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Donate Unwanted Items Before You Move

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When you are preparing to move, donating your unwanted items can be an easy way to save you time packing. Having one less box to pack can reduce moving related stress and money spent on storage boxes. Organizing the items that you want to donate will help you determine which charitable organization will receive your goods.

How to pick a charitable organization

There are several charitable organizations that could accept your unwanted items. An efficient approach is to select the organizations that are most familiar to you. For example, The Salvation Army is a well-known charitable group that was established in 1867. The Salvation Army has locations across the U.S. that will make donating convenient. Locating a charitable and reputable nonprofit, like The Salvation Army, will give you the peace of mind that your items will be donated properly.

If you want to make sure that you are donating to a legitimate charity, the Internal Revenue Service maintains a database of all organizations registered as charities. You can also check with your state's charity regulator by going to http://www.nasconet.org/ and locate the exact individual responsible for policing charities.

When considering nonprofit organizations, be sure to check if they require any payments for accepting your donation. Don't hesitate to contact the organization directly and inquire about policies related to donating your unwanted goods. You don't want to discover that your items have been returned to your new address because information was missing.

Donating your clothes, kitchenware, and furniture

As you prepare your clothes for donation, be sure that you are adhering to donation guidelines set by the charitable organization. If you are allowed to drop off items at their location or in a donation receptacle, then you may need to package your items in a specific way.

You may also be required to clean all clothes prior to donation, which is standard practice for donating clothes and shoes. There may be other restrictions related to the quality of the donated items.

If you have plans to donate any sharp utensils, it would be a good idea to keep them in the original box or wrap them in bubble wrap. Labeling sharp items as "SHARP" on the outside of their containers can help ensure safe handling.
For dishes, pots, and pans it is a good idea to wrap these items in newspaper to protect them from breaking. If you have glassware items you may want to label the box as "FRAGILE GLASS" and pack with plenty of supporting packing materials.

Donating your furniture involves a process similar to donating your clothes. You should clean your furniture before bringing it to the charitable organization. Many organizations will restore your furniture and make repairs if need be. If you have any extra pillows or cushions, make sure to include these items with your donation.

Donating your electronics

Donating your electronic items to a charitable organization provides an excellent alternative to landfills. If you have a specific charity in mind, check with that organization first to see if there are any technical requirements for donating electronic equipment. Most organizations that accept electronic donations will be able to accept your PDA, digital camera, iPod, or cell phone.

You probably should erase your memory card or delete any personal pictures, e-mail or text messages, and personal information stored on your handheld device before you donate it to charity. If you want to donate your computer, try to provide the charity will all the necessary documents, disks, and cables as well as the keyboard and mouse. Be sure to package everything carefully to avoid damage.

Donating your books

Books are great items to donate. Many of your unwanted books can be used as educational resources for children and adults around the world.

If you've not located charities that would benefit from your books, consider directly donating to schools and libraries too. Many schools that need books are not always recipients of book donations through charitable organizations. You can check with schools, libraries, bookstores, and daycare and recreation centers to see if they have a need for books in good condition.

Donating your unwanted items should make you feel good. You have the opportunity to help others even as you prepare to move. Also, donating may allow you to receive tax benefits, so be sure to ask the charity if they have the appropriate donation forms.

Photo by: Stuart Miles (Freedigitalphotos.net)

  Posted by Patrick Hanan on August 27, 2009

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