What Not To Donate @ Op-Shops

We’ve been doing another round of de-cluttering around the house post-Christmas, we go by the usual system – three piles for keep, throw out and donate. Many charitable organizations rely on the public’s donations in order to support themselves and whilst donations are always welcomed and encouraged, there are a few items that should not be placed in the donation pile.

Last year Australians donated over 300,000 tonnes of items to charity op-shops, 60,000 of which ended up in landfill at a significant cost to the organisation. This is what makes this list important as donating inappropriate goods can actually be counterproductive at times. (Thoughtful Donations: What Not to Give to a Charity Op-Shop, 2013)

LittlePop has volunteered at an op-shop before and this allowed us to be more aware of what is and isn’t appropriate to donate to op-shops. We understand that not everyone has this knowledge and so thought we would compile a list to share with our readers 🙂

We also thought this would be relevant because of the holiday period that’s just passed, I estimate many people are also in the midst of de-cluttering a little bit. We have noticed quite an influx of unopened or almost new items laying around at our local op-shops, I assume these to be unwanted Christmas gifts – which is unfortunate. I am thankful though that they are being given a second chance rather than ending up in landfill.

WHAT SHOULD NOT BE DONATED AT OP-SHOPS – OR CAREFULLY EXAMINED PRIOR TO DONATING

  1. Soiled or damaged undergarments – it may be surprising to some of us but this is very common. Be carefull when donating these items, for sanitary reasons there are very specific guidelines about which ones can be put up for sale. Ideally these would be hardly worn, or new and they should always be clean – most of the people who work at op-shops are volunteers, they don’t want to be going through piles of crusty strangers underwear.
  2. Books, DVDs, CDs, records, tapes and VHS – some of these are fine for donation, in fact they are fine for donation provided they are still in good condition. The reason I put these on the list is more because of the rate of which they are bought vs how many of them are donated. These items are a bit harder to re-sell, I’m not really sure why but it almost certainly has a lot to do with the digitization of media as well as the fading out of certain technologies such as video players, record players and tape players. Children’s books, DVDs and CDs do have a higher rate of sale provided they are in reasonable condition because most parents know their kids will be chewing on, throwing and (hopefully not) but occasionally ripping books over time, so it is a good way to save a bit of $$$
  3. Electrical Goods – in order to re-sell electrical goods you need a special license, and a lot of places do not have this. It is also very risky as all these items must be carefully inspected for defaults, water damage etc… they don’t want a law-suit on their hands for someone being electrocuted! Some places do have specialists who come in once a week to provide minor fixes to various items. It’s best to check this out with your local op-shop before donating, they’ll be great full you did 🙂
  4. Toys – Toys can be tricky as they have to be inspected to make sure they still have all their parts before selling. If the sorter has not come across this toy before it can be difficult to make a judgement on this.

I think that’s the end of our list for now…

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Charities report increase in junk dumped, and more people taking items from the front of stores

The main thing to keep in mind is Op shops are not dumping grounds, it may save you $$$ by avoiding charges at the local tip, but all you are really doing is passing that cost on to others who are not responsible for it.  You’re better off making use of local hard rubbish services in the area, or listing things like electrical goods on eBay. The op shop you give these things to is paying a significant amount of money every year to remove our unusable/unsaleable items which are dumped at the front of the shop or in their bins.  We have many op shops around us and its frustrating to see the loads of stuff left on their door steps every night, we have also noticed that passers by often come down after the shops are closed and go through these bags – taking them for free and making even more mess for volunteers to clean up.

Our golden rule is ‘if you wouldn’t give it to a friend, it belongs in the bin’

Do you have any advice on giving to op-shops? or alternate ways of getting rid of things?
Little & Big xxx

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Great finds

We went out this week and did our rounds at the local op-shops. We can prepared and had a list, we needed new work shoes for Little Pop, a new handbag for Big Pop which would also be appropriate for work as she started a new job this week and a warm coat for Little Pop which she can use when out walking the dog and during work placements ( because she is studying environmental science almost all field work is in the outdoors and with winter well underway sea starting I feel the cold!)
So off we went … And we actually did really well! We got everything on our list (Shoes and bag $4 each and jacket
$6) the bag is a perfect size for Big Pop to take to work and has plenty of pockets and storage, and Little Pop loves the colour of her new (old) jacket. We even got something which wasn’t on the list… Little Pop found a great little insulated ‘lunch sack’ to take to work and uni and it was only $1!

