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Declutter your life and support local charities

‘Tidy wardrobe, tidy mind’ is a mantra used on many TV shows promoting upcycling, recycling and decluttering your home. Clearly a well organised home, with less chaos, can be a symbol of a more organised mind as well so why not start 2024 by having a tidy out and at the same time supporting some amazing charities by donating your unwanted clothes to a local shop.

Often the target of criticism on social media and identified as a symbol of the decline of the High Street, the charity shop is actually something to be appreciated and applauded in lots of ways.

Having found myself unemployed for a few months earlier in 2023 I decided to put my time to good use whilst I looked for a new role and volunteered at the Blue Cross Charity shop in Bromsgrove High Street. My experience was both an eye opener and changed my opinion of their role in the community.

The first thing that struck me looking down the High Street is the number of incredibly worthy causes they support, many of which touch all of our lives sadly in lots of ways. In no particular order your unwanted items can support abandoned animals, the fight against cancer (and heart disease), offering support for the Aged, orphaned children and providing respite for parents of terminally ill children and a place for those children to be cared for in the final days.

When I consider the people (and animals) who benefit ultimately from us giving our unwanted items I am amazed that the humble charity shop isn’t celebrated and given pride of place in our High Street.

Then we come to the other side of it which is the incredible bargains you can find when looking around these stores. In these difficult financial times the chance to save considerable amounts of money on a new outfit or other items can’t be ignored. Once you move past the fact that someone else may have worn a garment  the savings are unbelievable.

Another great example are books. Do you really mind if someone has read a book before you when you can save, sometimes £10 or more?

If supporting a plethora of good causes, getting your home in a tidy state and potentially picking up a bargain isn’t enough I want to drop one final thing into the mix. That is that the Charity shop functions as a meeting place and hub for many people who don’t have other people to talk to.

In my time at the Blue Cross it became clear to me that for some people the weekly (sometimes more often) trip into the charity shop for a mooch and a chat was the highlight of their day and the fact that the store manager or volunteers took time to talk to them and know their names made a massive difference to their mental well being.

Whilst we all want a diverse choice of retail and hospitality options down our High Street, in my opinion, the charity shops add to the vibrancy of the experience and there are plenty of other units that can be targeted to fulfil the other requirements.

So next time you are looking in your wardrobe and thinking about decluttering please think about donating to the local charity community and please also consider popping in sometime, you never know what bargain you might find.

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