I have a series coming up where I am going to share the Five Secrets of Organized People. If you haven’t already subscribed to receive my blog posts in your email, subscribe now on the sidebar. Also, you do not want to miss my follow-up to last year’s Garage Organization post coming soon, because I’ve done some more organizing in my garage.
Today I want to show you my Donation Station. Purging (and donating) is a very important part of your organizing! More to come later on all the reasons purging is so important, today I just want to show you how easy it is to donate and get a ton in tax write-offs next year. You can consider it getting paid to de-clutter without the hassle of selling. Oh, and it feels pretty good to donate to the good cause of your choice! Don’t tell anyone, but the best part for me is not having the clutter stick around my house.
I have a plastic bin in my garage. Normally I organize with clear bins, but not here! You don’t want to remind yourself or your family of what you’re donating! No take-backs! I keep this bin next to our garbage cans, maybe symbolically … all things leaving my house!
On top of the bin, I have a clipboard with a donation tracker sheet and a convenient pencil.
- When I find things in the house that need to go, I take it to the bin and right then, I write down what item I’m putting inside.
- When the bin is full, I take the bin and the sheet to the nearest non-profit re-sale shop that will give a tax receipt.
- I staple the receipt to the paper and immediately file in my tax file folder.
I’ve been doing this for years, but I used to use a blank sheet of paper (as shown). This year while we were doing our taxes, I realized that this info organized in this handy printable would make it soooo much easier next year during taxes.
Do you want this easy-peasy Donation Tracker to download and print as often as you need?! Be sure to pin this post so that you will have this printout handy whenever you need to print a new one.
Download the FREE Printable here: DONATION TRACKER
Also, if you missed my post about organizing your home office files, you should read that now. I talk about an easy way to keep your tax documents all in one place throughout the year. How awesome is that?! Actually, it is pretty awesome and you will want to kiss yourself next tax season when you already have all of your important documents in one place.
Setting up a donation station in your home or garage will make purging as you go about your normal routine, an importance maintenance step for all of us, a breeze. You don’t need to wait to do a big overhaul on any space to start to make wise choices about what clutter you can cut from your life!
Happy donating and tax writing-off!
From my home to yours,
How do you decide the value of what you are donating? New price? Used price if I had a garage sale?
Hi Rachelle! I let Turbo Tax tell me how much everything is worth. I don’t try to guess, because it feels so subjective! I know everyone doesn’t use Turbo Tax, but you can look up estimate values on irs.gov and each chartiy, like Goodwill, should have a list.
Before you take your items to the donation station, do you move them out of the bin and into an easily donatable paper bag? Or do you bring the bin to the donation station and just take out the items there? I would like to use an opaque bin so my four-year-old doesn’t see his long-forgotten-about toys in there, but I’m wondering how exactly that works when it comes time to donate.
The place I take it will take the items out and give me back my container. Pretty simple, they just ask. And yes, opaque is a good idea! 🙂
Love this! worked wonders this year and I’m here to print it off again! Thanks!
Yay! Glad I could help!
Great ideas Mary! I love the cute printable too. It is much more organized than my present tracking system. I was blown away at tax time with the monetary value of the donated items for a year. You’re absolutely right, it does add up and is worth th effort. Great post.
Thank you!! My husband really appreciates my detailed lists come tax time!!!
Cindy P says
Brilliant! I am an avid purger as well. This makes it so much more manageable !
I agree! Such a great routine and very fruitful at tax time!
We’re always maxed out on monetary charitable donations without claiming this kind of charitable giving. I don’t dare claim this on my taxes, too, because the IRS limits how much we can give before we become suspicious. I can’t put a tub by the trash cans either. What I can take from this is grab an opaque tub rather than misc bags.
I keep all of my “evidence”, so I’m not too worried about drawing suspicion. Our tax software actually gives us an estimate of our audit-risk. Even with our itemization, we always are low risk. We save a ton of money by itemizing!
Mary, ItsDeductible.com by Intuit (TurboTax) is a free online service that actually assigns a value to the items and lets you import at tax time. I was shocked at the amount of stuff we give away each year (it’s so freeing) but was blown away when the actual dollar amounts were calculated (for 2014 we are at $2,300 + a $500 cash donation to our local food bank) I also keep great records and am not afraid of an audit.
Just happened upon your blog via Pinterest 91 day challenge and I think it’s great!
Keep up the good work!!!!!!!!
Thanks, Justin! Between you and me and whoever reads this reply, I actually use Turbo Tax too, so I don’t actually fill in the values when I fill out my sheets. I just let Turbo Tax do it at tax time. I still put those options in for others. I agree that it is the easiest way. And why be afraid of an audit, if you are being honest and keeping great records?! Might as well get all of our money back that we can.
Sandra Schmidt says
Mary, I don’t see a sidebar (I’m viewing you on my android phone) but I would like to subscribe and participate in the 91 day challenge. How can I sign up?
Got you added. 🙂