Monday, February 27, 2012
Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best:
"You must let go of a thing for a new one to come to you."
In order to make donating old items really simple, here is what I do in my own home:
1) Always keep a box or bag at the ready for donations.
I like to use medium size cardboard boxes for my donations and keep them in my closet. This makes donating items super simple. Whenever Purple Heart calls me to see if I have anything to donate (and I almost always do) all I have to do is tape up the box and put it on the front porch.
Having a home for donations also gives me an immediate place to put items at the moment that I decide I no longer need them. These things are now out of site and no longer cluttering up my space.
2) Keep a running tally of donations for tax purposes
On a shelf near my donation box(es) I keep a simple piece of paper where I write the item and its estimated value. I always low ball the value based on how it might be priced at a garage sale. When an item goes in the box, it is added to the list. Then, when I receive the receipt from the charity, I just staple the list to the receipt and put that in my tax file.
Due to updated tax laws, some CPAs also recommend taking photos of the items. However, do not get so bogged down in the details that you end up keeping a lot of things you no longer need. Always check with your CPA or tax preparer for specific recommendations.
3) Have a plan
Half of the battle in getting rid of donations is knowing where to take them. I like Purple Heart because all I have to do is put the stuff on my front porch and they pick it up. They also call me periodically when they will be in my area.
If charities make regular rounds in your neighborhood be sure to get on their calling list. This can be a great motivator to let go of your excess. If not, have a plan of where you will take your donations when they start to pile up. In the Ann Arbor area, we have a plethora of great charities that will take your gently used off casts.