Year-end planning: donations
With the end of the year coming and donation requests abounding, people are starting to think about charitable donations. As we all know, if you intend to claim any donations when filing your 2010 taxes, you need to make your donation before 31 December. (It will also be interesting to see if the new tax laws will impact charitable deductions. If you spot any news stories on this topic, let us know! Otherwise, keep checking the IRS tax change site to see what they post.)
Donating money: You will likely be inundated with requests for monetary donations. If you are either looking for a charity or want to research charities, I have a blog about donating wisely that includes some research sites. Remember to keep copies of donation receipts and all those other records keeping thoughts.
Donating goods: You will likely be planning a party at your house or attending parties elsewhere. Why is this pertinent to year-end planning? If you have time (ha, ha, ha!!), cleaning out your closets, cabinets, and other clutter-y places would be a good way to identify what items you no longer use and could donate to a charity. But the reality is, most of us will experience those holiday “overwhelmed” feelings and won’t be able to fit this task into the schedule (I suppose that is why it is called “spring cleaning”?). But you will likely be looking at your wardrobe as you dress for events, so if you spot anything that you haven’t worn in at least a year, consider tossing it into your charity box. Same goes for kitchen gadgets (as you make appetizers and side dishes), digging out the holiday decorations, and (ew!) finding your snow shovel.
If you are having a party at your house, you may be cleaning before guests arrive. As you try prep for guests, you will be in your closets, drawers, and cabinets. You may discover other things you don’t use anymore and just want to get rid of them. Instead of throwing them out, donate them!
There are drop boxes all over the place; the easiest ones are those in shopping center parking lots. Target, Home Depot, and many others have several boxes at the back of their lots. Clothing, small household items, and books are easy to donate in this manner. But if you need a receipt, finding a donation or scheduling a pickup would be best.
The blog about donating wisely also includes more info about donation boxes, where to find the value of donated goods, and other useful tips.