One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure

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One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure simple money man

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 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.


8 thoughts on “One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure

  1. You’re completely right SMM, there are things that we didn’t want about a year ago and went on a big selling spree. We ended up selling it all for about $500. Extra cash is always welcome and we were never going to use that stuff.


  2. We tend to take a large selection of items once a quarter to Goodwill. Especially having young kids with grand parents that donate piles of toys to them at the drop of a hat, just for my own sanity we need to get rid of somethings. It’s good to know that those items are going to help someone be employed and the tax break is not to bad to boot. Just avoid going over the limits requiring the item to be appraised before tax writeoff unless you plan on doing so. I believe last year it was 5000 dollars. Over 500 dollars and you need documentation of acquistion. IRS rules on the subject can be found here:

  3. Having a new baby we almost exclusively scour craigslist and salvation army for good deals. You know what’s crazy though. People will put items up for free on craigslist if you haul away their stuff. We’ve received bags of clothes, toys and even strollers all for free because people were too lazy to drive to salvation army or goodwill.

    1. I’ve heard that you can get free stuff on Craigslist too.I know someone that bought an almost free banged up dresser and she painted it and put new knobs on it, the before and after pics are amazing! Congrats on the baby!

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