Tuesday 19 March 2019

'We got a Gucci bag and sold it for €50’ - Irish charity shops seeing donation boom thanks to Marie Kondo-effect

Evans in the Irish Cancer Society Shop on Capel Street, Dublin. PHOTO: TONY GAVIN
Evans in the Irish Cancer Society Shop on Capel Street, Dublin. PHOTO: TONY GAVIN
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

The Marie Kondo effect is "sparking joy" in charity shops, which are reporting a boom in high quality donations from people who have decluttered their homes.

The Netflix series 'Tidying Up With Marie Kondo' has Irish people transfixed and spurred into a clear-out.

The Japanese woman teaches a particular form of tidying and decluttering to "spark joy" in households.

Now Irish charity shops are recording a rise in donations of high quality clothes, watches, jewellery and books.

Michelle Evans, manager of the Irish Cancer Society shop on Capel Street in Dublin, said the store recently received a Gucci bag, which quickly sold for €50, thanks to a Kondo-style clear-out.

She explained: "We're seeing less Penneys, more [high quality] clothes. A lot of the time, we get clothes that are completely worn and we can't use them. Now we get all the good stuff, we get all the big names like Marks and Spencer."

She added: "People are talking about Marie Kondo when they come in. One lady cleared the whole house. She started in the bedrooms and worked the whole way down and was bringing it all in every few weeks.

"She's been telling me stories behind each item, and that's what Marie Kondo is all about. You have to hold the item in your hand and if it doesn't spark joy, you say 'thank you' and you give it away. But these things will have meant something to them."

Donations are also typically neatly presented or in boxes, Ms Evans said. Pre-loved watches, jewellery, books, and dresses for wedding guests are among the donated items.

"Even books, they come in all stacked properly in boxes," Ms Evans added. "People usually keep dresses in their wardrobes for weddings that they might be invited to but they're now giving them to us."

The Irish Charity Shops Association (ICSA), which has 460 shops as members, will encourage them to put up signs calling for items from Marie Kondo-influenced declutters. And it said that the number of donations was at the highest level since 2010.

"Last month generally was a better month [for donations] than January of last year," said Paul Hughes of the ICSA's steering group.

"We have certainly seen donations as a result of Marie Kondo's show. They're folded in the way that she folds things.

"I believe in Australia there are charity shops telling people to stop bringing in stuff, but I can't see that ever happening here.

"After 2010, we saw a big change. Up until then, charity shops regularly got donations of new clothes. That ceased almost completely in 2010.

"The quality [now] is better. There has been an issue for charity shops where we've seen a huge increase in clothes from low-cost retailers and they tend to be not sellable.

That has increased in the last four, five years. But now there are better quality garments coming in to us. People are giving away clothes that are not necessarily at the end of their lives, but that they don't wear often enough."

Irish Independent

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