It's not just charity shops who need donated clothes

piles of clothes © chuckp on flickrIf there’s one thing I’m not, it’s a hoarder. I hate mess, I hate clutter. I hate it when my flatmate leaves the Sunday paper on the table until Friday. (Flatmate: ‘I might read the motoring section.’ Me: ‘Before next Sunday?’ Flatmate: ‘Maybe.’) Might and maybe are indecisive no’s in my eyes. ‘Will you marry me?’ ‘Maybe.’ Case closed. No one needs to rush out to buy a new hat.

So when I went home over Christmas and my Mum asked me to help her clear out the loft, I agreed. Admittedly quite reluctantly, no one likes sifting through a life’s worth of junk least of all in a loft which only has half a floor. (My dad put his foot through the ceiling when he was laying it and never finished the job.) I agreed on one condition. This was to be a cull; an unsentimental, no just in cases, de-junk. No Mum, I don’t want to keep the boots that never fitted me in the first place, or the reversible jumper from when I was 9 (although I secretly wished I could still fit into it).

Fast forward a couple of hours, cull complete, bin liners brimming with bounty, my sister rocks up. (Nice escape sis, planned some might say) and asks what we’re planning to do with all the bags of old clothes. Charity shop we reply. Standard response, or so I thought.

My sister works for Next Link which provides specialist domestic abuse services for women and children in Bristol and Bath. One of the services is a safe house for women and children who have fled their homes. Often they leave with what they have on them at the time. No wallet, no phone, no house keys, no nothing. My sister asked us to give the clothes to her to take back with her so the centre can offer a change of clothes to the women in their safe houses. So next time you’re having a clear out, think about donating your old or unwanted clothing to your nearest domestic violence service. Find your nearest one here.