In the home

Love your home for less

Due to the current situation, many reuse and repair outlets are closed or offering a reduced service. Follow Smart Living on social media for updates on charities re-opening or call your chosen charity ahead (details available via our reuse locator) to arrange a suitable time to deliver your donations.

Ready to Donate

If you have been storing clothes, books, bric-a-brac or furniture that you no longer want, many local and national charities are beginning to accept your donations in line with recent Government guidance. These charities will be relying on donations to help restart services and support their charitable aims so your donations are really important to enable them to support those in need and raise much needed funds for good causes. As well as donating items, you can help charities get up and running again by buying donated items from them.

Information on the reopening of a selection of local and national charities are listed below, however there may be other local options available:

All reuse charities will have put in place new procedures to ensure that their customers, staff and volunteers can remain safe. Please ensure that you check their websites/social media or call them before you visit or if you want to donate or buy something.

For more information about the reopening of charities, see the latest information from the Reuse Network and the Charity Retail Association.

Other options for Reuse

A number of online platforms are operating that support the donation and selling of reusable items whilst complying with government guidance on social distancing.

  • Freegle is open for donating and advertising for essential items within local areas. Please check Freegle's website for more details. It also provides an online forum for people to connect and get support.
  • eBay is operating as normal, but advising customers to follow social distancing measures in place at post offices and parcel points, and to make use of door-to-door delivery services where possible.
  • Gumtree is operating as normal, and have partnered with Parcel2Go for door-to-door service for deliveries, offering advice on safe deliveries and purchases.
  • Preloved has restricted what can be bought and sold to smaller items that can be delivered. Preloved ask members to abide by the existing government guidelines in relation to COVID-19 and social distancing.
  • Thrift + offer a doorstep collection service to sell your good quality second hand clothes and donate to charity at the same time.

When using one of these platforms, follow the COVID-19 guidance on their websites.

Local arrangements

For local arrangements, you could offer items to your local community through sites such as Next Door or a local Facebook Marketplace group. Please ensure this is done in line with Government guidance and NHS guidance on social distancing and preventing the spread of COVID-19.

If you want something different to the common furniture items available on the high street, buying second-hand can be a great way to furnish your home with unusual items at reasonable prices.

Love your home for less
Find furniture and appliances

Charity shops are a good place to start if you want to buy second-hand goods for the home at affordable prices. What’s more by spending your money there it is being put to good use to help others!

You can also search the internet for reuse organisations selling second-hand furniture and appliances, or websites like Freegle where people offer unwanted items for free.

If you only need a household appliance occasionally or for a one-off activity, why not consider borrowing or hiring items instead? Ask friends or neighbours or use a tool library or similar if active in your area.

Did you know most of our Household Waste Recycling Centres also have sections where you can buy second-hand furniture? It’s worth having a look next time you go to one just in case there’s some hidden treasure there which you can make use of.

If you've found a great item, share it with us via email or twitter and it could be our 'find of the week'.

Sell your unwanted stuff

De-clutter your home and make a bit of cash!

Get creative with upcycling

Re-using and upcycling, to breathe new life into old objects for the home has never been so easy. 

Upcycle old or outdated furniture into something new and unique with our four step guide to upcycling.

  • To achieve an 'antiqued' or shabby chic look, use a chalk-based paint and wax. Chalk-based paints can be applied directly to varnished wood without any sanding or preparation required
  • To achieve a 'distressed' look sand over random areas. Then apply wax to seal the paint. Solid woods such as oak and pine work well as the grain will show through after sanding
  • Chalk-based paints can be mixed to create new shades. An average tin costs around £20 and will cover a couple of large items, or a table and chairs
  • Alternatively, you may want more of an egg shell finish or have a piece of furniture made of MDF or similar, in which case use a special wood paint and sand and prime the wood first

The advantage of upcycling in this way is that you transform something old and unloved into a unique piece of furniture exactly to your taste. Often the furniture will be of a much higher quality than buying something new for a similar price, so it will last longer and if you want to refresh your colour scheme you can even choose to repaint it in the future.

Donate your unwanted stuff

Give your unwanted stuff a second life by offering it to others through sites such as Freegle.

Alternatively, donate unwanted furniture or appliances to a local charity shop, vintage shop or charity bring bank.

Search our directory of reuse sites and shops

Hampshire Furniture Reuse Network

Hampshire Furniture Reuse Network was set up to help local people in crisis obtain affordable (possibly free) furniture, white goods and electrical items.

