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  • Leah Cee

The Good & Bad of Donating

Yesterday, I got turned away from an Op Shop. Halted and told I couldn't come in. Not because I was being unruly or misbehaving, but because my favourite Op Shop, for the first time ever, had too much stuff and they couldn't accept my donations.

Op Shops are now becoming overwhelmed - which is good and bad. Good, because people are decluttering, living with less in their homes and feeling amazing. Bad, because Op Shops now have to deal with decluttering their own spaces.

So, how do we help?

Firstly, I know we all love feeling the joy of donation. The feeling of helping others who may not be as fortunate, or simply giving an item an extra little bit of life. Donating items makes the task of decluttering that much easier - knowing they're going to get a new life. The problem with this is that some of our items, actually don't have any more life in them. They've already been used as much as they can - and they are now bound for landfill. But chucking something in landfill doesn't feel as good does it? So, we send it off to the Op Shop in the hope that someone won't mind a bit of extra wear and tear and get another 10 years out of your preloved stuff. In reality, the volunteers now have to sort through all that stuff and dispose of your rubbish for you.

Here are some tips to make this easier on everyone.

- If the item is ripped, stained (even a little bit), torn, worn out, broken, missing a part, missing a piece, incomplete in any way, cracked, chipped, unworkable, dented or just plain "too old" - please consider recycling or sending it straight to landfill. Clothing, fabrics, textiles, shoes, many plastics, metals and electronics can usually be recycled!

- Don't get caught up with sentimentality over an item that you've had for 40 years. It's done its job and it may just be ready to go straight to the ground - that's if any of the above apply. It's hard, yes, but that's where it's going after it hits the Op Shop anyway.

- Please don't send games and puzzles with missing pieces - that is super frustrating for a buyer when they get them home and it's just not cool. The Op Shop is going to throw them straight in the bin.

- If books are torn or ripped or mouldy or wet or stained - please chuck them straight in your recycling bin or regular rubbish wheelie bin.

- Plasticky, junky toys and accessories are exactly that - junk. Please don't clutter up an Op Shop with them. Just don't receive them in the first place! Say "no" to junk toys!

- Instead of taking used bedding and towels to the Op Shop, try your local Vet instead. Vets usually love receiving towels and sheets.

- If your saucepans have done their dash, and the frypan has lost its non-stick coating, take them to a metal recycler. Most councils have a depot that you can use to deposit metals.

There are a multitude of different ways you can dispose of your goods without cluttering up Op Shops. Sure, there are perfectly good donatable items that are worthy of making their shelves but after what I saw yesterday, there's also a whole lotta crap going to Op Shops too.

Accept that we do need to throw away things. Reduce the consumption in the first place.

Be kind and be a recycler.

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