Spring is a wonderful time to start fresh, and one of the first places we look to get rid of clutter is our closet. Springtime also happens to be a great time to donate to charity, because that sweater that you no longer like will be invaluable to someone in need. Giving lets us make a difference and receive some tax benefits. Of course, spring cleaning (even your closet) can be a tremendous task. This is why we’re giving you a few tips that will make it easier to clean and donate.
Break down the Task
You will not clean your closet in one day. Focus on breaking down the task by sections: Monday tackle one shelf, Tuesday organize the shoes, and so on. When you focus on one finite area, it will give you the mental clarity to make better choices as to what to keep or toss. Since you’ll be making “to keep,” “to donate,” and “to toss” piles, you’ll manage to not turn your closet into a war-zone.
Be patient, take out each item, and consider when the last time was that you wore the piece of clothing or shoes. If you have a coat that you wear every winter, or a high-quality dress that you wear on occasion, then you should probably hang on to those.
Of course, if you stumble on something that doesn’t fit, or you haven’t worn in months or years, then it’s time to toss it or donate it.
Make a Cleaning Schedule
Unfortunately spring cleaning isn’t limited just to the closet. If you’re planning on cleaning the whole house in depth, then a schedule is in order. Have a plan of what you’ll do and when you’ll do it. It will take time, but if you focus on targeting the bathroom one day, and the kitchen the next (and making them squeaky-clean), then you will get it done while also allowing time to do other tasks. Don’t forget that all unused items that you find around the house can be donated.
Confirm with Charities First
Once you have your pile of clothes, shoes, or accessories ready to donate, assess the condition of each item. All charities are grateful for gifts, but they prefer things in good, usable shape. Visit their website and see what items they need the most (most organizations will often list the items they especially need)–this way, you’ll be able to donate different items to various charities. In fact, Oprah.com offers a list of top charities to donate.
Get an Appraisal
Whether large or small, your donation can be written off on your taxes. Don’t forget to save your tax receipts. If you are donating something very valuable, then it may be worthwhile to go to a professional appraiser or donate it to a charity that specifically accepts higher-end items–these charities usually have knowledgeable people on staff.
For the most part, even if you bring a bag of clothing to the local Goodwill or Salvation Army, their staff can estimate the value for which they would sell it.
Spring cleaning is about greeting the new season with a de-cluttered home and mind and while you’re at it, offering something valuable to those who need it. Remember that you don’t need to limit yourself to your closet. Make it a point this year to de-clutter and decompress–donate furniture, electronics, or household goods that you neither use nor need. You’ll thank yourself later on (and so will others).
Photo by: Douceurs D’etre on Flickr