3 Reasons to make Year-end Cleaning an Annual Routine (Yes, taxes is one of them!)

December is right around the corner, which means it's annual closet cleanup time! It's the best time to look through your closet, pick out a few items that you never wear or don't see yourself wearing in the future and donate them to charity. This isn't limited to clothing - you can donate almost anything: toys, books, furniture, electronics, and other household items. In general, things that you donate should be clean and in good condition. Please don't donate junk or broken items - things that can't be used are a pain for donation centers to deal with, and it wouldn't be nice! 

I've been doing this every year; but if you're not convinced, here are 3 reasons why everyone should make this an annual routine:

1) You can help those in need.
If you have an extra special item like a party dress, evening gown or bridesmaid dress, there are great organizations out there you can donate to like The Princess Project that specifically help teens find their dream prom dress. Or, if you're like me and left that corporate business setting with no need for those 3 piece/2 piece work suits, you can donate professional work wear and other business-appropriate apparel to an organization like Dress for Success

2) You'll get to declutter and feel refreshed going into the new year

and finally

3) You'll get a tax deduction!
I'll be getting a tax deduction of about $450 this year from my donations to Goodwill! This is probably the easiest way to get a tax deduction. Just follow the rules below:
- You must get a donation receipt. Make sure you ask the charity for this, if you don't get one, your donations won't be deductible!
- Make sure the donation receipt has the location and date that you donated the items
- List out each item and the quantity of items you've donated (e.g. 2 pairs of jeans, 3 blouses) 
Tip: If you're dropping your items off at a place like Goodwill, you won't get your donation receipt until after you've given them the items. To make sure you don't forget what you've donated, take one photo of all the items before you bag them so you don't miss out on a donation deduction
- You'll have to come up with a "fair market value" of the items donated - this is the price that others would actually pay for clothing of this age/condition/style,  usually the fair market value is far less than what you paid for it. If you have no idea what that may be, you can use this guide from Goodwill as a reference point.

Happy cleaning, and stay tuned for more year-end tax tips!

 

Wendy L HsuComment