THE PADLOCKS have been put on donation bins at Tamworth op shops, as volunteers work tirelessly to sort through an oversupply of tossed treasures.
St John's Op Shop is the busiest it's ever been in the 15 or so years Carol Brice has been involved.
"There has been a great increase in donations here, so much so that we had to close our bins, but it's never permanent," she said.
"They've been closed on several occasions temporarily over the past two months until we can catch up."
The little church store is only open three days a week, but volunteers show up everyday from 9am to 2:30pm to work their way through the piles of products and get them on the racks for people to peruse and grab a bargain.
The movement dubbed the 'COVID clean-out' saw a spike in donations to op shops during the shutdown, but Ms Brice isn't convinced that's the only answer.
"At this time I don't think you can categorically say it's the COVID clean-out because people did that months ago," she said.
"The little op shop in Darling St closed in September, and that's another contributing factor to the donations we are getting here, purely by locality."
The St John's Op Shop is on Carthage Street.
"It has been hectic," Ms Brice said.
"The volunteers have been excellent and we have a wonderful team."
Store staff said they're grateful to the Tamworth community for getting behind a great cause and giving up the goods they don't need. But, there was a warning to people who push the boundaries.
"We would appreciate that when the bin is closed people don't leave things outside the bins ... people going past stew them around and it's not helpful to the environment or the community."
It's understood St John's was back accepting donations on Wednesday.
A huge "closed to donations" sign has been covering the clothing bins at Tamworth's Salvation Army store for about a month.
The donation spree spread to the Salvos, with the team calling a time-out to catch up on sorting.
Tamworth's Salvation Army captain Harriet Farquhar said the bins at the Peel Street shop should hopefully be reopened next week.
"The great COVID clean-out left us a little overwhelmed," she told the Leader.
"In order to honour the donations we were receiving we needed to slow the influx down."
She said a "trickle" of new items was still being collected when people ignored the signs and dumped their bags.
"We are very grateful to the Tamworth community for their patience and generosity," Ms Farquhar said.
Tamworth Vinnies and the Red Cross stores were both contacted for comment.
It is understood the two CBD locations are accepting donations at the store during opening hours.