Where to donate the contents of a home when someone dies.

At the beginning of the year, my father-in-law passed away and my partner was tasked with the emotional job of sorting and clearing the house.

This is an emotional ordeal for anyone to go through, the contents of the home are not just contents!  It is memories, it is reminders, it is home!  We are still working through this but I hope, that writing this post, it will help others who are struggling and give you some ideas on how to make those personal possessions, medical equipment and home contents live on or be donated rather than calling in a house clearance company.

Old Clock leaving behind memories

What to do with medical supplies

We had a large supply of catheter bags and accessories (approve 5 large boxes worth).  I contacted Nightingale, who is responsible for the deliveries, to see if they would take back the unused, still-sealed supplies.  They told me they would only take back the supplies if they had been delivered within the month!!  This seems ridiculous to me, for the first month of a loved one's passing you are not going to be thinking about returning medical products!

Nightingale told us to dispose of all the boxes in the general waste if they had been delivered longer than a month ago.

With a Google search, I found Hospice of Hope, and after an email exchange with Liana, Hospice of Hope took all the catheter bags and accessories, but couldn't take the bandages and dressings.  They also don't collect so I packaged the boxes up and sent them off to Kent.  I used Parcels2Go to select a courier that picks up from my address, the boxes cost me around £20 for 3 parcels.  

The remaining products were dressings related, gloves and saline, fortunately, my local wildlife animal sanctuary was able to take these products, so we dropped them off at WADARS donation box.

What to do with smaller items and memorabilia

The Memory Box Project was recommended to me when I approached Milestones Museum, which is based in Hampshire.  The Memory Box Project is a magnificent charity that aims to engage, support and share memories with people living with dementia in Hampshire and Dorset. 

The Memory Box Project collect small portable objects, photos and documents that fit within one of their 22 themes.  

It is always worth contacting The Memory Box Foundation for a current list and it would be a good idea to take photos of what you have to offer and send them off in the email.

Samples of what goes in a Memory Box

What to do with everyday household items

We have taken a large number of kitchen items, utensils, china cups, TV and DVD player to our local Guild Care Warehouse.  This is a local charity superstore in Worthing.  This one is run by Guild Care, but a quick Google search for "Charity Superstores" has come up with locations across the UK for other charities too, such as the Salvation Army and Cancer Research.  

Items that charity warehouses can't take can be listed on sites such as Olio and Facebook, it is also worth contacting your local homeless shelters,  as some also source items for recently homeless folk who have now been homed.  Reaching out to these organisations is usually via email or their Facebook page.

Homeless organisations will also take shoes, belts, and smaller items which are easier to store.

Where to donate Towels and Blankets

This may take some ringing around as while some wildlife and animal rescue centres need blankets and towels, they may not have the space to take them.  Those who do have space may not have the means to collect, so please be prepared to deliver these products.  

The above are just some of the options that I've come across this year, I will continue to update this post as and when I find more information on where to donate rather than see the contents of a home be thrown in the tip or at least help the memories live on before house clearance take the lot. 


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