Even if you’ve just completed your relocation to London you’ll be amazed at how ‘stuff’ accumulates. With the change of the seasons it is time to go through your cupboards (closets) and instead of throwing things out, you can make a difference by taking them down to your local charity shop.

Charity shops work in pretty much that same way in the UK that they do in the states. It’s a shop where you can donate used clothing and goods which are then resold to the public with the proceeds being used to benefit a charity.

What is a little different is the way the tax incentive works. In the states you get a tax credit for your personal donation to charity. In The UK, the charity can apply for the tax credit when you donate.

There is one massive problem with charity shops in the UK. I’ve been known to take three grocery bags full of items to donate and then return home with four bulging bags of designer goodies that I’ve picked up for a bargain. It doesn’t do much for my seasonal spring clean.

If you have just settled into your new home after your relocation to London you should have a look at the charity shops in your area. It’s one of the more eclectic and interesting ways of finding artistic furnishings and ‘objets’ for your new home. Charity shops in the UK are run more like upper class boutiques, and if you do your charity shopping in some of the more well-to-do areas, you’re more than likely to pick up a vintage Dior gown than a second hand toaster!

Oxfam is the biggest charity shop in the UK, it is much like Goodwill in the USA, but the shops are smaller and found in every suburb and town in the UK

You can sign up for Gift Aid through Oxfam, which is the tax credit scheme, when you drop off your items at the charity shop. Your donation will be carefully recorded and you’ll receive a letter stating what your goods sold for, how much money was raised and where the money is going.

The English have a great attitude towards giving and charity. If you want to find a charity close to you where you can really make a difference, contact your council and see where you can volunteer. It’s not just a fantastic way to make friends after your relocation to London; it will help you become more involved in your community.

Just as soon as your London relocation agents have got you settled in, you can consider yourself a real Londoner. You’re not just a foreigner or an expat or someone from over-the-pond. “Consider yourself, one of us!”

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