Spring and summer are a time to declutter and organize the home. One way to eliminate unnecessary items in your home that have been accumulated over the years, and are rarely used, is to donate them. Donating unused items will help declutter your home as your give clothing and household items to those in need.
When you donate goods to a charity, you can often get a tax donation receipt which can often be used as a tax deduction at the end of the year. In some cases if you have large items, your local charity and thrift shop will come and pick them up.
Donating used items is a great option as long as you do a little homework to find out which local organizations and donation centers are most appropriate for the items you’d like to give away. You may want to begin with your local Goodwill, which is nationwide, or your local Salvation Army. There are also local veterans charities to help our veterans.
Use the following tips as a guideline for determining what goes where and how to get it there:
- Many items are eligible for donation. You might be surprised to learn exactly what items you can donate. In addition to clothing and furniture, cars, cell phones and other electronics, fitness equipment, home appliances—even art supplies and old towels—are widely accepted by specialized organizations. If you’re looking to donate a unique item, or several of the same items in bulk, do some further research about local organizations and donation centers in need of specific things.
- Consider what shape your items are in to determine where you donate. If you’re planning to donate a broken refrigerator, make sure the organization is aware the item is in need of repair. Some donation centers accept broken items for parts; however, most organizations and donation centers prefer to accept gently used items in working condition. Be sure to communicate the item’s condition prior to arranging a donation.
- After choosing where to donate, decide how you’ll get the items to the organization. Oftentimes large organizations and donation centers are able to arrange a day and time to pick up your unwanted items directly from your home or business. Smaller organizations in need might instead have certain days and times available for you to arrange a drop off at a specified location.
- Make sure to get a donation receipt for tax purposes. Before donating, make a detailed list of the items you’ll be giving away along with the estimated values. Keep in mind that, since the items are used, price points might be lower than expected. When your items are picked up or dropped off, request a receipt from the organization or donation center to keep track of what to count as a tax deduction. Speaking with a tax professional for advice also is a good idea.