With various items sorted into three carrier bags, I headed to my nearest charity shop hoping they could take in some donations. But how wrong could I be? 

The bags, two normal-sized carrier bags and one larger bag for life, were packed with children's clothes, toys, books, bric-a-brac, some of my clothes and a few things pinched from my other half's wardrobe.  

After some experience at charity shops over the years, mainly volunteering at one while attempting a Duke of Edinburgh award which I never completed, and then hanging around the various charity shops that my mum has volunteered at on and off my whole life (she's currently at Age UK), I do have some idea of what they can and can't take. 

Anything slightly ropey, stained, stretched etc, then I recycle as rags or use as cleaning cloths at home (holey socks are excellent for cleaning windows). Dog-eared books or any with torn pages are either left at the free book point, or chucked out. Same for all the other items in the bags. 

Basically, anything that I would not buy, does not go into the charity shop bags. So, with the weather not looking likely for a fair-weather car boot sale clearance anytime soon, and space becoming an issue at home, three carrier bags of bits were flung into my car boot. 

Resisting the urge to drive around for weeks with them in my boot (this has happened), I drove into Bishop's Waltham, an ideal place to run a few errands, and also get rid of these bags. 

However, on entering the first charity shop, the woman looked horrified as I stumbled in with three bags in hand. I instantly realised my mistake. One is ok, two is pushing it, but three? Well, that was instant dismissal.  

Not only had I disturbed her from a quiet morning, there was no one in the shop, I was having the audacity that she might like to handle three bags of donations. 

Smiling, I asked if she was taking donations. "No" came the rather stern reply. 

Thrown off guard, I awkwardly muttered something along the lines of "OK, thanks, I will just take all this home again then." 

To which she looked distastefully at what was in my hand and pointed to the smallest bag. "What's in that one?" she asked. 

"Mainly ladies' clothes," I replied. To which she said, "I might be able to take that ONE but no more." 

I left it with her, thanking her for her time, but not stopping to look at anything in the shop, let alone buy anything. 

I walked to the next charity shop, and they too said they could not take the bags as they did not take children's items. The two remaining bags were mainly kids' clothes, toys and books. They were very apologetic and nice, but said it did not fit in with the type of charity shop they run. Who knew there were classes of charity shops? It turns out families, especially young children, are not welcome in this one, no need for that type of thing in Bishop's Waltham. 

Again, I stumbled out, two bags in hand and contemplated driving to the household waste recycling centre up the road with them and throwing them hard into the landfill skip in a rage, but then realised I would need to book an appointment. Also my green consciousness pricked. What would Greta Thunberg think? Throwing perfectly good things into landfill? Shoot, could the bags could live in my car boot forever?

Undeterred, I drove to Wickham. I walked into Revitalise and, expecting another battle, I asked if they could take two bags of donations, while mentally preparing to also try the shop over the road, or the many shops in Fareham's West Street. 

The reception I got here was 100 miles away from Bishop's Waltham. The woman was friendly, smiley, chatty, just very nice. "Of course I can," came the reply, "thank you very much." 

I popped the bags down, filled in my GiftAid details, and stayed to look at the other bits for a while, before buying a few DVDs. I left here feeling good. These unwanted things may find a new home, while also making the charity a few pounds. 

Donating to charity should not be a battle. I understand that some shops do not want to take certain items and that charity shop fly-tipping is an issue (where people take in things that really should belong in the tip) but how the volunteers handle the customer is a vital way of ensuring people stay engaged with the charity - and more importantly - stay donating, whether that be by dropping in unwanted goods, buying items or giving cash. 

That said, I suppose my main learning from this frustrating day, and one that I will happily pass on, is to NEVER take more than one bag to the charity shop at any one time.