Raleigh, N.C. — Many people clear out their closets after Christmas – whether to make room for gifts or to simply start the new year with a clean slate. Those who donate unwanted goods to charity can see two benefits. In addition to helping others, charitable contributions can add up to tax deductions.
The week between Christmas and New Year's is traditionally the most busy of the year for charitable donations across eastern North Carolina.
The Goodwill Community Foundation accepts clothing, household items, toys and even holiday gifts that are not quite right. Representatives suggest this rule of thumb: If you would consider giving something to a relative or friends, it is in good enough condition to donate.
GCF sells donated items to pay for jobs in its stores and training programs that include computer techniques, career planning and life skills.
At the Salvation Army, store manager Harold Clyburn is a beneficiary. He was addicted to drugs and alcohol before the Salvation Army helped turn his life around.
"One time I was one of the one of the ones that needed help and the Salvation Army was there for me," he said.
Stanley Young brought a truckload of donations Saturday to the Salvation Army Store and Donation Center in Raleigh.
"If anyone else can benefit from the items as opposed to just discarding them in the trash can, I like to see someone benefit from it," Young said.
Edward Lawrence was conscious of the year-end deadline in dropping off some pillows.
"We tried these and they just weren't that comfortable, so we said let's go get some more," he said. "We wanted to get it in before the end of the year. Any deduction you can get helps."
In order to get that tax break, donors should keep an itemized list of what they give and ask for a receipt from the charity. The IRS allows a deduction for each item donated, with the assumption that donors estimate a fair market value.
Donations must be made by Dec. 31 to qualify for deductions on 2011 taxes. GCF stores are open New Year's Eve until 6 p.m. The Salvation Army Family Store and Donation Center in Raleigh is open until 8 p.m.