One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure

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On an annual basis, my wife and I donate clothes and toys to the Salvation Army or other similar organization. This serves many purposes. One – it helps us feel good about ourselves in that we are giving to those less fortunate. Two – it de-clutters our home of things we don’t really use as much anymore. Three – we can claim the items on our tax return and get a deduction. Fourth – we get to buy new stuff again….wait, maybe that one is not one of the better purposes.


Everyone has stuff lying around the house collecting dust, of clothes wrinkled up in a drawer they don’t use, or some possible big-ticket item too like a car that can be donated. I encourage everyone to donate whatever they can each year as a way to indirectly get some money back from Uncle Sam in the form of either a lower tax bill or higher refund. According to, for someone in the 25% tax bracket, if you donate $100 worth of stuff you don’t want, you can get a tax benefit of $25.


Once you start this exercise, you’ll be surprised how much stuff there is you don’t need or want anymore. In 2015, we ended up having 3 large trash bags, 2 full of clothes and one with toys – like those 64-gallon ones (items probably worth between $150-$200).


Now that we are midway thru 2016 I recently went to my basement storage and found items that could potentially be sold or donated like a patio set someone gave to us which is a few years old so can’t be returned and we probably won’t end up using because we don’t have a patio or any other place to put it. I’m sure I’ll find other things including old toys and clothes to sell/donate as well. The hard part is trying to find the time and gather everything up. According to National Philanthropic Trust, American charitable giving was $373 billion in 2015 (…power in numbers people!


The other alternative is to sell stuff at a garage sale or on Craigslist if you want cash right away. For the ladder, we recently upgraded to a Keurig 2.0 coffee maker and had a Keurig Mini before that. I sold the Keurig Mini on Craigslist for $40 to a lady who wanted it for her daughter’s dorm room in college. I wasn’t using it and it was just sitting in my pantry. It’s super easy to create a free account, post nice pics of your item(s) and an inviting description.


Just be careful because there are a lot of scammers on Craigslist that want to initiate weird transactions like offering to pay you like triple your asking price if you give them some basic info and they send you a check in the mail. Ask to be paid in cash only.