Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday: Tax Deductible Donations

It's Wednesday, and that means it's time for another "Works for Me Wednesday" tip, as hosted by the blog carnival at We Are THAT Family. See this week's Works for Me Wednesday here.

A few years ago when we moved into our current house I noticed that neighbors would leave big items, boxes and bags out on their doorsteps and have them picked up by charitable organizations' trucks. Amazed by the ease of getting rid of unnecessary stuff, I looked into it. Since then I've become a big fan of arranging for pickup of charitable donations for a few reasons.

1) It's easy!

I keep a Rubbermaid bin in our laundry room for collecting items. Each organization also sends bags to me in the mail, so between the two I always have something for collecting donations. Both collect pretty much everything we'd be donating, except food items.

2) I can schedule or cancel pickups online at any time.
Once I registered with my preferred organizations, my profile was saved and I receive notifications about when they'll be in my neighborhood. After scheduling a pickup I receive reminders.
I donate to two organizations because each one only comes into my neighborhood about once a quarter. This way I can get things out of the house on a more regular basis.

3) I don't have to take my items anywhere!
Can't beat that! I'm horrible about putting things in the car and taking them somewhere. The organization's truck comes to my house to remove the items, and the staff leaves a receipt at my door. I keep track of what I'm donating in an Excel spreadsheet and place the receipts in our "Taxes" file after each donation. This way we can track a ballpark charitable donations amount to be included as we file taxes.

The two organizations that frequent my neighborhood are Vietnam Veterans of America(VVA) and the Lupus Foundation. VVA has an exhaustive list of items they'll accept as donations here.
Lupus has a list of items they'll accept as donations here.

Lest you think I'm crazy, I rarely donate more than half a garbage bag full of items. I donate old clothing that won't resell, household items like vases, etc. that take up precious storage space, and other various household items. Since we're constantly working on some sort of home renovation project, it's helpful to know when I have pickups scheduled. I also use Freecycle but find this more convenient for certain items I'm trying to get out of the house.

Do you donate items to an organization like this? Works for me!
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