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A guide to donating clothes

A guide to donating clothes

27 August 2018

By Sam Arthur

Each season, I open my wardrobe and my clothes rack is struggling with the weight of my new clothes. I've created a wardrobe malfunction. A sucker for sales and designer brands, I regularly buy multiples of things and realise I own five of the same style of tops.

Keep a bag for clothes donations in your wardrobe

When I'm feeling overwhelmed, I start the annual season cull. What has worked for me has been keeping a small reusable bag at the bottom of my wardrobe. When I'm getting dressed in the morning and I pull out something I haven't worn in ages, I slip it off the hanger and it lands in the donation bag. When the bag is full, I wash the clothes and take then take them to one of the twelve Sacred Heart Mission op shops.

When it comes to donations, Sacred Heart Mission’s op shop customers are looking for clothing in good condition, clean and with no holes; basically something you would be happy to buy.

Separate wheat from chaff

Many brands use cheap materials and the way the garment is sewed is often not particularly aging-friendly. Things will fray, fall apart and start to pill soon after the clothes are worn a few times. These items sadly are not ideal for op shops to sell. By the time Sacred Heart Mission receives the clothing, it's gone past its use-by-date and can only be used for rags.

With this in mind, I like to bag up my cheaper clothes no longer suitable and place them in a marked bag 'rags'. This helps the op shop staff sorting. Instead of digging through a bag and finding no winners, staff can easily place the bag in their clothing rag section, which then gets passed on to be recycled. Our staff spend a lot of time sorting, pricing and hanging clothing.

The aim of an op shop is to sell as many clothes as possible in order to raise enough money for our vital services. By buying second-hand you're saving yourself money, you're cutting down on wastage and contributing to an organisation raising money to support the most vulnerable people in our society.

Donate clothes that are easy to resell

Op shops are the perfect hive for vintage fashion, but more than that they are full of items that are easy to resell - just the basics. Warm winter clothes are ideal donations during the colder months. Old smelly shoes? Not what we are after in our op shop.

When it comes to reselling your designer brands, Sacred Heart Mission would love the donation. Remember, if you're time poor and want to support your local community, dropping off a bag is a lot faster than taking a picture of your clothes, putting it online, dealing with the buyer and organising the transaction.

So, when it's time to clear the wardrobe, remember:

  1. Is the item in good condition?
  2. Is it something you would happily buy from an op shop?
  3. A simple bag at the bottom of the wardrobe is a handy way to cull your wardrobe.

Plus, if you decide to completely start fresh in your wardrobe and end up with a heap of bags that just won't fit in your car, Sacred Heart Mission's free truck pick-up service may be able to collect your donations.

I'll leave you with this little tidbit from the ABC's War on Waste: 6,000kg of “fast fashion” is dumped in landfill every 10 minutes in Australia. Let's work together to unpick that number and sew it into a new figure.


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Sacred Heart Mission respectfully acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land on which we operate our services. We pay our respects to the ongoing living cultures of Aboriginal peoples, and to Elders past, present and future.
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