Take a look at our ‘Pass It On’ video to find out more about furniture reuse in Hampshire. This video requires a password - please enter HCCReuse100 in the password box.


It often seems easier to replace broken or damaged household goods than repairing them. However, there are a growing number of local repair services which may help extend the life of your items and save paying for something new.

Visit a Repair Café 

If you have a broken electrical item, bike or piece of furniture why not visit a local Repair Café?  

Repair Cafés are community events where expert volunteers repair household items for a small donation.  They also offer tea, coffee and sometimes cake! As well as having your item repaired, you can also sit with the repairer and learn how to make the repair yourself next time.   

Details of Repair Cafés in Hampshire are listed below. But there are more Repair Cafés coming to Hampshire soon. Please contact us if you know of any others or are planning to start up your own event.  

 Repair Cafe

Time and Location


Alton Repair Café 

Saturday 8 February 10am - 1pm

Alton Community Centre, Amery St, Alton, GU34 1HN


Andover Repair Café

Third Saturday of every month 10am – noon

Andover Mind Centre, Westbrook Close, South Street, Andover, SP10 2BN


Bordon Repair Café 

Fourth Saturday of every month 10am to noon

The Furniture Helpline, Hampshire Road, Bordon, GU35 0HJ 


Gosport Repair café

Second Saturday of every month (except August) 10:30am - 1pm

Make Gosport, Unit 5, Quay Lane, Hardway, Gosport, PO12 4LJ

Lymington Repair Café 

Saturday 15 February 9:30am - 12:30pm

Lymington community centre, New Street, SO41 9BQ


Portsmouth Repair Café 

Third Saturday of every month (except August) 10:30am – 1pm

Buckland United Reformed Church. 174 Kingston Rd, Portsmouth PO2 7LP 


Southampton Repair Café

Freemantle United Reform Church, 257 Shirley Rd SO15 3HS

First Saturday of each month (except January) 10:30am – 1pm

St Denys Community Centre, Priory Rd SO17 2JZ 

Third Saturday every other month (e.g. November, January etc) 10:30am – 1pm


Totton Repair Café 

Saturday 22 February 10:30am - 1pm

Totton & Eling Community Centre, Testwood Lane, Southampton, SO40 3AP

Velmore repair café

Last Saturday of every month (except December), 10am - 1pm

02380 261139

Velmore Community Centre, Falkland Road, Chandlers Ford, SO53 3GY             

Bike repair and reuse

These projects may be able to repair your bike, let you rent one or purchase a second-hand bike or receive donations of bikes that you no longer wish to use

Make repairs yourself

If you are handy with a set of tools or just fancy having a go at home, iFixit is a useful resource. You can find free repair guides for a wide range of household devices. 

For other items, search online, attend a class or visit your local library for guidance on valuable skills from sewing to basic DIY. See our Reuse and Repair toolkit below for advice on repairing/upcycling furniture or textiles.

Share your tips for repairing clothes, furniture and other household items with us on Twitter


Sustainable Fashion

See our Sustainable Fashion pages for guidance on making the most of your wardrobe, including tips for caring and repairing clothes.

Making it Work: A reuse and repair toolkit

Hampshire County Council, in partnership with a number of public and voluntary sector organisations in Hampshire, has developed a reuse and repair toolkit.

Download the reuse and repair toolkit

It provides practical advice and inspirational ideas for reuse organisations that are looking to reduce their costs and make more of the items they receive. It’s also a great resource for anyone interesting in repairing or upcycling their own furniture or textiles.

The toolkit brings together useful information to help those reuse organisations looking to expand on current direct reuse operations and introduce cost effective repair activities. Items covered include:

  • help in making the business case for investing in new reuse and repair activities
  • a checklist of regulations and other important information organisations need to be aware of when looking to undertake reuse and repair of certain materials
  • useful advice on how to overcome common barriers to reuse and repair
  • ideas on creating new products from waste materials
  • marketing your reuse and repair services to the local community
  • selling your reused and repaired products on the open market
  • ideas for partnering with other organisations to help expand your reuse and repair activities
  • sources of publicly available information around creating new products, funding streams and advice on attracting and working with volunteers

The focus of the toolkit is on reuse, repair and upcycling activities relating to furniture, electrical and electronic equipment and textiles (including clothing and soft furnishings), although some of information and techniques provided can be applied to other products and material types.

This toolkit is the result of learning and experience gained by project partners through developing and delivering a project to increase reuse capacity and capabilities in Hampshire funded by the Innovation in Waste Prevention fund. The project ran from November 2014 to December 2015 and involved five charitable reuse organisations in Hampshire.