Since we've been staying home, a lot of us have been spending time doing a little spring cleaning and tidying up our closets. This has brought up some important questions, like is it safe to donate or sell clothes right now? Are thrift and consignment stores even open? The UK government guidelines have stated that some evidence suggests the coronavirus "can stay on fabrics for a few days, although usually it is shorter."
While thrift and consignment stores have closed their brick-and-mortars, very few of them have been continuing business through the mail. We reached out for more insight from some of our favourites like Oxfam, Traid, and Vestiaire Collective to see how they have adapted to the new normal. It turns out that consignment stores like Vestiaire Collective are seeing a spike in customers buying and selling products right now. Vestiaire Collective's cofounder Fanny Moizant told us, "There has been a noticeable increase in RTW deposits as well as items at accessible price points under £300, while iconic and timeless designs like classic handbag offerings also remain strong."
Ahead, we're breaking down which places are still accepting donations and which stores are accepting consignment pieces. (PSA: Given the shifting climate, restrictions for these stores may change as we gain more information around COVID-19, so please check their websites for more up-to-date information.)
Oxfam's shops and donation banks remain closed, and it is unable to accept donations. The leading thrift and charity store told POPSUGAR that "we urge people to keep donations at home if they can, as we will welcome them wholeheartedly as soon as we are able to open." Currently, Oxfam is shifting their focus to raising vital funds through donations to help vulnerable communities around the world stay safe against coronavirus.
Vestiaire Collective is still accepting new products, and customers can buy and sell products as usual. The online platform launched the "Direct Shipping" program, which provides a faster and more affordable process for buyers and sellers. The program will enable buyers "to opt out of physical quality control and authentication at checkout for all items under £500 and receive their purchases directly from sellers. To further give back to our community at this time, many of whom rely on resale as a form of income, VC will offer free shipping on all Direct Shipping items. This will also allow sellers to increase their sell-through rate and get paid faster. The service decreases average shipping costs for buyers by up to £20, reduces delivery time by nearly 40 percent, and cuts down on shipping-related carbon emissions," Fanny told POPSUGAR.
Traid's "charity shops and free home collection service are temporarily paused to protect both staff and customers, but our national network of clothes recycling banks are open, and being collected from. It's a great way to safely pass on your donations," the company told POPSUGAR.
Although the latest NHS advice does not make any recommendation to change how you clean your clothes to prevent transmission of COVID-19, By Rotation suggests a few small precautions that can be taken to ensure the safety of its community. "When renting, we advise both parties to wash non-dry-clean items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely before rental. If the item needs to be dry cleaned, we ask that the item is returned in a bag that is either sealed or taped closed. This package can then be dry cleaned if and when it is safe to do so."
Salvation Army is not doing donation pickups but is accepting basic necessities that can be given to someone in need. If you find yourself with extra nonperishable food, baby supplies, or cleaning and sanitising products, donations can be dropped off at Salvation Army service centres. The organisation is also accepting monetary donations if you can spare anything at this time.
Product Credit: white Phillip Lim boots, red Maryam Nassir Zadeh sandals, Reike Nen sandals