Donating Dos and Don'ts
Almost every decluttering mission includes a trip or two to a charity to drop off unwanted items. Make the most of your donations with these tips:
Do make some calls to find out where your items are most needed; you’ll feel better and have more incentive to purge. Check beyond widely known charities.
A local church may have a family in need of furniture, a women’s organization may be seeking office attire for women entering the workforce, or a nursing home may be in need of blankets.
Do schedule an appointment if a charity calls to say it will be in your neighborhood--even if you're not sure what you might donate. Pickup services are an ideal no-cost way to get rid of large items, such as an old sofa or dresser. Even if you donate only a few boxes of clothing, you'll have cleared some clutter.
Do ask for a receipt, which is needed for tax-deduction purposes. Put all charitable receipts in a folder so they're at your fingertips at tax time. Get a receipt even if you’re not sure if you’ll deduct the donation.
Don't donate items that are in poor condition. Otherwise the charity will have to waste its resources in discarding the items.
Don't drop off items that the charity might not accept. Find out in advance if the organization takes old computers, treadmills and other unconventional items. Also ask about clothing restrictions; some groups take only in-season clothing.
Don't drop off items when the charity is closed, unless a sheltered after-hours drop-off spot is clearly designated. Call in advance to find out if you need to go to a particular entrance; ask what times donations are accepted.