Are you among the many people I know (or pretend to know, on Facebook) who spent a goodly part of New Year’s Day going through closets and basements, figuring out what stuff can be gotten rid of? I’ve now got a trunkload of stuff waiting to go to the Salvation Army, and more boxes yet to be examined.
It seems that bigger homes don’t always lead to more living space — they sometimes just become bigger repositories in which to pile stuff up!
One of the best articles I’ve found online for tips on how to sell, donate, or otherwise get rid of stuff is this one, “Declutter Your Life,” from last May’s Kiplinger.
An important point not to skip over with regards to donating goods to charity is where the article says, “be sure to get a receipt.” In my experience, charities that take donated goods are very casual about this — I often have to ask for a receipt, and they don’t fill in the blanks to say what you’ve donated. (Do it yourself before you forget!) You won’t need to actually send these receipts with your tax returns, but you will need to show them to any IRS agent who might show up to audit you.
What to keep around the house is also an important consideration for homeowners. Here are some Nolo articles to help with this:
- “Documents to Save From Your Home Closing“
- “Tax Reasons to Keep Good Records of Home Improvements“
- “How Long Should You Keep Tax Papers?“
- “Practical Estate Planning: Organize Your Documents“
Nolo’s also got a helpful product: “Get It Together: Organize Your Records So Your Family Won’t Have To,” by Shae Irving, J.D., and Melanie Cullen. Happy New Year, and happy decluttering!