15 Goodwill Workers Reveal the One Item They Wish People Would Stop Donating

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You know that feeling of accomplishment that you get when you finally sort through your belongings and take your old crap to Goodwill? Well, you might have to rethink that. Not every used item is a good candidate for Goodwill (or any other thrift store), and nobody knows that better than the employees who have to sort through all your old stuff.

A Reddit user asked Goodwill store workers for the one item they wish people would stop donating. Some employees had trouble choosing just one!

1. Broken, dirty, or chewed-up items.

“So so many things. I have to say these shops are not somewhere you should dump your trash. No one wants broken toys and chewed books. We are not ungrateful but it costs us to dispose of these things. I do not want to handle your dirty torn underpants.

I almost had a serious injury when one donor wrapped up blades from a blender in a towel and dumped them in a bag full of clothes. Please don’t do that.”

2. VHS tapes.

“I remember about ten years ago reading that charity shops were stopping accepting VHS tapes because there was such a glut of them.

One person complained that they’d enjoyed getting five VHS tapes for £1… which was pretty much missing the point. VHSs are large and bulky, take up storage space and the staff still have to process them- all for 20p each. Nice for him, not so good for the workers and charity that’s supposed to be benefiting, and probably why they stopped accepting them.

Not to mention that half those tapes probably would have gone unsold and cost money to dispose of.

‘Course, nowadays most of those worthless, mass-market VHS tapes are probably landfill, and it’s 10-to-15-year-old DVDs that my local branch of CEX is selling for 50p each…”

3. Mismatched items.

“Shoes with no fellow, items that don’t work right, clothes that are badly stained.”

4. Sentimental items.

“Folks, go through your stuff before you donate – I once found a memorial album someone had made for a woman who had died, and another time I found an old friendship book full of names and addresses. Really made me wonder what the people who worked in the charity shop were thinking.”

“Someone accidentally donated an urn, complete with cremated ashes.”

“Personalized items. I’m talking about wedding things, shirts, and anything with names on them. I found a memorial shirt one time and I was wondering why someone would donate something like that.”

5. Literal garbage.

“I haven’t worked there in over a decade, but: garbage. People would dump bags and bags of garbage in front of the store overnight, and I mean shit that no reasonable person would ever consider to be anything but garbage.

Busted up concrete. Rusty metal. Basically shit they didn’t want to pay to have hauled away, and couldn’t be fucked to take all the way to the dump.”

6. 50 Shades of Grey.

“I remember a while ago I saw a side news story covering how a bunch of charity places were asking people to stop donating book copies of Fifty Shades of Grey. I seem to recall one store had enough copies they made a book fort out of them.”

7. Old-school TV stands.

“Cleaning out my senior parents’ place we tried to donate a very expensive built in tv stand made of oak. Turns out flat screens don’t fit in them and they never get sold.”

8. Outdated electronics.

“Generally if your electronic device is older than 10ish years the store is probably not going to be able to sell it, 5ish for TVs. The exception is very well-kept and well packaged game consoles.”

9. Personal hygiene items.

“Don’t donate used (honestly don’t donate new) makeup, mouthwash, cleaners, or pretty much anything liquid.”

10. Vintage magazines.

“Do not donate your stack of old Readers Digest magazines from 1994-1998 that was in your bathroom collecting poo particles for years.”

11. Unwashed clothes.

“You know the stank that most Goodwill stores have? They don’t wash donations before putting them out. They just go straight on the racks.”

12. Light bulbs.

“Compact fluorescent light bulbs: please stop. How nice you switched to LED, but nobody buys used CFLs, and since they are classified as hazardous waste due to mercury, we are back to your ‘donation’ actually costs the charity money since we have to properly dispose of them.”

13. Clothes with stuff in the pockets.

“Be sure to check the pockets in your clothes before donating. Around this time of year we find a metric crapton of used tissues and cough drops hidden inside pockets. Our employees get sick pretty frequently from handling so much product, please don’t make it harder on us.”

14. Used undergarments.

“You would be really surprised by the number of people who think it’s okay to donate used underwear. I honestly didn’t realize that people would even consider doing that, but apparently they do.”

“It happens pretty frequently. Another big thing is women who donate pants they’ve worn without wearing underwear to protect the clothing from vaginal fluids. People don’t realize that’s a thing most of the time.”

15. Bootleg DVDs.

“I used to work for the Salvos, and early on in my tenure there, we would get loads of these bootleg DVD’s people would pick up in Bali. Those always ended up in the bin because the packaging was just a flimsy plastic envelope and the label printing quality was awful.”