WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR GIVEAWAYS
Congratulations on your new home! You are under contract but now you need to pack up and move! You have gone room by room, packing, eliminating and making stacks of stuff. You have the Keep Pile, the Trash Pile and the Give Away Pile. Now you just have to dispose of the last two piles and keep on packing the first. Packing is easy. Trashing is fairly easy – but where to give away?
This can be a difficult question, because the answer changes depending on what is in your pile, where you live, and what your preferences are. .Here are my suggestions and guidelines.
CRAIGSLIST / EBAY / AMAZON / LOCAL FACEBOOK GROUPS
These are popular choices with many people because you can get money back for your items. However, there is work involved – and if you are moving, you may be under a time crunch. To list items for sale on these sites, you need to sign up for an account, take pictures, post the items online, and hope somebody sees your “trash” as their “treasure.” If someone buys it, you have the hassle of getting them the item (either by mail or in-person) or allow strangers to come to your home. Here are some considerations for whether to go this route:
- Can I get $30+ for this item?
- Is it too big to fit in my vehicle? (If it fits, I usually donate it.)
- If mailing, is this under 10 lbs? (If heavier, sell local.)
I love Freecycle for a way to get rid of things that you don’t want but others will. It’s essentially a local group of people that recycle items from person to person for no compensation. There is usually an email that goes out anytime someone is offering something. People will respond to the email and you can arrange pickup with one of the people. It’s a great way to get rid of items that are still in good condition, while helping someone else in need. Head to Freecycle.org to find a group near you. You also might be able to find a Facebook freecycle group for your area. Ask nearby friends or neighbors, or do a search yourself on line.
I had great success with Freecycle to get rid of a matching large leather sofa and love seat that a seller left behind for me to dispose of as he moved to Vermont. I also got a box of hosta for free – all I had to do was drive three miles from my office.
FAMILY / FRIENDS
This can be a great option – particularly if you are still in the acquiring stage of your life. Let friends and family know what you want to give away. Also keep an eye out if you see or hear of someone that seems to be struggling. Don’t make them feel bad or like a charity case, but mention that you have something (say, baby clothes) and ask if they would be interested in them. If you do give something away, make sure that you don’t need or want it back. If they don’t cherish it as you would have – and that is going to bother you, then you may want to give it to someone that you don’t know.
This is the go to organization for many of us since there are so many Goodwill locations throughout thecountry. Goodwill is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization meaning that everything you give to them is tax deductible. Make sure to get a receipt, keep track of what you gave (snap a picture of the items if you can), and write it off on your taxes. They also contribute to other local organizations, and are a good source for entry level jobs and jobs for people with disabilities. One of the biggest benefits is that they provide low cost items to many people in need. I donate to Goodwill quite often because it is right on the Rockville Pike not very far from my office. The location is easy to drive through and make a stop when running errands.
OTHER NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS
There are many other organizations (also tax deductible) that are good places for donations. These places include Salvation Army, Lupus, Childrens Village, Purple Heart Veterans, Red Cross, and The United Way. If you have any suggestions for good, local places to donate, please comment with the company name and location!
NARROW FOCUS DONATIONS
Please call first to any of the following places to see if they are in need of certain items, when they take donations, or for more information.
- Pregnancy resource centers (pregnancy or baby items)
- A Wider Circle for home furnishings, including mattresses, and baby items
- Animal shelters (old blankets, towels, rags, t-shirts,pet toys)
- Homeless shelters (anything, toiletries, cold weather gear)
- Food banks, soup kitchens (non-expired food)
- “Dress for Success” or local based places that accept clothing for those heading into the work force
- Women’s Shelter or Domestic Violence Shelter (in DC/MD the House of Ruth or My Sister’s Place)
- Libraries (books, CDs, DVDs,)
- Schools or teachers (organizing supplies, school supplies, books, crafts)
- Local scouting troops (crafts, other supplies)
- Nursing home (extra flowers, costume jewelry, magazines, books, other media, crafts, new toiletries)
- Habitat for Humanity Restores (unused or new building supplies, furniture)
- Preschools (craft supplies, books)
- Soles 4 Souls
- local Ronald McDonald House
CHURCH (RELIGIOUS CHARITIES)
This is another tax deductible choice for donating items. In addition to the typical annual rummage sale fund-raiser, many churches work with local homeless shelters and foster care homes to provide less fortunate people with the items they need.
CONSIGNMENT / THRIFT STORES
These are very similar to Goodwill, except some of them will actually buy your stuff from you. The downside is that they usually don’t take everything and the amount they pay is typically nominal. Either way, you will benefit by helping a small business and getting rid of your stuff.
If you have time, consider putting on a garage sale. The upside: You can get money for your stuff. The downside: You will invest a lot of time, and most of your stuff won’t sell (so you still have to find someplace to donate the rest). Another pro – most of the people shopping at garage sales usually can’t afford to buy everything new, so you are directly helping out people in your community.
If you have items that are paper, plastic, or glass, keep in mind that these can be recycled. You can leave most things on the curbside or take them to the local dump. The Montgomery County dump has separate stations within the dump for electronics, for metal, for paints and oil, and for general trash. Your nearby scrapyard will also likely buy metal items from you.
Even though this is not the point of this posting, I feel like the following needs to be said: Please do not assume that your buyer wants your old paint cans. They are probably dried out and most buyers want to choose their own paint colors. Get rid of your old paint cans or your Realtor will have to do it after closing.
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH YOUR STUFF?
If you have any great charities that you use for donations or recommendations that others should know, please let me k