Don’t Send Coats, Don’t Donate Copies of ‘Fifty Shades’

Fifty Shades of Grey

Earlier this week, Meghan Nesmith and Alexa Swift discussed why you shouldn’t donate your old coats to humanitarian organizations.

Here’s one more item you shouldn’t donate:

The Mirror reports that this South Wales Oxfam charity shop has more copies of the Fifty Shades trilogy than it could ever recirculate:

The shop has become so inundated with “literally hundreds” of the books they have been forced to hand them over to a warehouse where they will either be sold online or recycled.
Oxfam worker Phil Broadhurst said his store has become a “retirement home” for copies of EL James’ book and its sequels.

The trouble with donating stuff instead of money is that the things we donate tend to be the things we don’t want, or “no longer want,” or “are too worn out for our tastes—but aren’t so worn out that we want to throw them away.” Old coats and copies of Fifty Shades both fall into the latter category, and although it’s thoughtful of all of us to want to pass them along, it’s also… well, I think that fort photo speaks for itself.

Meghan and Alexa Swift explained, earlier this week, why cash donations are best:

First, cash donations puts some of the control, power, and dignity back in the hands of the recipient. And as an individual experiencing trauma, you tend to know much better than any NGO what you actually need.
Also, this system lets you decide for yourself how to spend the money, even in choosing the brands you prefer or clothing sizes you wear. In that sense, it also cuts down on waste.

But what should we do with our old stuff, then? At this point we’re fully conditioned to Reduce Reuse Recycle, and the idea of throwing a coat or a book into the trash isn’t going to sit well. We can’t put them in the recycle bin either. I have definitely shoved bags of old clothes into those Goodwill drop-off boxes, and I know that many libraries accept gently used books, but I wonder if our current “abundant and disposable” culture will eventually lead to fort-sized stacks of nearly every popular book or worn-out jacket.

What do you think we should do with the items we no longer want or need?