If you are cleaning your closets to make room for the booty acquired during this holiday season, you may be thinking garage sales. Kudos to you! You are commended for your organizational and planning skills.
Most people are not so adept at longer term scheduling and preparation. (Fear not; help for that is merely an article or two away). Frankly, judging from the lines around the local thrift stores, many are donating their unwanted stuff and deferring the garage sale train of thought until robins are chirping and trees are budding.
For those taking the donation route now, at year end, rather than at the conclusion of their yard sale with their “leftovers,” remember that Uncle Sam can be a pretty serious guy (more rigid than Santa Claus, Old Man Winter or a March Leprechaun.) Uncle Sam requires you to adhere to specific rules and timeframes about all kinds of things, things that go beyond naughty or nice, frosty or toasty, lucky or unlucky, including what you can give away and call a charitable donation.
With that in mind, you are encouraged to consult with your own accountant or the Internal Revenue Service about specifics. At the very minimum, remember that you the items given to a charity must be in good or better condition to be considered as a charitable donation. You will notice issues of valuation for garage sale purposes and charitable donation purposes as well. A written receipt may be required depending on that valuation.
Fortunately, there are organizations in the greater Kansas City area willing to pick up your donations (including your garage sale leftovers) at your own residence. Many of these charities allow you to schedule a pick up on line or advise you on line when they will be in your neighborhoods. (There is a web site that does that as well at www.donationtown.org). Check these out (in alphabetical order):
- Big Brothers/Big Sisters, (913) 378-9448, (816) 561-5369, www.bigbrothersbigsisters-kc.org, www.bbbs.org.
- Catholic Charities, www.kcdonationpickup.org
- City Union Mission, (816) 474-9380, (816) 483-2922, www.cityunionmission.org
- Community Services League (CSL), (816) 254-4100, www.cslpickup.org
- Epilepsy Foundation, (816) 444-2800, www.efha.org
- Ozanam, (816) 508-3600, www.kcdonationpickup.org
- National Federation of the Blind, www.nfb.org
- Salvation Army, 1-800-SA TRUCK, 1-800-728-7825, www.satruck.org
- Sherwood Center, www.kcdonationpickup.org
- Vietnam Veterans of America, (913) 342-8545, www.pickupplease.org
You may need or want to make your own delivery arrangements. Most thrift stores accept donations at their stores or at specific drop box locations. These include Savers, Maj-R-Thrift, DAVs, and the Goodwill. Organizational groups which have garage sales annually, including your neighborhood church or temples and schools, may accept donations at a given time of the year (closer to the time of their own garage sale perhaps) or throughout the year.
Some organizations really benefit from your more targeted donations. In that case, consider these organizations as well, listed alphabetically.
- Animal shelters look for blankets, sheets as well as animal supplies.
- Give what your got works with foster children. They have an ongoing wish list of items. (www.givewhatyougot.org)
- Happy bottoms collects diapers (www.happybottoms.org)
- Sleepyhead beds seeks mattresses and linens (www.sleepybedheads.org)
- Trinity Lutheran Church, (913) 492-2943, www.tlcms.org, books and clothes only, preferably in Johnson County
- Women’s shelters are in need of a myriad of supplies from personal hygiene to work attire.
(If your organization has a targeted need, please contact your Garage Sale Examiner with detailed information.)
Please keep donating your stuff. It is good for the environment and your “soul.” It may even be cost effective as a tax write-off or as a coupon exchange at a neighborhood thrift store.