Box of clothes with Donation written on the front

Our mission, at Gone for Good is to help retail charities raise more funds for good causes. This is specifically through goods donations. By encouraging and facilitating the re-use of unwanted items, we aim to reduce the amount of stuff that gets sent to landfill.

According to WRAP:

an estimated £140 million worth (350,000 tones) of used clothing goes to landfill in the UK every year

and the Reuse Network reckon that

10 million household items are sent to landfill every year

The negative impact that this has on the environment is huge. So, you’d think we’d accept every donation offered to us, right? – WRONG! To explain what we mean, here are the do’s and don’ts of donating stuff to charity.

The do’s

A good starting point, when sorting out donations, is to ask yourself the following questions: “Would someone else want this?”  “Would someone else buy this?” If the honest answers are yes, there are many charity shops which will accept the following:

  1. Good quality clothing which is freshly washed and neatly folded, with no stains, rips or missing buttons.
  2. Toys that are clean and fully functional; puzzles which have all their pieces (all relevant toys must have a CE label).
  3. Furniture and soft furnishings with the original fire label attached – it is illegal for charities to sell items without them.
  4. Good condition shoes and boots.
  5. Bags and accessories.
  6. Books.
  7. Music (CDs, vinyl, DVDs, Blu-rays, musical instruments and sheet music).
  8. Homewares: china, kitchen ware, ornaments, pictures, collectables.
  9. Linen, curtains and blankets (must be clean and in good condition).
  10. Wedding dresses and accessories.
  11. Jewellery.
  12. Valuable items – many charities have other avenues for selling things, such as Ebay.

The don’ts

I’m just going to blurt this straight out: Charities are NOT a dumping ground for people’s rubbish! So, please don’t donate it.

This is obvious, right? However, if you have ever spoken to someone who has worked in a charity shop, you’ll be surprised at what people donate.  A  “bag of crispy leaves, a pile of old Yellow Pages and a greasy chip pan” were amongst donations to charity in Derby. I’ve also heard of far worse but I’ll kindly spare you the details to those…

When donations such as these end up in a stock room, the charity have to pay to get them taken away. It also takes time to weed through what can be used and what has to be chucked. In both instances, this is time and money that they don’t have to waste.

The other things that charities generally don’t accept are:

  1. Clothes or furniture with rips or stains, broken zips and missing buttons.
  2. Chipped dishes and glassware.
  3. Books that are missing pages, or games with lost pieces.
  4. Broken computers and keyboards.
  5. Used undergarments.
  6. Weapons or explosive materials.
  7. Old paint cans, solvents or chemicals.
  8. Car seats, prams, pushchairs, buggies, cots, carry cots, playpens, high chairs or cot mattresses.
  9. Soft toys without CE labels.
  10. Buoyancy aids, life jackets, inflatable dinghies, inflatable toys for water.
  11. Safety helmets – riding hats, crash helmets, cycle helmets.
  12. Safety harness of any sort.
  13. Fire fighting equipment.
  14. Gas appliances, oil lamps.
  15. Cigarette lighters and cigarette lighter refill canisters.
  16. Knives and scissors.
  17. Used pillows (except pillow cases and mattress covers).
  18. Cushions, cushion covers and tailored furniture covers (unless fire label is attached).
  19. Medical equipment.
  20. Anything broken, dirty, incomplete or unsafe – nobody wants to inherit your damaged belongings. Please recycle those instead.

Things to consider

Please note that these lists are meant solely for guideline purposes. All charity shops are different and if you are in doubt, you can always contact the charity shop direct. The Charity Retail Association have a great resource where you can find charity shops within a 5 mile radius of where you live.

If you have items that are unsuitable to donate to charity, don’t rush to throw them in the bin. There are several avenues available that help prevent stuff ending up in landfill:


Clothing and textiles in poor condition can still be recycled – find out more here

Or, you may want to look into repairing or altering them yourself – there are some great resources on how to do this here

Electrical donations

Some charity shops do accept electrical items – this is generally the case when they are able to carry out their own electrical safety tests.  This is commonly known as “PAT Testing” (or Portable Appliance Testing).

However, if your item is broken or faulty and you’re considering replacing it, you may be able to dispose of it when you purchase a new one.  Under the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) regulations, retailers have certain obligations to help consumers responsibly dispose of their electrical and electronic waste.


A growing trend, in the UK, is to upcycle. Upcycling is giving something a better purpose. A more in-depth description can be found here and for some inspiration, check out pinterest.

Book a #CharityVan or arrange a collection today!

Once you have a pile of appropriate donations, Gone for Good makes it easy for you to donate.

If you live in London, you can book a Free #CharityVan to take your donation to one of our participating charities. (At the moment, our #CharityVans don’t collect furniture, but we can still connect you with a charity that does)

For people living outside the London M25, our app or online service can pair you with a charity that can collect. If the charity accepts your donation, it is up to them to arrange collection.


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