by Juli Lundberg – PR Manager
The holidays will be here in no time at all. What better time to begin your end-of-the-year clean out? Everyone likes to start the New Year lighter and brighter and with these tips from Goodwill, you can do just that!
* Starting is usually the hardest part. Take it “room by room” and don’t expect to finish in a day.
* Purge your kitchen of the small appliances, pots and pans, and dishes that are never used. You will be amazed at how much fresh new space you create!
* Conquer bedroom closets next. A simple rule of thumb is that if you haven’t worn it in a year, you probably don’t need it. Don’t forget to sort through shoes, belts, scarfs and other accessories, too.
* Books, books, books. Everyone seems to accumulate a lot of these. Pass on the gift of reading to someone else by donating books when you are finished with them.
* Tackle the basement and garage next looking for things you never use like old bikes, skates and sporting good equipment that your family has outgrown.
* When donating computers, be sure to remove personal data from hard drives and external storage devices. Once your mission is accomplished, you will probably want to get unwanted stuff out of your house pronto!
And there is a Goodwill in the neighborhood eager to graciously accept your gently-used items. Located at 5050 Parkside, The Goodwill Store & Donation Center is open Monday – Saturday from 9 am to 8 pm and Sunday noon – 6 pm. All donated items are sold to value conscious shoppers (and green minded!) with revenues funding job training programs and career services that help local residents with disabilities and disadvantages get to work.
Most people don’t know all the GOOD that Goodwill does—and it all starts with YOUR donations. . For example, just down the street at the Dornsife Center, Goodwill operates The Helms Academy. Here, thanks to partnerships with Drexel University and The Community College of Philadelphia, adults 18+ years of age who have left traditional schooling can take FREE classes to obtain their high school diploma while simultaneously earning college credits. Goodwill believes having a high school diploma is the single most important marketing tool one needs to succeed in the workforce. Did I mention that The Helms Academy is 100% tuition free?!
While there are other places to donate, Goodwill encourages you to do your homework when deciding where to give. For example, unattended donation bins in shopping center parking lots offer tremendous convenience, but are not always represented correctly. Many are actually operated by for profit entities that “rent” a charity’s name and give it a mere 4-6% of the proceeds. Others feature fictitious charity names. To ensure your donations support a charitable cause, verify a charity is legitimate with the State Attorney General’s Office and visit the charity’s website to view their most recent annual report and how they spend funds. Lastly, visit guidestar.com to see how the charity rates in terms of accountability and efficient use of funds.
At Goodwill, we welcome donations of gently-used clothing, accessories, household items, toys, computers, furniture, electronics, medical equipment, related items and of course those less than perfect holiday gifts. For a full listing of items not accepted, please visit http://goodwillnj.org/materialdonations/ Goodwill donation centers are staffed by courteous donor services attendants and equipped with computerized kiosks. The donor services attendant is responsible for helping the donor unload their car. The donor is then directed to a computerized kiosk to input their contact information and what they donated. It then prints out a receipt for tax purposes. Once inputted into Goodwill’s kiosk system, donors can go to http://www.goodwillnj.org; click the I-DONATE icon; and then view and print their donation history as well as individualized receipts for tax purposes. Goodwill is currently the only charity in the Greater Philadelphia Metropolitan Area that offers this service. It is ideal for locating misplaced receipts.
Lastly, as a nonprofit, community-based organization, all donations to Goodwill are tax deductible per IRS law. Donors are encouraged to keep an itemized list of items donated. The IRS allows a deduction for each item, but the donor determines each item’s value. Generally, an item’s value should be based on fair market value—what the item would sell for in a thrift store. For more information on determining the value of donations, please visit www.irs.gov.