You cleared out your home and have lots of clothes, furniture, homewares and books to give away. What do you do? Donate your items to a charity shop. 

Charity shops are a critical funding stream for charities. Donating to a charity shop also stops usable goods from going to landfill as waste. To find out more about the impact of charity retail, click here. 

Here, we answer all your questions about how and what to donate to a charity shop. 

Where to bring your donations? 

All charity shops take donations in the shop and bring them in a strong bag, carrier or cardboard box.

Sometimes charity shops have too many donations and cannot take anymore. Before dropping off your donations, contact your local charity shop to check. You can find the contact information of your local charity shop here

Do not leave donations outside a closed charity shop. In typical Irish weather, they get damaged and thrown away. Donations left on the streets outside shops also pose a hazard to other people on the path. The litter warden may then fine the charity shop. Please wait for the shop to open to hand your donations in. 

Some shops offer a collection service for items such as furniture. Contact your local shop to find out more. You can find the contact information of your local shop in our charity shop directory here.

 
What to donate to a charity shop?

Make sure your donations are clean and unbroken. Dirty, broken or items beyond repair will cost the charity shop to dispose of. If in doubt, ask your local charity shop.

Most charity shops will accept donations of the following: 

  • Clothing: Men’s, Women’s & Children’s 
  • Footwear 
  • Small home and kitchen items
  • Household textiles (no pillows or duvets) 
  • Books, CDs, vinyl, videos and games 
  • Toys (sometimes not soft toys) 

There are charity shops that specialise in specific goods:

  • Bridal and special occasion shops accept bridal, debs, evening and special occasion wear.
  • Book shops will accept all types of books, CDs, vinyl, DVDs and games. 
  • Furniture shops accept donations of large and small items of furniture. Most offer a collection and delivery service, sometimes at an extra charge. 

For health and safety reasons, charity shops do not accept mattresses, duvets or pillows. Some civic amenity sites do accept mattresses for recycling. Check out mywaste.ie for more information.

 

Unsaleable clothing

Some charity shops collect clothing not fit to be resold. They can sell them to a textile recycler. Contact your local shop first to check if they can take clothes for recycling. It’s helpful if you put them in a separate bag.

 
Clothing Banks 

There are clothing banks all over the country, many located in car parks or local centres. Donations from clothing banks are sorted and distributed to charity shops across the country. 

You can donate to a clothing bank at any time of day or night. If a clothing bank is full, do not leave your donations next to the bank as they will get damaged. Notify the charity that the bank is full and wait until it has been emptied before adding your donations.

Many commercial clothing banks do not donate all their proceeds to charity. Charity Retail Ireland members operating clothing banks guarantee all proceeds go to the charity. Our members are: 

  • Enable Ireland
  • NCBI 
  • Oxfam Ireland 
  • Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVP) 

To find a clothing bank near you, click here.

Please donate to your local charity shop or clothing banks 100% for charity.

 
How to Shop

Charity shops are no longer cluttered, untidy and sometimes whiffy places they used to be. Charity shops today are more like upmarket boutiques: professional, clean and creative spaces. They are a treasure trove for beautiful and unique pieces. 

Charity Shops are not only physical stores anymore either. Many sell items online through Thriftify, Haru, eBay, Facebook, Instagram and more. 

 

Top Tips for shopping in a Charity Shop: 

Keep an Open Mind 

This is so important as you never know what you might find. Charity shops are full of fun, different clothes. Every garment is unique. Rather than having a specific style or fashion piece in mind, keep an open mind and try on lots of items. You might surprise yourself with a fabulous new look.

Visit Frequently 

Donations come into charity shops all the time. Make sure you never miss a fashion gem and visit your local charity shops regularly.

Patience is a Virtue

You might not find something instantly, but there is always something for everyone. Unlike conventional retail stores, with only one style, it takes a few more minutes of browsing to find something to your taste. A great little shortcut is to get to know the volunteers in the store who will be happy to help you find something.

Donate your Unwanted Clothes 

Donate your unwanted clothes when you no longer wear them. Charity shops work on donations; they cannot operate without them. It also frees up space in your wardrobe for all your charity shop finds. 

Share your Finds

We love to see your charity shop gems. Tag us or use the hashtag #charityretailireland and inspire others to go charity shopping.