Where to Donate Clothes in Sofia, Bulgaria

donate clothes in Sofia

Decision to Donate Clothes in Sofia
When writing this post, it is in the middle of November, and the weather starts to get a bit more chilly. Yesterday we decided to give away warmer sweaters to a second-hand shop. We considered a charity shop or to give to the homeless person on the streets, but settled for the charity shop. The choice won because we know that someone could choose the clothes by themselves and would like them.

Which Area We Went To
There is a street with several second-hand stores on Alabin Road, near Vitosha Boulevard, and close to Palace of Justice. Since it was so convenient with a couple of stores in the same place, we thought this would be a great place to go.

Second-Hand Stores Don’t Accept Donated Clothes
In Sweden, it’s common to give away clothes to the store, washed and folded, so we assumed it worked the same way here. It turns out it doesn’t, and that’s why we decided to write this post to help others who plan to donate clothes in Sofia.
We went to the street with some warm sweaters to give away and started to enter the stores.

“Is this a second-hand shop?” I asked.

“Yes.” said the shop owner.

“Could we donate some warm clothes here?”, I kindly replied

“No, it’s a second-hand shop!”, the owner responded a bit irritated

“I understand, we want to give you some nice clothes to sell” we tried again.

“No, we only sell second-hand clothes” the owner responded.

The dialogue went on like this, and we couldn’t reach through.
We had similar experiences in several of the stores. We continued to ask if they knew where to donate clothes. Most of them said no, they didn’t know and seemed to not bother about the issue either. In Humana, a worldwide charity shop, they didn’t know what to do, but then gave us an email address to contact someone else and they might know.

Advise to Try and Give to a Homeless Shelter
Some stores later and we got help with translation from one young girl and her mom. They told us that people don’t donate clothes in Sofia and that we could try a homeless shelter instead. It felt a bit weird to have to fight so much to giveaway nice and warm clothes that help keep someone else. Sure, we could go to a homeless shelter also, but we wanted to give away the clothes the same day and without spending half a day or more.

Finally, we found one store that wanted the clothes and was happy to accept them although we had to explain several times what we meant before they understood. So, this approach can work, but it it’s a long process to find the right store.

Where Do the Clothes Come From?
We kept wondering; the stores have lots of clothes, where did they all come from?
Which countries donates most clothes to Bulgaria?

After some research online, I found out that most clothes come from Italy, Germany, Austria, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. Humana, for example, has a sorting center in Slantchevo, 20 km outside of Varna. Some of the clothes they receive are then sold and shipped to countries in Africa.

Proceeder on Donated Clothes from Bulgaria
Red Cross placed several containers for second-hand clothes in Sofia during spring 2016. The garments are first disinfected then sorted and at last enter the stores or go to textile recycling. This procedure might be the answer why they no one is accepting donations.
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Conclusion, Where to Donate
The best option would be the Red Cross containers, but the problem is, where to find them? I searched a lot online and even emailed them twice for a list of addresses but sadly got no response. If you want to donate clothes in Sofia, the best option would probably be to find someone to give them too or to try how it would work in a homeless shelter. Hopefully, the Red Cross in Sofia will update a list of addresses for their containers soon, so it will be a smoother process to give away clothes.

Photo Cred: Birgitte Tohm

This Is Why We Love Village Hopping

Village hopping near mountain northen India

What Is Village Hopping?

Village hopping is an excellent way to discover small villages and get more insight into local life. You might wonder, what exactly is village hopping? And what are the benefits of trying it out?

Village hopping means to discover villages for a shorter period, from a few hours to a few days. Sometimes it includes visiting several places during one day. It is a way to get a glimpse of local life but also a way to get some adventure.

Being Spontaneous While Doing Village Hopping

True adventure while traveling includes being flexible, spontaneous and let curiosity guide you. When doing so, you will meet interesting people, see new places and create memorable days. Village hopping offers it all, with the unique charm, closeness to nature, and local life. It doesn’t have to be a small village, suburbs or the outskirt of a city can also have a smalltown vibe.

These places can often be found in the more remote end stations on metro lines or buses. It is a refreshing feeling to step out of the bus and having a fixed plan on where to go. A fun and exciting way to explore a new area is to follow your gut feeling or go after visual clues. Some example of visual clues can be a mountain, a walking path or a house that looks interesting. If you spot something you are curious about, let that be your direction. During your way look at things you find interesting, notice small details. In most cases this approach is safe, but be aware of where you are in and the current situation. Not all countries have the same security and if not village hopping is better to avoid.

Interact With Locals and Learn About the Culture

Smiling is a universal language, most people respond and smile back. Being kind can open up for conversations, making new friends and get closer to the culture.

From earlier travels, village hopping has led us to amazing experiences. Some of them are making new friends, sharing a cup of tea and learn about local plants. This lets us see coffee plants, black pepper trees, and pineapple plants in the backyard of new friends.

We have also joined many different local festivals, for example, the women’s day in Laos, when a few local women invited us to join their celebration. It all happened because we got curious, followed the sound of music and then found their place. We didn’t talk much since we didn’t share a common language, but for sure it was fun to dance and laugh together. Meeting people like this helps to stay humble, feeling connected, and increase tolerance. Our cultures and beliefs can be different, but in the end, we all want to be safe, happy and have a good time.

Get Some Perspective by Slowing Down

Village hopping is not only about connecting with people. Sometimes, it can be about getting a bit of perspective, a place to think or connect with nature. Spending time in green areas and slow down helps to bring harmony into life, making it easier to be in the present moment and enjoy life. I like to find a sit under a tree, strolling around or go to a local café and observe daily life.

 

Village Hopping Is for Everyone

This travel approach is for everyone to apply, no matter your age, travel experience or language skills. There are many adventures waiting ahead or you! By being spontaneous, open and trying something new is a great way to invite adventure into your life.