Everywhere you turn, there are always people in need of charitable donations and every year, folks across the United States (more than 95%) donate hundreds of billions of dollars of money, clothing and other items to those who need it.
The reasons for donating to charity are quite obvious: you’re helping those less fortunate than you, you’re doing a good deed for people in your community and, if you donate household items, you’re getting rid of things you don’t need and giving them to folks who could make better use of them. In many cases, your rarely or gently household items or can go a long way in helping those in need.
It’s a great idea to donate rarely or gently used household items to charity. In fact, some organizations even do a charity pick up. But if you’re going to donate, here are some tips for doing it correctly:
- Follow the rules: If you’re set on donating, make sure you follow whatever guidelines are in place. For organizations that do a charity pick up, make sure you put your items in boxes or containers that can be easily transported. You also want to make sure that you’re at home to help donate your items on a scheduled day for a charity pickup. Some areas have neighborhood drop-off sites where you can leave your items to donate.
- Know your value: Chances are you’ve probably got a whole basement full of rarely used items you could donate to charity right now. You may not know it, but the items you donate to charity can be submitted during tax season for deductions. The more and the clearer documentation you can make, the better your chances are of getting a deduction are. As you pile up items for donations, keep a list of what you donate because it helps to know the real value of the items for tax purposes. Remember, any charitable donation worth more than $250 (including donations of clothing and household items) will require a receipt to write off on your taxes.
- Consider where it’s going: The average American buys a lot of clothes these days; like twice as much as 20 years ago. They also donate a lot of clothes (4.7 billion pounds annually). But even with all that, only about 15% of Americans’ used clothing is donated.
Many organizations such as Purple Heart Pickup have charity pick up and will come to your home. If you’re one of those people who’s got piles of unworn clothes in the closet, donates are a great way to get rid of clutter. Again, make sure to check guidelines on what charities take which items. What one organization might not take, another organization will allow you to make donations for pick up at home.
If you’re going to be a Good Samaritan and donate clothes and other items, don’t donate junk. As you’re sorting through things, pay attention to the condition and quality of the items. Ratty clothes and towels should just be thrown away, but rarely or lightly worn jeans can go in a donation box. A good rule of thumb is to consider if something is good enough to donate to a family member before you give it to a charity pick up.
There are any number of ways you can donate to charity and help those in need. You can donate money, donate your time or reach out to those less fortunate and find out what you can to help. Donating household items such as clothing donations and appliances can go a long way, but make sure your items are in good condition and will be of use and also make sure to find out whether or not charities will take your items.