In the colder winter months, it’s safe to say that we all spend more time indoors. This might make us realize that our homes and closets are cluttered with items and clothes we don’t use or need. When this happens, there are generally 3 options: sell, trash or donate.

Online marketplaces make it easy to sell unwanted items, but donation is another option. Donating to those less fortunate can make you feel even better about your decision to rid yourself of clutter.

Clothing

Is there a pair of jeans you hope to fit into again someday? Do you have clothes laying around that your children have grown out of? It may be better to give those clothes to someone who can use them now. Keep in mind that the clothes must be washed before donating.

Furniture

If you’re redecorating a room or moving to a new home and don’t want to bring your old furniture, you can donate them to people in need. Many organizations are even willing to pick up the items to make it more convenient for you.

Know What’s Worth the Effort

In addition to clothing and furniture, you can also donate electronics, cookware, cars, wedding and prom dresses, books, etc.

If the items are too worn or dirty, it may be best to send them to their final resting place and put them in your “trash” pile. The same is true for items that are beyond repair, torn, stained or missing parts. New or gently used items can easily find a home elsewhere.

Where to Donate

There are likely various organizations in your local area that accept charitable goods. These are a few popular options with a nationwide presence:

  • The Salvation Army accepts, clothes, furniture and other household goods. They also offer free pick-up to save you the trip.
  • Goodwill accepts clothing, accessories, electronics, furniture, household goods and more. They also have a program that helps individuals develop job skills and find work.
  • Dress for Success is an organization that accepts gently-used professional attire, giving it to women in need.
  • The National Furniture Bank Association provides gently used furniture to 100,000 struggling families each year across the U.S. and Canada. They accept various items, including mattresses, couches, dishes, silverware, tables, chairs and cookware.

Selling with a Twist

If you get a thrill from selling things on Ebay, at a yard sale or in a consignment shop, you can still have fun while benefiting the greater good. If you sell your items and then donate the money to a charity of your choice, it’s a great alternative to donating the items directly. This way, you know where your money is going, and you have an exact dollar amount to report to the IRS for tax purposes.
Whether you’re donating cash or goods, there’s a chance it could benefit you during tax season. For more information on that, check out my last blog, “Charitable Donations: How to Make them Count toward Tax Deductions.”