list of steps to inventorying charitable donations

As a family grows, so does their stuff.  Sometimes, it takes a concentrated effort to gather up the stuff that is unused or unloved and get rid of it.  There are several ways to unload these items, once collected:  dump (don’t forget to recycle when possible), friends & family, yard sale (“one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”), or a charitable donation (Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc.).

list of steps to inventorying charitable donations |

Donating items to a charitable organization has many benefits:  items are being reused or recycled, sometimes an organization will do pick-ups (there is often a pretty long waiting list), a charitable donation is a tax deduction if you itemize and keep good records.  Though it is quite a lot of work to go about this the right way, donating to charity can be more convenient and yield a greater advantage than hosting a yard sale (which is, in itself, a lot of work).  Here are a list of steps to inventorying your charitable donations to get the most out of your tax deduction.

  • Gather all of the items that your family no longer wants, needs, or loves.  Find an out-of-the-way place for them until you can get them inventoried and sent off.
  • Use the Salvation Army’s Valuation Guide or, if you are a member to, print out our Charity Valuation Worksheets for Clothing, Household, and Miscellaneous items from Financial Planning.
  • Total the number of items in each category (I use hash marks so I can keep adding on).  Then estimate the value between the standards set by the Salvation Army.  Multiply the total number of items by the estimated value and you will get the donation amount for that category.  For example:  Shirts, 25 x $2 each = $50 donation amount.  Continue adding and valuing through all of the stuff that you have collected.
  • Next, you will want to begin to bag or box everything that you have already valued to get it out of the way and to demonstrate what has already been done.  Once everything is bagged or boxed, you will know that this step is completed.
  • Load up your car and head for the nearest donation center.  We have a rather new Goodwill store in our community.  Their drop-off area is very convenient and has an awning so drop-offs can be made even in inclement weather.
  • Don’t forget to request a receipt.  They may have you fill out some basic information on the receipt which will include the date, your name, and your address.  Write in the body of this receipt to “See attached”, and staple your valuation worksheets to it.  Include the total amount from the worksheets on the receipt, for easy reference.
  • File in your tax folder for the current year.

Doesn’t it feel good to get rid of it?  What are your tips for donating your “stuff”?

Find out more in the following video tour of ListPlanIt‘s Charity Valuation Worksheet:

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