Northland's charity op shops have been swamped with "a tsunami of clothing", prompting calls for donations of quality items only.
Op shops from Kaitāia to Whangārei have reported a spike in second-hand clothing donations over the last year, due in part to the Covid-19 level 4 lockdown which saw many residents clear out their wardrobes.
Habitat for Humanity's ReStore Tai Tokerau operations manager Carina Dickson said there has "definitely" been an increase, but it's one they have happily absorbed.
However, she urges people to think twice about donating really old and unclean garments which they can't possibly resell.
It costs the charity hundreds of dollars a month to hire skip bins for clothes that have to be thrown away, she said.
"Our biggest issue is not the volume of clothing but that clothing donated to us is not in a state to sell, it's old, stained, and ripped.
"We can't clean it, we don't have the facilities to wash and mend them in that volume.
"We don't want to throw stuff out because that costs us but when it's damaged, we can't do anything else with that."
Dickson said clothing at the Whangārei store is always cheap "but cheap clothing doesn't mean unclean or damaged".
"We know there's a need for cheap clothing in our community and we keep our prices really low.
"We still want people to keep donating but we want it to be clean and good quality.
"We have a saying, 'would you give it to your neighbour and if you wouldn't don't give it to us'."
Fast fashion, where new clothes can be bought at super low prices from big retail chains, is another reason why more garments are being passed onto op shops and charities.
Of all the textiles manufactured each year 75 per cent are sent to landfill by consumers in New Zealand.
Salvation Army Family Store manager at Kerikeri and Kaitāia, Stephen Major, said there was a surge in donated clothing last year but volunteers "knuckled down and coped".
"It really was a tsunami of clothes after lockdown last year but that's settled down now."
Major accepts there will always be some items that are too worn or damaged to resell.
He said our throwaway society adds to the problem.
"That's part of why places like us exist because clothes are so cheap and people can afford to change their minds and style.
"It's a trend and it's not just with clothes it's with everything.
"People change their furniture more regularly than they did 30-40 years ago."
SPCA Northern region op shop area manager Peter Wherry said there has been a "massive influx" of clothing and other items at the 12 stores he manages from Hamilton to Kaitāia.
"Since Covid people have cleaned out garages, houses, cupboards and we've been getting a lot more donations than previously, which is great.
"It's not just clothing, but everything from furniture, electronic goods, bedding... across the range.
"Immediately after lockdown it almost doubled, and at the moment we're back to a steady level."
Wherry said the SPCA is always willing to accept quality donations.
Though some items are not suitable, he doesn't want to put people off giving because people feel good about donating to a worthy cause.
"It does cost, but we're fortunate to have a good volunteer network to sort through the clothing.
"We've got to take the good with the bad sometimes and understand wastage is part of the business."
Another op shop volunteer said it comes in "seasonal waves".
"Generally now we get an influx because people are having a clear-out.
"They're usually clearing out summer stuff, making way for winter."