what you are donating (if you have a large load they will appreciate knowing you are coming).

  4. Do not donate broken or stained items.

  5. Drop your donations off during store hours – never leave on the doorstep.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can support the charities above by donating your unwanted items, check out the following links:


This article was originally published in the March 2019 edition of Channel Magazine, a publication I proudly write for each month.

Cover photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash