The charity shop checklist: what can and can’t you donate?

Donating unwanted clothes or household items to charity shops is an easy way to help out your local community. However, there are a few restrictions on what you can and can’t donate. To help save you time on your next trip to the charity shop, we’ve put together a quick guide on what to put in the charity shop pile next time you’re having a clear out.

What can I donate?

Most charity shops are happy to take a range of clothing and household items, as long as they’re clean and in a good condition. Items that are usually accepted in high street charity shops include:

  • Clothing
  • Shoes and bags
  • Accessories and jewellery
  • Books
  • CDs and DVDs (that aren’t home recorded)
  • Homeware, such as ornaments, china, kitchenware and photo frames
  • Children’s toys and games (with a CE label if it’s a soft toy)

Some items, such as bicycles, sofas that have fire safety labels and mobile phones, may also be accepted depending on their condition. If your high street charity shop doesn’t accept more unusual items which are in good condition and adhere to safety regulations, you may be able to find a specialist in your area which will accept them.

What can’t I donate?

Often due to safety regulations, there are a number of items that charity shops can’t accept. Although what charities are willing to take can depend on the individual shop, the items that are generally turned away are:


  • Heating and cooking equipment that use gas or oil
  • Knives
  • Scissors
  • Refrigerators

Safety equipment

  • Safety helmets
  • Safety harnesses
  • Cycle helmets
  • Life jackets
  • Buoyancy aids

Children’s items

  • Inflatable toys for water
  • Car seats
  • Prams
  • Pushchairs
  • Buggies
  • Cots
  • High chairs
  • Cot mattresses
  • Soft toys without the CE label

Soft furnishings

  • Used pillows and duvets (although pillow cases and mattress covers may be accepted)
  • Cushions
  • Cushion covers
  • Furniture covers without fire safety labels

Electrical items

  • Electric blankets
  • Power tools without instructions


  • Weapons
  • Oil lamps
  • Prescription glasses
  • Items made from ivory
  • Petrol or diesel fuelled garden equipment
  • Personal items, such as shavers (unless unused and in a sealed box)

If you’re still unsure about whether you can donate certain items, give your chosen charity shop a ring before you drop by. Some charity shops will even come and pick up larger items on your behalf, so it’s worth checking their website before you deliver your donations.

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