Making Room in Your Mind & Your Storage Space: Tips for Donating Items to Charity

We often associate the holiday season with charitable activities, but there’s a constant need for assistance year round. Clearing your personal items of what you should keep and what you should discard can be a cathartic experience for your mind, body, and soul. What better time to pare down your home or storage space than now? Inspire your inner-Marie Kondo and get your spaces organized and your conscience nourished with these tips:

  • Come up with a gameplan. The idea of purging your storage unit or home sounds daunting — and it very well may be! Scheduling a date and allocating time for this task will help you commit and stay focused on the objective. Planning ahead with friends and family members for their assistance will also help you from putting off your organizational and charitable pursuits. Coming in with a strategy can only be beneficial to staying on task.
  • Whether you’re donating to Goodwill, Salvation Army, churches, shelters, or any charitable entities in between, these organizations thrive on items that are in at least decent, sellable condition — and most importantly, they must be functional! Don’t donate anything that is broken or in need of repair since they likely will not sell second-hand. This extends to items that belong in sets, like shoes (don’t donate one shoe if the other one is missing; no one will buy just one shoe). Discard of these types of items appropriately.
  • Be aware of items that may not be accepted at donation centers. A general misconception is that if you don’t need it, someone else will need it! In this case, that’s not entirely true. For safety and liability reasons, certain items may be prohibited as donations such as baby cribs, mattresses, large appliances (refrigerators, washers, driers, etc.), and even CRT/tube TVs. It’s best to check with your local organization before bringing in a huge haul. You’ll definitely want to avoid having to bring anything back with you.
  • Part of the challenge of donating is the matter of getting your donations into the right hands. Luckily, there may be a handful of options at your disposal. You can schedule a pickup for large-volume donations and bulkier items like furniture, or you can stop by your closest donation center and hand off your items directly. Additionally, you may find donation bins in your neighborhood for low-volume contributions, such as small amounts of clothing.
  • Keep track of items that you are submitting for donation by writing a list and calculating approximate values (you can find valuation guides online for rough estimates for what your items are worth). Remember to get an itemized receipt when you eventually drop off your donations, and it’s a great idea to compare the two documents for accuracy. Donations are tax-deductible, and the value of your donations can help you out come tax season.

With these helpful tips, making charitable donations will be easier than ever. Those in need —  and not to mention your own personal space — will appreciate you for it!

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