Donate household items and get a tax break

Your big cleanup project is almost complete, and you’ve discovered some household items that you just don’t need or want anymore. They’re in decent shape, and you’d hate to throw them away.

What do you do now? You could clean, price, and sell them at a garage sale, but that’s a lot of work and garage sales aren’t exactly popular during the winter months. So, why not donate them instead? They’ll find a new use in someone else’s home, and you’ll get a financial benefit because your donation is tax-deductible.

Donate household items by the book

Here’s what you need to know about donating gently-used household items for resale:

Donate to an organization approved by the IRS. You may not know that you can’t donate household items to just any resale organization for a tax break.

If you want a tax deduction, the organization must be approved by the IRS to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions. The agency makes it easy to check with its online list. Charity Navigator is also a great resource.

Check valuation tools. If you’re genuinely unsure how to assess the value of an item, don’t guess. Consumer Reports has done the legwork for you by testing three tax software programs: H&R Block, TaxAct, and TurboTax. The editors judged TaxAct to be the most favorable to contributors. You can also check out ReStore’s Donation Valuation guide to see a list of typical ReStore items.

Set values on the low side

Try to view each household item through the filter of a buyer inspecting it at a thrift store. What would he or she be willing to pay? Consider the quality, age, and usefulness of an item, and err on the low side rather than the high side. Hold onto the receipts from your donation.

The organization should give you a receipt for your donated items. The receipt should include your name, the organization’s name, the date, and a description of the items you have donated. This receipt alone will suffice if the value of your donation is $500 or less. For donations over $500, you must fill out and attach IRS Form 8283. Retain all documentation, just in case the IRS audits you.

Benefits of Choosing ReStore for your Donation

You’ll walk away with far more than a receipt when you donate to Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Besides the tax deduction, you’ll also help us keep good, reusable items out of landfills. (In 2016, alone, ReStore kept 960 tons of reusable items out of landfills!) Plus, 100 percent of the proceeds from your donation will help support Habitat’s mission to “eliminate poverty housing from the Twin Cities and to make decent, affordable shelter for all people a matter of conscience.” Last year, revenue from our stores helped sponsor the building of six new Habitat homes!

ReStore accepts household items such as appliances, building materials, doors, flooring, furniture, hardware, kitchen cabinets, plumbing products, and windows. Check our website for a complete list of accepted items.

You can drop off items at either of our store locations. If you have a large number of items to donate, the ReStore will pick them up for free.

We hope you’ll choose ReStore as your preferred donation spot for gently used household items. Our team would love to help put your items to good use.


—Information by TC Habitat for Humanity, ReStore