I’m super excited about this post even though it’s talking about taxes.
If you live in the US, our current tax code allows you to deduct charitable donations from your taxable income. When you are decluttering 40 bags in 40 days, (and throughout the year as well) donations can add up pretty quickly. But they’re annoying to keep track of. I’ve created this printable donation values guide and a donation value tracker for you to document what you’re giving away.
Truth be told, this is a printable I’ve been wanting to make for a while.
We donate a lot of stuff. We have 5 kids who seem to blow through clothing sizes. I have had those 5 kids in 7 years and my clothing sizes are up and down and all around. We shop second hand and are constantly upgrading items. Toys and books seem to multiply. I also like throw pillows… but that’s a topic I’ll save for another post. ;)
I like knowing something works before recommending it to you. Since making this, I’ve tracked two donation trips and it’s been so much easier. I keep the valuation guide in my desk and also saved the image to my phone. I’ve made a few copies of the donation tracker printable and have them on a clipboard near where I store my donation bag.
There are three pages to the printable, click the image to open the printable, then print or save it.
The first is a valuation guide to see what your items are worth. I condensed this guide from Goodwill onto one easily printed sheet. I only track items in good condition, ones I’d feel good giving to a friend. Use these values at your own discretion and value your items accordingly. And remember, these are ONLY estimates.
The second page is a blank donation tracker.
Write your item in, tally how many you have, write in the value, and multiply to total them up. Don’t forget to write the date that you are donating the item, where you are donating to (including their address). I staple the receipt they give to the back and take a photo of the items I’m donating for further proof. The photos go into a folder on my computer, dated, alongside other tax documents for that year. The donation tracker then goes into a file with tax documents for that year.
The third page is a donation tracker with commonly donated clothing items and their values already filled in.
This is the one I’ll use the most. Kids go through sizes often and I feel like we always have a donation bag going. I printed out a few copies and have them on a clipboard near the bag. As I add in items from the laundry or elsewhere, I mark them down. Pretty easy, huh?
Some Tips For Use
- Only track items in good condition. Ones you would give to a friend.
- Be honest. Don’t value your kid shirts for $10 each, they wouldn’t sell for that. Be reasonable with your values.
- Put poor condition clothing items in a separate, labeled bag. Many organizations will recycle the clothing!
- Remember to also take pictures, keep donation receipts. If you are donating a lot, it might raise a red flag. Snap a quick picture on your phone before donating and keep those receipts.
- Not on the guide? Think about what the item would sell for second hand. Not what you bought it for, not what you think it should go for, but what it would SELL for.
- This is only a guide. I am a blogger, not an accountant. I am not qualified to give tax advice, this only should be used to help track items. I’m not responsible for tax advice, values assigned, or if you get audited. I hope you don’t get audited, but if you do, I’m not responsible. :)
Surprisingly, the subject of tracking donation items can get heated.
I’ve heard people say that they don’t keep track because it’s a hassle that would hold them back from donating. Which is totally true, it’s a pain and I’ve slacked in the past. If you feel this would hold you back from simplifying, don’t use it. (Not that you need my permission, but you have it.)
I’ve also heard people say they don’t want the money back from donating, they are giving to others and want to leave it at that. If this is you, consider this: the money you get back could be used to help others even more. Track the amount you receive back on your taxes and give it to your church or a cause near to your heart.
Here are those printables again if you need them:
And if you’re wondering where to donate items, please read this post on what to do with your stuff.