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Also here are some of the pictures from Little Pops most recent work experience with Philip Island Nature Parks… She had a fantastic time but is now home and oh so tired! 💤💤💤

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The plan

For a few days now I’ve talking to little Pop about getting the ‘rules‘ down in writing for ‘buy nothing new’. I wanted to be able to visualize how different our consumption habits would be. I want to have a journey of living a modern life as chemically free as possible. As I said in my last post our house feels so cluttered with stuff that it is effecting how we live. I am always worrying about the mess and lack motivation to actually clean because as soon as you clean one room and move onto anouther the first room is messed up again. I find it embarrassing having people around and at time feel isolated. I have come to realise de-cluttering and not buying anything new will help us live a simpler life and no longer be slaves to our ‘stuff’. The side benefits are, we will save some money (always good) and reduce our environmental foot print. We haven’t joined a cult or become environmental warriors and we don’t think we are better or smarter than anyone else. It is a great time to slow things down and really look at what we buy and what we really need.

So here are the rules which I quickly scribbled in my note book whilst following little pop around the bathroom as she readied for Uni.

What can be purchased new:

  1. Food – which we plan on purchasing from local farmers.
  2. Medication
  3. Safety and security equipment – we have some dodgy door handles that may give up any time soon. Our external doors all have same key deadlocks so it would be difficult to replace with second hand.
  4. Printer Ink and paper.
  5. Ingredients for home made cleaners
  6. Toilet paper
  7. Underwear
  8. Fabric
  9. Pens
  10. Petrol and car maintenance equipment

Of course we will always try our best to buy things second hand or borrowed where possible but if absolutely necessary and we can see no alternative way around it these are the items we have deemed permissible to buy new.

What can’t be bought new:

  • household goods
  • dog & cat toys
  • clothing
  • furniture
  • bedding & linen
  • books, magazines & newspapers
  • DVDs & CDs
  • cleaning products
  • cards
  • candles
  • Wii & Xbox games
  • Bottled water

New habits

  • Washing machine and Dryer only used for FULL load
  • Dryer only used at times that things cant be dried in cloths horse
  • Power points turned off when not in use.
  • Wash up when you have enough dishes to use a sink full of water
  • Buying local thinking global 🙂 – Little Pop loves that motto.

Our list can be added to and along the way will let you know of adjustments we make. I am really looking forward to that moment I have a dilemma about buy new or not, lets see how innovative we can be.

clean natural, eat in season, donate, up-cycle, recycle and live life chemical free.

Big Pop

Books Finding a New Home

One of the best things about BNN is it will give us the chance to get rid of all the stuff we have lying around but are too sentimental to get rid of (my main weakness is books). I have come to terms with the fact that in order to get our home sorted out and looking fabulous I will have to part with many of the books I have accumulated throughout my reading years – of course I wont be getting rid of any of the very precious books I own… just the ones sitting around taking up precious shelf space.

I had been trying to think of what to do with the books because I want to make sure they get used and don’t just end up sitting in an op shop (I can just picture them on the shelf going ‘please pick me!‘), I used to volunteer at an op shop and know that books are one of the least commonly bought items. And after much deliberation I went into somewhere I’ve past on my many days to and from uni, it’s called the ‘Little Library‘ and is in Melbourne Central. To be frank it’s more of a community service than a shop, how it works is Melbournians can go into the shop and donate their old books or swap and share with others inside the store. I really like the fact that this is all free and not based around making a profit off my belongings, and this way I know my books will actually stay in circulation and be used.

So at some point in the next few weeks my no longer needed books will be finding themselves a new home in the Little Library.

If you want to read more about this initiative check out this link:

http://theworldlovesmelbourne.com/arts/106-melbourne-central-little-library-literary-gem-in-the-cbd.html

Also: Please don’t think I have something against op shops because I don’t – I just don’t want to give them my books 🙂

Little Pop