Friday, August 7, 2009

Cleaning + Donating + Patience = Money

I have made a good habit of going through my closet every 6 months or so and pulling out the clothes I no longer want. I have sold a few things on ebay, but the smaller items like t-shirts, tank tops, etc. are just too tedious to put on the site. So the last couple batches of smaller items have been packaged in boxes in the basement. So this go round, I decided to tackle it a little differently. Carl was also going to go through his clothes (a much needed task), and we decided to go the donation route. Not only would that help someone else, but with a little patience, it would still make us some money on our tax return.

When considering donating clothes to places like Purple Heart, Salvation Army, Goodwill or similar stores, there are a few things to consider.
1. If you don't itemize your deductions, it won't matter whether or not you donate them. But if you own a house or have a large number of deductions, then donating them is a great option.
2. It is your responsibility to calculate the fair market value of whatever you are donating, not the charity's.
3. If the fair market value is more than $500 for the year, you will have to fill out an additional form with your taxes, F8283.

So, if you are good with all those things, keep reading! Let's get charitable! Here is how I went through this process.

1. Carl and I both went through our closets and pulled anything that no longer fit, hadn't been worn in 6 months or more, or was out of style. A good rule that I try to follow is: Would I rather wear something else in my closet? Because if there is something else in my closet that is similar and I like more, there is a good chance that is what I will wear. So then we had a HUGE pile of hangers.....

and two HUGE piles of clothes.

2. I separated each of our clothes into types such as sleeveless tops, short sleeved tops, dresses, skirts, pants, etc. Then I created an excel sheet with each of those items and included the count for each category. Using this fair market value calculator from Goodwill, I estimated a price for each category.

3. I took photos of all the clothes and packaged them in boxes.

4. I called our local Purple Heart and scheduled a pick up- they will come to you! Check for your nearest location to see if pick up is an option. They will leave a receipt stating that they picked up the boxes- which is what you will need for your taxes as proof that you donated.

5. I have my spreadsheet and photos filed in our Taxes 2009 file so they are readily available when we do our taxes next year. While you aren't required to have a sheet or photos, it is better to be safe than sorry. Should you get audited, this is more than enough proof of your donation. Once we get our receipt from Purple Heart, that will go in the file as well.

With my calculations, we should get back somewhere around $300 on our taxes. I'd say it was definitely worth the few hours of my time it took, not to mention I'm happy knowing the clothes will go to someone that really needs them!

I'm sure you have some clothes you no longer need or want, so hop to it! It doesn't get much better than when cleaning and donating ends up with a little extra cash in your pocket! Not to mention our closet is REALLY clean and REALLY organized, and having an organized closet is pretty much one of my favorite things in the world!


  1. Good for you, it's a great feeling, isn't it? I just posted about the same thing a few days ago. It was a long over due project.

  2. Ahh yes! Such a good feeling. Although, I presume I will have to do a much more extensive one like yours when I am day!


Molly gets just a touch happier when you comment!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin