11 Nov Year-End Donations Are Easy and Impactful (‘Tis the Season)
Any time of the year is an excellent time to donate, but donating goods at the end of the year offers unique benefits. Making year-end charitable contributions helps nonprofit organizations reach their mission, lowers your tax bill, and makes you happier and healthier! And don’t we all want to be happy and healthy?
It seems that the holiday season inspires our charitable hearts, with more than 30 percent of annual giving occurring in December and twelve percent of it happening in the last three days of the year. Thus, end-of-year giving is critical for many nonprofit organizations and the people they serve.
While tax deductions top the list of why people are motivated to make year-end donations, there are several other compelling reasons to make a year-end contribution, whether it’s a donation of gently used goods or cash.
The general rule of thumb regarding what you can and cannot donate is simple. If you wouldn’t give something—furniture, appliances, or building materials—to someone close to you, it’s probably not something to donate. Likewise, lidless Tupperware containers, stained fixtures, or damaged kitchen cabinets won’t cut it.
Make sure to keep any small parts in multi-piece items—doorknobs, accessories, plumbing fixtures, and lighting—together. Check for rust, sharp nails, or broken pieces.
Cleaning and Decluttering Before the Holidays
The holiday season is busy, with multiple opportunities for families and friends to gather in celebration. Sure, spring cleaning gets all the attention, but there are also great reasons to assess your home in the fall. Decluttering is scientifically proven to make your life less stressful. So whether you’re focused on making room for visiting guests or simply trying to get organized before the festivities, now is a great time to take stock of your home and clear out the clutter. These three places are a good place to start.
Remember that pasta maker you had every intention of using to create delicious homemade meals but never got around to using? Or how about that ice cream maker that’s collecting dust in your kitchen cabinets? Like many people, you probably have a graveyard of gadgets lurking in drawers and cabinets. Sure, in the back of your mind, you’re waiting for just the right occasion to delight everyone with homemade ice cream, but let’s be realistic.
The Attic and Basement
All those household goods that you’re sure you’ll need at some point are banished to the attic or basement, making it a potential gold mine for thrift shop donations. Yes, you loved that chair, but there’s no room for it in your home now. And the mirror your great aunt gave you may be beautiful but has no place in your home.
Much like the attic and basement, the garage can be a catch-all for storing items that just don’t belong anywhere else. However, saying goodbye to things in the garage also has an added bonus: Maybe you’ll be able to finally park the second car in the garage or have more room for your lawn care equipment.
Donating Construction Materials
Have you recently embarked on a home improvement project? Maybe you were adding space for all those holiday visitors. In addition to a lot of dust, home improvement projects can leave behind many materials. Donating your renovation materials keeps functional—and often desirable—items out of the landfill. In addition, your leftover renovation supplies can provide others with low-cost materials they need for their projects and raise funds to help those in need.
Bathroom Fixtures and Accessories
If you renovated your bathroom to make it more modern, that sink or bathtub could be donated and resold, as long as it isn’t stained or chipped. So while it may no longer be what you want, it could be the perfect thing for someone else.
Remodeling a kitchen often includes replacing kitchen cabinets. Luckily, someone else may want those kitchen cabinets, and recycling them will cut construction waste. The kitchen cabinets should be in good working order.
Doors and Windows
Clean and undamaged internal and external doors and windows may be just what another person is looking for to make home improvements. Check for holes or cracks before donating, which can make the glass unstable and likely to break.
Appliances in good working order, such as stoves, refrigerators, dishwashers, and washing machines, make wonderful donations. Clean appliances will have no problem finding a new home.
Clean, undamaged flooring with no visible nails and screws and extra boxes of tiles leftover from a home improvement project make excellent donations.
Why Donate Instead of Selling?
Sure, you could sell rather than donate to Re-Store Warehouse, but donating helps you declutter and creates a lasting change in your community. In addition, if you donate, you’ll have the knowledge that you did a good thing and a receipt that will lead toward tax deductions when you file in the new year.
How to Deduct Your Donated Goods
It’s unnecessary to submit a list of your donated items with your tax return. Still, you should keep the information with your tax records and put the total contribution amount on your Schedule A, Itemized Deductions (or your computer software will do it for you).
Ask for a receipt when you donate your goods—again, for your tax records. Re-Store Warehouse won’t put a dollar value on the receipt, but the paperwork will help you prove that you did donate the property if the IRS asks.
If you make a single non-cash gift worth between $250 and $500, you’re required to have a receipt or a written acknowledgment of your gift from a qualified charitable organization such as Re-Store Warehouse. If the total of all your contributed property comes to more than $500, you have to file IRS Form 8283 with your tax return.
The basic rule is that you may deduct no more than the property’s “fair market value” at the time of the donation. IRS Publication 561, Determining the Value of Donated Property, offers a good explanation of determining an item’s fair market value.
Start Your New Year Right!
There’s nothing like starting a new year off on the right foot. Make a resolution to clean out old and unwanted items. Go through your house room by room and collect the things you don’t need or use anymore. Throw away the trash and donate household goods that someone else could use.
How to Donate to Re-Store Warehouse
It’s simple to donate to Re-Store Warehouse! Your donations of new and used building materials, furniture, cabinets, flooring, and bathroom fixtures in good, reusable condition can help your neighbors in need. Choose one of three easy ways to donate to Re-Store Warehouse and know that 100 percent of all net profits go to area organizations that help at-risk kids, the homeless, and those in need in Cumberland County.