DIY : Declutter Your Home and Donate The Things You Don’t Need While Saving on Your Taxes

Most people will agree that clutter is bad. It takes up valuable space in your home, is difficult to clean around, and makes it hard for you to keep organized and find things, says, Local Records Office. Cleaning out your household and clothing clutter can earn you money if you choose to sell it, but that can take time and effort if you can even find anyone to buy your used coffee mugs. Donating your unused household goods and clothing to a charitable or nonprofit organization can be simple, emotionally satisfying and will help those in need.

Decluttering your house can also help save on taxes if you donate goods to approved charitable organizations. Charitable deductions reduce your total taxable income, thus directly lowering your tax bill. Claiming charitable deductions will take a little bit of extra work, but if you already itemize your taxes, it’s just a matter of keeping receipts and adding the contributions to your Form 1040.

Donations of non-cash property are valued at the fair market value of the property. Clothing and household items must be in good used condition or better to be deductible. Fair market value is the price for which the nonprofit would be able to resell the item — so what you might pay for an item in a thrift store. The IRS doesn’t provide an exact valuation guide, but some individual charities have a guide available, like the Salvation Army Valuation Guide. As you are gathering your items for donation, you may find it easiest to jot down a list of items and the value as you go. For example, jot down the number of men’s shirts and multiply that by a fair market price for total value for the men’s shirts.

Tax Deduction

You must maintain a bank record, payroll deduction records or a written receipt from the organization containing the name of the organization, the date of the contribution and amount of the contribution. Most organizations will provide a receipt for your records and will ask you that fill out the donation value on your own, as it is your responsibility to include this for your tax deduction. If the total of all your contributed property comes to more than $500, you have to file IRS Form 8283 with your tax return. See guidelines for instructions and additional details for claiming charitable contributions.

There are hundreds of organizations that will take your donated goods. Some, like the Salvation Army, will take nearly everything, while others specialize in collecting certain items so they can fill a specific need, such as eyeglasses or shoes. Below is a listing of some charitable organizations and what they’ll accept. Please see the individual charity websites for details, questions and for donation information for tax purposes.

General clothing, furniture, and household goods

Many organizations will take a wide variety of your donations, many of which will resell in thrift stores. Most require that the items be in sellable condition, though some will recycle anything that isn’t. Please check the websites to see what they will and won’t accept and for details of pickup and drop-off.

Furniture Bank Association of America

· Cause: Provides furniture at little or no cost to families struggling financially

· What: Gently used furniture and household furnishings

· How: Check the list on this website to see if there is a furniture bank in your area. Pickup may be available.


· Cause: AMVETS Thrift Stores offer quality used clothing, household goods, and toys at reasonable prices to support programs designed for veterans and their families

· What: Household goods and clothing

· How: Drop off at Amvets thrift stores; most areas offer pickup. Located in 20 states.

Epilepsy Foundation

· Cause: Donations fund programs offered by the Epilepsy Foundation

· What: Household goods and clothing; won’t take large furniture or appliances

· How: Drop off at Savers Stores or epilepsy green bins in 11 states.


· Cause: Creates opportunities for individuals in your community looking to find a job and build skills

· What: Household goods, furniture, electronics, and clothing

· How: Drop off at stores, donation centers, or bins within your community

Habitat for Humanity ReStore

· Cause: ReStore works to eliminate substandard housing and create homeownership

· What: Household goods, furniture, appliances, and building materials

· How: Drop off at ReStore; some areas offer limited pickup

National Kidney Foundation

· Cause: Raises funds for the National Kidney Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports initiatives for kidney disease research, education, early detection, organ donation, and patient advocacy

· What: Household goods and clothing

· How: Drop off at Village Valuables stores; most areas offer pickup

Purple Heart Foundation

· Cause: Supports programs that help veterans recover and prosper

· What: Household goods and clothing

· How: Schedule a pickup. Located in 14 states.

Salvation Army

· Cause: Proceeds from the Salvation Army Family Stores are used to fund Adult Rehabilitation Centers

· What: Household goods, furniture, electronics, miscellaneous, appliances, and clothing

· How: Donate at drop-off areas or schedule pickup

Vietnam Veterans of America

· Cause: Support programs that address the needs of all veterans

· What: Household goods, small furniture and appliances, baby items, clothing

· How: Schedule a pickup through Located in 30 states.

