I'm a bit of a charity shop addict and have been for years now. I've had some tremendous bargains over the years, and can't resist popping in to see what treasures may be there to tempt me.
Over the past few years charity shops seem to have become quite trendy, with some of them having makeovers - wooden floors, good lighting and designer sections. I also donate to charity shops. Anything that can be re-used and donated is popped into the black bin bag that sits on my landing and when it's full I take it into town and usually donate to the Age UK shop in Gainsborough.
I work for a charity too and it's my job to help new community groups to develop; I offer funding advice, write constitutions and train volunteers - so all in all, it's sort of a way of life for me.
I've noticed over the last year or so an increase in charity clothing collection bags being pushed through my letter box and have received 6 over the last fortnight alone. I'm very suspicious of these bags, none of the names are familiar to me and I know that there has been parliamentary debate regarding bogus charity collections.
It seems that some bogus collections are imitating well-known charities with their logo and their bags yet have no actual links with the charity that they seem to represent.
It's estimated that these bogus collectors are costing the sector around £2.5m per year, although this is a very conservative estimate, it's probably much more.
So my advice to anyone is, if you want to donate your unwanted items to charity, then take them along, in person to your local shop. Some shops will collect from your home if you have large items or alot - give your local shop a ring - they are always grateful for any donations.