With Marie Kondo’s tidying guide gaining popularity across the world, our seven op shops are seeing a surge in donated goods. That’s good news! Except that, unfortunately, we can’t accept some of these items due to their poor quality, our limited storage space or safety concerns.
To make things easier for you, we’ve collated a handy list of what our op shops can and can’t accept. So, let’s get down to the nitty gritty!
What can be donated at our op shops?
Our seven op shops (soon to be eight) are always looking for items in good condition.
This includes clothing and accessories for men, women and children, as well as homewares and bric-a-brac, manchester, toys, books, CDs and DVDs.
We also love receiving vintage fashion and timeless pieces in our stores. Customers always snap these items up quickly!
Our general rule is this: is the item in good enough condition that you would happily give it to a family member or friend? If so, this item is likely to be gratefully accepted by our volunteers.
What can’t be donated at our op shops?
We can’t accept anything broken, ripped or dirty. Please keep this in mind, as every year we spends thousands of dollars disposing of dirty, damaged or poor quality donations.
“It’s quite heartbreaking when people use our location as a dumping ground. After the Australia Day weekend, I came into work and noticed someone had dumped broken furniture and a soiled sofa near our donation bins,” our Kidman Park store manager Meg says.
None of our stores can accept furniture either, due to our limited storage capacity – but don’t throw furniture away, as other charities can accept these items!
“While we don’t accept furniture, many other charity stores such as St Vincent de Paul and Salvos do – all of which are close proximity to our Kidman Park store,” Meg says.
Our op shops also don’t accept pillows, quilts and mattress protectors due to hygiene concerns for humans. And unfortunately we can’t use them in our animal shelters either, as they can pose a choking hazard for animals.
We can’t take electrical goods due to occupational health and safety concerns. All electrical goods need to be tested and tagged by a qualified electrician.
Some of the other items we can’t accept can be surprising to some members of the public.
“We can’t accept used or opened underwear and bathers, well-worn shoes, and clothing that features a company name,” our Prospect store manager Deborah says.
If donated, these items unfortunately must go straight to rag bags, which ends up costing us more money.
We also can’t accept children’s safety items, such as helmets. That’s because we have no way of knowing whether they’re actually safe, or have been involved in an accident previously.
Finally, we can’t accept scratched or damaged saucepans, scratched or burned CDs and DVDs, and chipped or broken glassware.
Not sure if our op shops can accept the donation?
“A good way to narrow down what you would donate, is to ask yourself whether you would give that item to a friend,” Meg says.
One of our most donated items? Books – many of which we can’t accept.
“We often get old library books, books with writing or highlighted text, named books and books in bad condition. Unfortunately we can’t sell these items and they end up in landfill,” Meg explains.
Our volunteers are often asked when the best time to donate goods is. Our store managers encourage people to donate during our opening hours.
“If our donation bins are full after hours, please come back during our opening hours. This prevents donated goods from being soiled by people rummaging through,” our Kidman Park assistant store manager Shannon says.
What to do with items our op shops can’t accept?
Don’t despair if you can’t donate – your items don’t necessarily have to end up in landfill, as there are many resources available for donations we can’t accept.
Mobile phones can be dropped off for free at any Australia Post store. Mobile Muster is the brains behind this great recycling incentive.
While we don’t accept any items made from real fur, Australian-based organisation Snuggle Coats re-purposes old furs to comfort rescued wildlife babies. Aaaaw.
Have a bike that needs restoring? Bicycles for Humanity is a great not-for-profit which upcycles and restores bikes for people in poverty stricken communities.
Under the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme, old televisions and computers can be dropped off to your local tip for free.
Lastly, for clothing items we can’t accept, Boomerang Bags is a great zero waste initiative that’s always on the lookout for more fabric. These guys provide fabric bags readily available at local stores for when you forget to bring your reusable bag.
We hope this guide has made culling your wardrobe and cleaning up your home that little bit easier!
Donating your second-hand goods to our RSPCA op shops is a great way to help us care for animals. If you have anything you no longer need and that someone else may love, please drop it off at any of our stores during opening hours, or at our headquarters at 16 Nelson St, Stepney. You can find a full list of our locations here.