It was always a big adventure to go to the local tip when we were growing up. Maybe my parents were just really good at dressing up this mundane activity as an exciting afternoon out, but loading up the car and throwing things in a really big bin is pretty exhilarating when you’re eight.
Fast forward twenty years though and a trip to the dump seems somewhat less thrilling. Living in a high-rise building and driving a two seater car doesn’t help of course, but even if I had a Volvo and a bungalow I don’t think I’d want to spend my Saturday breaking up old chairs and throwing them into a skip.
So when it came to clearing out various bits of unwanted furniture ahead of our flat renovations a few weeks ago, I didn’t really know what to do. The stuff was in good condition, albeit not to our current tastes, and it was far from ready for the bin. But would I just list everything on eBay and expect people to come in dribs and drabs to collect it? I wasn’t going to lug a bedside table to the post office. I considered Freecycle, but a quick consultation with the Twitter hive mind confirmed my fears that Freecycle was often a pain in the arse to use.
Luckily though, Karan Chadda tweeted me (thanks Karan!) saying that the British Heart Foundation had a free collection service which he’d recently used with success. A collection service! For one of my all time favourite charities! I’d hit the house clearance jackpot.
I filled in their online form with an outline of what I wanted collected and when I would like them to come and a day or so later I was contacted to confirm a mutually convenient time slot. On the day itself, they phoned when they were half an hour away (I know a few courier companies who could learn a thing or two from these guys) and then two nice men arrived (“nice men”, I am definitely morphing into my mother) to check everything over and take it all away.
IT WAS THAT EASY.
There was a chest of drawers that they didn’t take because they were a bit battered, but I suspected that would be the case as the website does stress that donated goods need to be in good, clean working condition.
Then last week I received a letter telling me how much they’d raised from selling the goods they took….and it was a whopping £106.25! Not bad at all for zero effort on my part. £10 can pay for all the test-tubes, glassware, pipette tips and gloves a busy team of researchers will use in a day, so £100 can go a long way.
I’ve loved doing more ‘active’ fundraising for The British Heart Foundation in the past and there’s nothing like pulling off a brilliant event (who remembers the Humble Sale eh?) and raising cash for charity through hard work, but this kind of service is pure genius. It helped me and it helped the life-saving work of the BHF. A win-win all round. And it didn’t just help me make space for new furniture, it actually saved me money as if I’d donated the goods to The London Re-Use Network I’d have had to pay for the pleasure.
Basically, this is a BRILLIANT service and I highly recommend you check it out next time you’re having a clear-out. They can take clothes whilst they’re there too, which is great if you can’t easily access a local shop to donate in person.
One lamp and one sofa could fund one of the British Heart Foundation’s pioneering researchers for a whole day. One dress and one lamp could fund a home visit from one of the many BHF Heart Nurses.
Next time we have unwanted furniture I know I’ll be donating it to the BHF rather than faffing about with eBay or car boot sales. Do check it out if you’re moving/renovating/spring cleaning!
There’s more info on the service here.