By Jasmine Birtles, MoneyMagpie.com

You know the helplessness you feel when you hear of terrible things happening to innocent people around the world and here in the UK and you just wish you could do something? Anyone with a heart feels like that, but when you’re barely covering costs yourself, month by month, you wonder if there’s any way to help.

Thankfully there is. In fact, you’re surrounded by easy ways to help alleviate poverty, educate children, reduce pain and build communities, just by clearing the clutter in your home.

That’s what we are doing in the Clear Your Clutter campaign: helping people help themselves and others by converting their junk into cash.

Obviously, your junk can be turned into money to pay bills, have a holiday and clothe your children, but it can also be used to help people outside of your own family. Quite often, once people get stuck into de-cluttering they find things they want to sell and then a whole pile of stuff they just can’t be bothered with. That’s the time to give it to deserving causes that will help people in need all over the world.

This is why the Clear Your Clutter day has partnered with Gone for Good for the 2017 campaign. By using the Gone for Good smart phone app, users can donate their unwanted stuff to charity by simply taking a photo of their unwanted goods on their phone. The app makes decluttering and house clearances easy as it locates partner charities who collect the categories of goods offered from the user’s postcode.

Here are a few of the items that bring in the cash and where to take them, according to the Clear Your Clutter campaign. Some of them might surprise you:

Furniture and Electricals

British Heart Foundation has traditionally been the first port of call for those wanting to donate furniture to charity. They have furniture ‘showrooms’ across the country. But many other charities take furniture too, such as Shelter, and Debra, as well as local hospices, such as Royal Trinity in London.

As well as charities who partner Gone for Good, the Furniture Reuse Network runs an excellent website that will put people in touch with charitable organisations in their area that need furniture. Volunteers pick up the items in vans and lorries and take them to homes, churches, charity shops and voluntary organisations that need them.

Old clothes

On the whole, retro or designer clothes make the most for the charity shops, but all clothes are accepted as long as they are clean and in good condition. You can take your clothes down to your local charity shop or to one of their clothes bank. If you’ve got several bags of clothes, many charities will come and collect them from your home. You can donate using Gone for Good or just phone up the charity direct to see if they will collect.

Nationwide charities that collect clothes include Cancer Research UK, Mind, the Salvation ArmyOxfam, Sue Ryder, and Scope. If you have any Marks & Spencer’s clothes that you can donate, Oxfam offer a £5 Marks and Spencer’s voucher to every bag donated that contains one or more item of clothing (with the exception of lingerie and swimwear) from Marks and Spencer.

Stamps

Stamps can be really valuable. Quite a lot of charities take them in and sell them on to stamp collectors or dealers. Foreign or old stamps usually make more money, but charities collect current UK stamps as well.

Leave at least 8mm of paper around the edge of your stamp (make sure there’s a good amount of paper still round them because ordinary stamps are sold by weight) and send them off to your chosen charity or take them to your local shop.

Charities that collect old stamps include RSPB, DHIVERSE and the World Owl Trust, and you can send stamps to Charity Stamps Direct which will allocate the money to the donor’s chosen listed charity on their website.

Printer cartridges

Giving charities your empty cartridges helps them to sell them directly to companies which refill them and sell them on.

This makes them money and decreases the 1800 tonnes of cartridges that end up in UK landfill sites every year. Recycle and you will not only help charities but help the planet!

Charities collecting printer cartridges include RNLI, Sense, Barnados, World Cancer Research Fund and the British Institute for Brain Injured Children. Boots also recycle printer cartridges and they give 100 Boots advantage points per cartridge while donating 20p to charity. 

Old glasses

Charity shops will take glasses of all types including sunglasses (in fact those are likely to sell better than prescription ones).

However, it’s also a good idea to donate them to a sight charity. Sight charities collect old spectacles to send to people with sight difficulties in developing countries. All you have to do is take your old glasses into your local donation point.

Vision Aid Overseas are the biggest of these but smaller local charities near you may also collect. To find your local collection point, use their location finder here. All branches of Dolland and Aitchinson stores and most Boots stores also have glasses recycling bins where you can deposit your old spectacles to go to Vision Aid and other needy causes. 

Foreign currency

Take your spare cents, yuen and lira to your local charity shop or, for very heavy collections, free collection is often available.

Charities such as RNIB collect current foreign currency, while charities such as Help the Aged, Marie Curie and Age UK collect old currency that you can no longer change.

Mobile phones

With mobile phone companies constantly offering free phone upgrades and new handsets with new contracts, the number of discarded mobiles is increasing rapidly. Instead of throwing out your old phones, give them to your local charity which can sell them on (even if they don’t work).

Charities currently collecting old mobiles include Mencap, ActionAid, Bliss, Age UK and CLIC Sargent. Another possibility is that you can make money for yourself selling your phone through this mobile phone comparison tool and then give that money to charity.

Jasmine Birtles is the founder of MoneyMagpie.com and of the national Clear Your Clutter campaign which will be running the next Clear Your Clutter day on March 11th 2017.