Moving? Don’t Throw Excess Away, Donate It!

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A new home in a new town means a lot of opportunities — socially, professionally and personally. But when you move from one home to the next, you also have the chance to provide an opportunity to other people — those who may be able to use items you no longer wish to keep or you won’t have room for in your new life. Let’s look at things you can donate to charities when you move to a new house.

Clothing and Household Goods

If you’re like most of us, you have a few pairs of jeans and a couple of sweaters at the back of your closet that may have fit a few seasons ago but don’t get much use now. Gently used clothing and shoes are welcomed at many churches, thrift stores and other charities around the country. Three of the biggest and most well-known organizations that take clothing and household goods, such as pots, pans and tableware, are Goodwill Industries, the Salvation Army and St. Vincent de Paul’s shops. Donating to these organizations is easy, as they often have donation drop boxes where you can easily leave anything you don’t want. However, there are many more places you could send your used items, especially programs that help out-of-work or homeless people find good-fitting, gently used business wear. Another favorite in colder months are charities that match needy children with appropriately sized winter coats and hats.

Donate It

Some donors make the mistake of thinking that designer clothes or ornate, less-functional goods aren’t appropriate for donating to a charity. While they may not be used directly by the needy, many charities augment their sources of funding by reselling topline articles in auctions. Contact your church or charity and ask to speak to the staff in charge of donations to find out if they can help you find a home for your items and advise you if you are donating enough to receive a tax write-off.

If you aren’t sure which charity you would like to donate your items to, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call them to discuss what benefit the organization’s programs bring to the community. Most organizations are more than happy to talk to you about how they — or a partner program — could use your donated items.

Cars, Boats and Even the House

Though we most often talk about donating used clothing, there are many other things you can donate as well. You can donate a boat to charity, or even a boat trailer. Giving a used car to a charity may help them in several ways — they could use the car for their own staff or volunteers, or in their outreach programs, or they could resell it and use the money for funding their programs. Cars, boats and larger items also make great gifts for charity auctions. These larger items are often tax-deductible and can really help a charity in need.

If you are moving but haven’t found a buyer for your old home yet, you can even consider donating the property to a charity to be used as an office or outreach center or to be rented by them for their continued funding. You can also choose to donate your home for a fixed period of time, like a lease. Of course, this is a large donation, and you’d need to talk to your financial advisors about the long-term impact of a donation like this.

Tools and Appliances

If you have tools or household appliances such as a washing machine or blender that are working and in good condition, there are many charities that would welcome them for their own use or for eventual resale. However, in the case of easily sellable items, or items that are not in good condition, you may be doing more good for the charity if you sold these kind of items yourself using a classified ad and then donated the resulting money to the charity.

The next time you move, what will you donate?

About the Author: Jennifer Smith is an active volunteer with her church. She directs the local youth community theater each fall and always enjoys their summer fundraising drives.