You’ve cleaned your closet out, down to the last dust bunny. You’ve packed your winter favorites away for the season and freshened up your summer wardrobe. You’ve gotten all the keepers washed, mended, and ready to wear.
What about the rejects? That pile of discarded clothes you’re ready to part with because it doesn’t fit or it’s just not your style any longer might hold treasures for someone else.
The good news is that plenty of organizations are eager to convert your extra clothes into charitable dollars or give them directly to people in need. Many of these enterprises are tax deductible charities, so get a receipt or otherwise document your donation, and you may add it to your itemized deductions on Schedule A. If you don’t itemize, but take the standard deduction, you won’t get a financial benefit on your taxes, but you still get full credit for your kindness and good will.
There’s nothing wrong with dropping off your goodies at the place which is quickest and most convenient, but if you have a pet cause, a little research may reveal an organization which supports your mission and takes donations. Other considerations when selecting your charity:
- Do they pick up?
- Are they conveniently located?
- Do they accept items other than clothing?
- Are they a qualified charitable organization? Consult your tax professional or the organization to confirm, but remember: a non-profit does not necessarily have status as a charity. 501(c)(3) organizations are typically tax-deductible, but 501(c)(4) organizations may not be.
Here’s a short list of local options to consider:
DONATE TO: The Salvation Army
TO SUPPORT: Adult Rehabilitation
For more than 100 years, programs at The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Centers (ARC) have provided spiritual, social, and emotional assistance for men and women who have lost the ability to cope with their problems and provide for themselves. Many people don’t know that The Salvation Army is the largest provider of residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs in the country. They accept drop-offs and provide pick-up services.
DONATE TO: The Prop Shop
TO SUPPORT: Local families
This thrift store welcomes your used house wares, books, furniture and clothing for adults and children. They provide items directly to client families and also sell donated items to support their mission. Drop off only. The Prop Shop is where Best Cleaners takes its surplus clothing.
DONATE TO: ClothingDonations.org
TO SUPPORT: Vietnam Veterans of America
Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is a national veterans service organization serving the needs of all veterans throughout the nation and elsewhere. They resell donated items to qualified privately owned thrift store retailers. VVA has more than 650 chapters in 48 states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam. They pick up donations by appointment; they do not have drop-off locations.
DONATE TO: Disabled American Veterans of Minnesota
TO SUPPORT: Disabled Veterans
Donate your new or gently used clothing, shoes, and small household items to help the DAV MN to better the lives of Minnesota’s disabled veterans and their families. DAV MN also resells donations to qualified thrift stores, and they have a partnership with Savers Thrift Stores, where donations may be dropped off. They also schedule pick-ups.
DONATE TO: Dress for Success
TO SUPPORT: Economic independence for women
Dress for Success supports economic empowerment by providing professional work clothes for women. They accept drop-off donations only, and focus on business attire in good condition. Also needed: unused undergarments, cosmetics and toiletries. They assist with job searches, interview skills and professional development.
For more information on the details of tax deductible charitable contributions, consult the IRS website. Here’s a link to Eight Tips for Deducting Charitable Contributions:
If you’d like help evaluating the fair market value of your donated items, look online for calculators and worksheets:
- Turbotax has an app called ItsDeductible
- Goodwill Industries has a calculator here: http://www.goodwillwm.org/donate/donation-calculator/
- Bankrate.com has worksheets here: http://www.bankrate.com/finance/taxes/valuation-guide-for-donated-goods.aspx
Clearing out your closet brings a lot of satisfaction. Making sure your surplus clothing is helping those less fortunate makes the experience even better! Enter into the summer season with a contented conscience, a clear closet, and a streamlined wardrobe.