Volunteers of America

· Cause: Supports community programs including information and referral, food and prepared meals, thrift stores and collaborations with the faith community

· What: Household goods and clothing

· How: Drop off at Volunteers of America Thrift Stores; some areas offer pickup.

Soles4Soles and Clothes4Soles

· Cause: Provide shoes and clothes to needy people around the world

· What: New or gently worn, clean clothing and shoes

· How: Find a blue bin drop off location.

Planet Aid

· Cause: Provide clothing to people in developing nations, and fund community, health, agricultural, and vocational programs

· What: Gently-used, unsoiled, functional clothing, shoes, accessories, as well as blankets, bedspreads, sheets, towels, curtains and fabric

· How: 22 state chapters, plus yellow drop-off bins

Specialty Goods

These organizations collect specific items to fill a direct need in their target communities.

Professional Clothing

Dress for Success

· Cause: Supports women who are trying to become self-sufficient by joining the workforce. Each Dress for Success client receives one suit when she has a job interview and additional apparel when she becomes employed.

· What: Women’s suits, professional apparel, dresses, separates, dress shoes, handbags, coats, medical scrubs/nursing shoes, new/unopened makeup and hygiene products and business-appropriate accessories

· How: Select your local affiliate for drop-off locations

The Women’s Alliance at Alliance of Career Development Nonprofits

· Cause: Assists women seeking employment by providing appropriate attire

· What: Women’s business clothing and professional accessories

· How: Contact your local ACDN member

Career Gear

· Cause: Helps men who are economically disadvantaged and underserved find and retain employment

· What: Gently used men’s suits as well as dress shirts, ties, shoes and overcoats — must be business/professional

· How: Find your local affiliate (in eight states)


Lions Club

· Cause: Distributes recycled eyeglasses to people locally and in developing nations without access to vision care

· What: Used, but unbroken eyeglasses

· How: Drop-off boxes can be found at libraries, optometry offices, funeral homes, and hospitals. Contact your local Lions Club. If you have no eyeglasses to donate, here are other ways to give.


· Cause: Prescription eyeglasses, bifocals, and nonprescription sunglasses are hand-delivered to needy men, women and children across the globe

· What: Used, but unbroken eyeglasses

· How: Drop-off at LensCrafters, Sears Optical or Pearle Vision locations

· Baby and children’s items

SAFE (Stuffed Animals for Emergencies)

· Cause: Collects items to give to children in emotional, traumatic or stressful situations (like fires, illness, abuse, homelessness and natural disasters)

· What: New or gently used stuffed animals, children’s books, blankets, clothing, outerwear (varies by chapter)

· How: Find your local chapter for info.

Newborns in Need

· Cause: Provides care necessities to local agencies and hospitals serving premature, ill or impoverished newborns

· What: Baby clothing, stuffed animals, blankets and other supplies; also fabric, yarn, thread, and other supplies

· How: Find your local chapter

Ronald McDonald House

· Cause: Provides a “home-away-from-home” for families so they can stay close by their hospitalized child at little or no cost

· What: New toys, food and household products; see website for details

· How: Find your local chapter

· Art and craft supplies

Care Wear

· Cause: Provides handmade baby items to premature infants in neonatal intensive care units

· What: Yarn, flannel, broadcloth and other fabrics suitable for children’s toys, apparel, and blankets/quilts

· How: Volunteers are located in more than 10 states; check with your local hospital

Beads of Courage

· Cause: Provide arts therapy for children with serious illnesses

· What: All types of beads, of any color and shape

· How: No local dropoff, but beads are light and should be cheap to mail, or check with your local children’s hospital

Binky Patrol

· Cause: Distributes homemade blankets (sewn, knitted, crocheted or quilted) to children in need

· What: Fabric, yarn, batting and finished blankets, including no-sew blankets made from polar fleece

· How: Many local chapters — you can also make no-sew blankets out of polar fleece to donate.

