Tips for the Holiday Season: Decluttering and Donating
Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
Right before the holiday season arrives is the perfect time to declutter, organize, and ditch your extra stuff. You’re not only about to receive a lot more stuff, but decluttering your home will also help keep some of that holiday-induced stress at bay. And decluttering before the end of the year could also help you with a tax deduction in April.
One of the hardest parts about decluttering is finding a place to start. Some people like to start with the easy tasks first, but I like to jump into the biggest job. If I get nothing else decluttered, at least I’ve tackled that big problem that nags me the most. For me, it’s usually the garage and the hall closet. Where does your clutter pile up?
Rules of decluttering
Before you start decluttering, keep the following four rules in mind:
Some great places to declutter in your house are the kids’ rooms, the kitchen, and the living room. Help your children go through their old toys and identify what they’ve outgrown, no longer play with, or don’t like. This is easier right before the holidays than it may be at other times of the year because you can tell the kids that their toys will go to kids who don’t have any. It’s a great way to declutter as well as to teach a life lesson of compassion.
The kitchen is typically the most-used part of a home and often gathers clutter quickly. Check through your gadgets and appliances—are there any you don’t need or can store somewhere else?
Since it is the holiday season, get rid of old decorations. People tend to let their decorations pile up without editing them down. So this year, check through what you already have and get rid of what you won’t use.
Rules of donating
If all this decluttering and organizing results in big piles of donations, that’s great—for both your community and your tax deduction. It’s actually quite easy to get a deduction on your taxes, but you need to follow these three rules, particularly if the value of your donation is more than $500:
Taking photos or videos of the items can easily check off the first two. You can also get receipts from companies like Goodwill when you donate. If you’re busy around the holidays, leave it at photos and a list. You can take care of the itemizing of your donations at tax time using software like ItsDeductible, from Intuit, or DeductionPro, from H&R Block, to find the value of your goods. If anything you donate is worth more than $5,000, though, you will need a written appraisal.
If you have collectibles or other higher-priced items to get rid of, consider selling them on eBay or Craigslist. You won’t get a tax deduction, but you could still earn a little extra holiday spending cash.
Michelle Stoffel Huffman is a researcher and staff writer for Think Glink Inc. Prior to joining Think Glink, Michelle worked for the Chicago Tribune as a daily news reporter and community manager, covering local government, business, tax issues and crime. She now specializes in real estate industry news, consumer financial reporting and home design and decor. She is a graduate of DePaul University in Chicago.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.