“After my mother died, I did want to get rid of some of her things that were still in the boxes and not damaged. I knew it was of some value, but there was just so much that I didn’t have the time to deal with it. I loaded it all up in a pickup truck load, and took it to an ’I Sold It on Ebay’ store.
“They take the photos, post it, mail it off, etc. I didn’t have to do anything but drop it off, and wait for a check to come in the mail later. I can’t remember how much of a cut they took. Sure, you might make more money if you sold it yourself – but boy did they save me weeks of time, not to mention emotional turmoil. And in fact, my local ’I Sold It’ store was run by a charity supporting disabled vets, so their profits went to a good cause. I was SO grateful for their service!
“Keep in mind that there are also building materials thrift stores that can give you a tax deduction for donating any tools or hardware (my mother had quite a hoard of new doors, windows, and tools that she bought when Hechingers Home Improvement Stores went out of business in the 1990s). These building materials thrift stores are often run by charities such as Habitat for Humanity (you can find them on www.buildingreuse.org and http://www.habitat.org).
“And as I’m sure you know, regular thrift stores like Salvation Army would be happy to have the housewares, kitchen items, and home decor.”
(National) Places That Pick Up Goods…
Freecycle.org (you post, you put it out by the curb, and others come and haul if they want it.)
Craigslist.org—post items yourself on this massive bulletin board
A company that will come haul stuff away (for a price of course!) is 1-800-GOT-JUNK.
Know what you can deduct…
- You can only deduct the fair market value for an item.
- The fair market value takes into account an item’s condition and age.
- IRS publication 526 will help you determine your values.
- You need a written appraisal for donations of $5000 or more.
- You may deduct mileage for dropping off donations.
- Contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 when in doubt.
- Your donation must be to a qualified organization to be deductible.
- A “tax-exempt” organization doesn’t mean “tax-deductible” donation.
- Check IRS publication 78 to see if the organization is qualified.
- Churches and governments are automatically qualified.
- Get a receipt for every donation.
- You must itemize your deductions on your tax return.
- To itemize, your deductions must be more than the standard deduction.
- CheapCycle— Find your local group:
- San Francisco: The Compact BLOG & SF Bay Area Compact
- Find a charity in your area to investigate the options.
- Public Storage: Lock it up in more than 2100 locations nationwide.
- Schedule a pickup with your local Salvation Army.
- Goodwill: Your donations fund job training programs and social services.
- Find local recycling and reuse programs for all sorts of household items.
- Work with charities to find homes for your consumer electronics.
- Put scanners, computers and cameras in the hands of deserving kids around the world.
- Donate a refurbished cell phone (of any brand) to a domestic violence victim.
- Sell your cell phone to benefit an environmental charity.
- Send your cell phone to the field staff of a poverty-fighting mission.
- Give your technology to/for the disabled and disadvantaged.
- Connects donations with charities nationwide.
- Send computers to more than 50 developing countries.
- Match your household items with a local non-profit’s wish list.
- Furnish homes for disaster victims.
- Donate a used vehicle to support your local public radio station.
- They take everything from storybooks to encyclopedias.
- Send towels, blankets and newspapers to animal shelters or animal rescue groups .
- Donate old fur coats and garments to wildlife rehabbers.
- Donate your leftover building supplies to Habitat for Humanity’s Restores.
- Give interview and work clothes to disadvantaged women.
- Donate a wedding gown to benefit breast cancer patients.
- Send formalwear to teenage girls who need help getting to the prom.
- Give a free coat to anyone who needs one.
- Ship shoes and sportswear to struggling athletes around the world.
- Supply children in foster care with luggage.
- Unite For Sight accepts new (not used) eyeglasses and sunglasses.
- Donate eyewear to underdeveloped nations.
- Attend nationwide clothing exchanges and DIY alteration workshops.
- Instructions for converting a pile of your old t-shirts into a quilt.
- Sell it to anyone on EBay.
- Get cash for gift cards you’ll never use.
- Donate gently-worn footwear to the needy, including victims of natural disasters.
- This nonprofit fund is run by the VFW and serves families of deployed soldiers.
- Find a complete list of places to drop off rechargeable batteries for recycling