Knots of Love

· Cause: Provides crocheted and knitted caps for chemo patients and others facing life-threatening illnesses and injuries, as well as neonatal blankets

· What: Yarn or finished caps, or NICU-size blankets (18×24)

· How: Here are guidelines on how to donate to Knots of Love

· Also check with local children’s hospitals, preschools, and daycare centers about their arts and crafts needs.

Sports equipment and athletic shoes

One World Running

· Cause: Provides running shoes to those in need throughout the world

· What: New or barely used shoes will be distributed for use; old and unwearable shoes are sent to Nike to be recycled into tracks and playgrounds through Reuse-A-Shoe

· How: Drop-off locations in 11 states

Bicycles for Humanity

· Cause: Bicycles are sent to developing countries to empower disadvantaged people through improved access to food and water, employment, healthcare, and education

· What: Bicycles, as well as bike parts, tools, clothing, helmets, tires and tubes

· How: Drop off at one of the more than 15 chapters in the United States


· Cause: Distributes soccer supplies to empower youth and maximize hope in communities in need

· What: Soccer gear including balls, shoes, jerseys, shorts, and socks

· How: Email the organization for local drop-off locations or shipping info

Nike Reuse-a-Shoe

· Cause: Worn-out athletic shoes are recycled to create playgrounds and tracks

· What: Any worn out athletic shoe

· How: Drop-off locations in most states at any Nike or Nike Factory store

· Cellphones, small electronics, and batteries

Cell Phones for Soldiers

Cause: Refurbishes working phones and passes them on to men and women returning from active duty. Older or broken phones are recycled and profits are used to send calling cards to soldiers overseas

What: Any used or broken cell phone

How: Click here to find a Cell Phone for Soldiers drop-off site (there are more than 40,000).

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

· Cause: Work to eliminate domestic violence and empower battered women and children

· What: Used cell phones, laptops, mp3 players, digital cameras, video game systems.

· How: Get a free shipping label if you have three or more items to send

HopeLine from Verizon

· Cause: Provides refurbished phones to local domestic violence organizations

· What: Used cell phones, batteries, and accessories in any condition

· How: Donate at Verizon store or get a postage-paid label to send in your old devices

Batteries Plus locations

· Cause: Works to reduce waste in our landfills, stop harmful chemicals from contaminating our soil and water, and preserve our environment by decreasing the need for new raw materials from the Earth

· What: Used batteries and small hand-held devices, portable tools and laptops; some stores also accept light bulbs

· How: Drop off at your local store.

DVDs and CDS


· Cause: Provides DVDs to Veteran’s Affairs facilities for veterans in rehabilitation

· What: DVDs and new portable DVD players

· How: Donate to a nearby VA hospital


Muscular Dystrophy Association

· Cause: Donates items to individuals with neuromuscular disease.

· What: Medical equipment and supplies; MDA summer camps also need an available supply of first aid and related medical items, as well as art supplies.

· How: Contact your local MDA office for more information.

· Prescription drugs

· Cause: Reduces the number of prescription drugs in homes and prevents them from being flushed or thrown away, which could contaminate water systems

· What: Prescription drugs

· How: Drop off at a local dropbox so that law enforcement can property destroy prescription drugs

DEA Take Back Program

· Cause: Reduces the number of prescription drugs in homes to prevent them from being flushed or thrown away, which could contaminate water systems

· What: Prescription drugs

· How: Drop off anonymously at a designated location



· Cause: Provides humanitarian relief to children around the globe

· What: Foreign coins and notes leftover from your travels

· How: Donate your foreign currency on an American Airlines flight, Admirals Club or Flagship Lounge, or see the mailing address.

Make-A-Wish Foundation

· Cause: Grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions

· What: Donate JetBlue, Delta, United, or US Airways airline miles

· How: Check local chapter to see if other donations are accepted

St. Jude’s Ranch

· Cause: Serves abused, abandoned and neglected children and families in a safe, homelike environment

· What: Used greeting cards (see details), direct item donation, and eLabels for Education℠ — just register your shopper’s card to support a local school

Overseas Coupon Program

· Cause: Facilitates the sending of coupons to overseas military personnel and their families

· What: Manufacturer’s coupons, valid and expired (up to two months).

· How: Send directly to bases; the cost is the same as sending mail down the street as all military bases are considered U.S. territories.


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