Time for a clear out?

Every year, around December time, I think the same old things: I think about all the crap that I haven’t sorted out, all the the things I’ve failed to sell on eBay and the bag of ‘clothes-to-fix’ that I haven’t touched. Is anyone else the same?!

So what could be more apt than a round-up of things to do with your old stuff that doesn’t involve the dump, the nearest charity shop, or as some people like to do, chuck it in the bin – quelle horreur!

1. Dress for Success. Believe it or not, there are people who need your old suit that you wore once to an interview more than you, as well as those black bootleg trousers you can’t bear the sight of. They are women on low incomes who need presentable clothes for interviews and the Dress for Success charity (which started in New York and is now international) sorts this out. They take donations of clothing, handbags, shoes and accessories from individuals and retailers and help to dress women who are lined up for an interview. Next time you’re having a clear-out do consider them for any work-y type clothes – the offices are located near Angel/Islington in London as well as around the world. Check them out here http://dressforsuccess.org/whatwedo.aspx

2. Chic & Seek. Sometimes you have a really special item that you don’t have the heart to throw away – maybe a designer item you once bought on a whim or a pair of twinkly heels that just don’t fit properly – but let’s face it, you’re never going to wear them and they’re wasting space in your wardrobe. That’s where Chic & Seek come in! The lovely ladies there will buy your designer item from you and sell it on. Founder Tara says, ‘one lady’s loss is another’s gain’. If you live in London, they can even arrange pick-up. Plus, if you love shopping for high-end second hand, you’ll definitely want to take a look at what they have on offer for yourself – A LOT of high end bargains! http://www.chicandseek.com

3. Give to the homeless. Last year I found a shelter (The Passage, near Victoria Station in London) that would take a few old blankets and pillows I was chucking out. I believe the homeless charity St Mungo’s may take donations of bedding and warm clothes – something desperately in need at this time of year. So it’s definitely worth researching to find a local hostel or centre. There are also lots of smaller shelters that always need resources such as Shelter from the Storm. Another charity I found recently that takes donations is The Trussell Trust which distributes food donations to families in need.

4. Freecycle! Yes, freecycle really does work and it operates all over the world. It’s the best way of recycling without the hassle of postage because whoever wants your item has to come and pick it up for free. You just post the item online, people reply with their interest, you choose someone and they come and pick it up. No money exchanged no bother on your part. Easy peasy!! And the people taking the item off you are usually SO grateful. I gave away an old sofa a few months ago and the girls who took it were so happy they sent me a photo of the sofa in their lounge – was so funny! One of my fav ways to recycle! Check out your local freecycle here http://www.uk.freecycle.org/

would love to know what you do with old items – and happy giving!

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