‘Tis The Season To Give Back
Most of us have a favorite charity or two – ones that are near and dear to us, usually because we have a personal connection to the cause. These colder months are always a time when people have holiday fever and the urge to give back to others.
Some of you may have already been donating your unwanted things to others all year long (extra brownie points for you!). Some of you may start to feel holly jolly as the holiday season approaches and since you don’t want your Aunt Barbara seeing that awful stuffed animal collection hiding in the guest room, that means you start to give away things as soon as you hear “Walking in a Winter Wonderland…”
Regardless of where you stand during the year, now is a great time to start purging and donating any unwanted items in your home. It’s a win-win! You get to declutter and someone else gets something that they may really need. The Little Details is here to let you in on a few tidbits regarding donating unwanted items during the holiday season.
DO YOUR RESEARCH!
There are tons and tons of organizations near and far – many of which will take your gently and not so gently used items. Check out websites by googling a cause you’re interested in or one that you have already heard of and call to see if you need to make an appointment to drop off any unwanted items or if you can just pop on in during store hours.
Tidbit: Some organizations will come straight to you! How easy is that!? All you have to do is set up a time and date for pick up and they’ll do all the hauling for you.
If you are unsure as to which charity you would like to donate to, check out Charity Navigator or our local resources page for places around Boston. The Charity Navigator ranks charities based on how much is being distributed to the cause within the organization. Pretty neat, huh?
You deserve a little somethin’ somethin’ after all your hard work! Check to see if the charity you are donating to will give you a tax receipt. Make sure you take inventory of the items being donated by taking photos and writing down each item to keep with your tax records. Keep all supporting documents for each tax year filed together so when tax season comes around you know where to look to find all the receipts from your donations. Most organizations will give you a blank receipt with just your contact information written in. You are responsible for completing the form honestly and that’s why we suggest keeping an inventory of the items you donated. It’s unlikely you’ll get questioned but it’s important to keep track of what you give and how much you claim on your taxes.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT THOSE GIFT CARDS YOU FOUND UNDER THE COUCH!
If you come across a gift card you received and don’t think you will ever use it, several charities will gladly take them as donations too! Find out where you can mail it to so you can give the charity the option to either choose what they need to buy, or pass it on to someone they are helping out to use on their own.
There’s nothing wrong with rewrapping those oven mitts you never used and bringing them to your office holiday party grab bag. You can also regift any gift cards that you found to your child’s teacher, your babysitter, mailman, etc. Just make sure you check the amount available and that they are still active.
The next time you’re stuck inside on a cold dreary day, pump up the tunes, dance and sing along and work on sorting and purging through your home. I know (and hope) I’m not the only one singing “Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer” while organizing my apartment! We’re always happy to help you sort and donate your items and we will gladly take them straight from your house to each charities doorstep for you (tax receipt included). Not only are you helping the organization, but they are helping you! Doesn’t that sound like a wonderful way to spend the holidays?!