Donating used goods to charity is a great way to clear clutter out of your house while simultaneously helping families in need and boosting the local economy. If there is a cause you feel strongly about, there is probably a thrift store that supports that charity who would love to take your used goods to sell and further the cause. There are organizations that help military families, recovering drug addicts, people with disabilities, and even stray animals. If you do not have a specific organization you want your used goods to go to, you can look for charities that pick up donations for your own convenience.
After you’ve selected a charity to contribute your unwanted goods to, most charities really appreciate if you take the following steps to prepare your donations before dropping them off (or having them picked up if you opt for one of the charities that pick up donations):
- Separate usable items. Your gently used clothing and household items will be put to good use at the organization you choose to give them to. However, if your clothing items are badly stained or damaged, the charity won’t be able to do anything with it. It’s better to sort those items out and recycle them.
- Create an itemization of what you’re donating. Okay, this is for your sake more than the charity you’re donating to. Donations made to organizations that have 501(c)3 tax status from the IRS can be claimed on your taxes. If you are unsure if the organization has tax exempt status, you can search the IRS’ website, or just ask them.
In order to claim the donation, you want to make an itemized list of the items you’re donating, the condition, and a fair used value for them. When you make the donation, the charity you are contributing to will give you a receipt that verifies your donation. Attach the receipt to your list and store in your records for when you file your taxes.
Bonus tip: Charities that pick up donations will be happy to take unneeded furniture or large items that you cannot take in yourself. These items often holder higher donation values.
- Group similar items together. Organizing your donation by putting like items together makes sorting out your goods a lot easier for the volunteers who process it. You don’t have to make life hard on yourself, simply group shoes in one box, books in another, and clothing in another, and so on.
- Package fragile items accordingly. If a fragile item breaks in transit, it canot be sold. Not to mention, the other items it’s packaged with will likely be ruined, and it’s dangerous to workers who have to handle it. Wrap fragile items so that they’re protected and mark any boxes that contain breakable items that they should be handled with care.
- Wash your clothing donations prior to dropping them off. Many charities wash all clothing before selling them for hygiene purposes. However, making sure your clothes are clean before donating them improves the process for the volunteers who sort through clothing before putting it on the wrack. It also prevents other clothing in the same box from being contaminated. Some organizations actually require clothes are laundered before donating.
What is your favorite organization to make donations to? Shout it out in the comment section below!