In this sudden era of self-isolation and home working, it would be a opportune time to have a leisurely spring clean and declutter. As well as a good cathartic task, it may throw some opportunities for the charity retail sector.

One of the benefits of donating your pre-loved items is that it will raise money for good causes, which in this unprecedented time, is more important than ever. The charity retail sector raised over £330 million last year, 11% up on the previous year, which is sure to suffer greatly this year. Staying home can be a great time to do a spring clean and declutter and set items aside to take down to your local charity shop. 

Don't know where to start with your clear out? Here are some top tips:

1. Organisation is the key

Write 'Keep', 'Throw' and 'Donate' on three pieces of paper and create clear piles of what you will keep, throw away (responsibly of course!) and put aside to donate to charity.

2. Is it functional?

Ask yourself, does this item have a purpose? Is it useful in your everyday life? If not, consider whether it adds value in other ways. If it doesn't, it could be time to set it aside. 

3. Have you used/looked at/worn it in the last year?

We often keep things out of habit, and sometimes we simply stop 'noticing' items and objects because they have been there for so long. Be ruthless and take each item and really think, have you used/looked at/worn it in the last year? If the answer is 'no' then what are the chances that you will in the next year. Could this item be repurposed? Or given a new home?

4. Does it fit you?

It won't be the first time, and it probably won't be the last either, but sometimes we buy clothes that we promise ourselves to slim in to and never actually get round to committing to it. These clothes remain unworn hanging in wardrobes for aeons. Give them a new lease of life, and let go of the guilt and pressure surrounding that particular item. Another slightly depressing wardrobe fact is that we naturally outgrow clothes as our bodies change shape with time. Try on your entire collection and see what comfortably fits - if there's a few things are a little too tight, or a little too big, consider altering them or adding them on the 'donate' pile. 

5. Does it spark joy?

In Marie Kondo's words, 'does it give you that little spark of happiness?' If the answer is 'no' then you know what to do!

6. Could it benefit someone else? Could someone else make use of it?

Take on another perspective when having a clear out - consider each item, and if you aren't using/wearing it, could someone else? Is there any life/wear left in the item that someone else could enjoy?

Less than three weeks ago, we reported that charity shops achieved the highest average turnover since 2014, at £2,500 per shop, per week. There are 11,200 shops in the UK, which amounts to an astounding £29 million a week being raised for amazing causes. Add on to this cancelled events and street fundraising, and our country's charities will be in a truly sad financial position when the current crisis is over. If you could set aside your pre-loved items to donate they could be of use to someone else.