Mission: closet makeover using money from tax deductible donations
What’s in it for me: an organized closet, good karma for helping others, and nearly a $100 in tax deductions
How did I do it? Just as with many organizing projects, you accomplish it in small steps. You can give your closet a makeover and give yourself money back through tax deductible donations that just may pay for your any items you need for the closet makeover. I did it and you can too.
Step one: Re-purpose your damaged goods. Take any clothing, shoes, and accessories out that are damaged goods. If your favorite pair of jeans has a hole in it, put it in a pile for damaged goods. Show no mercy. Ask yourself, how long has it been in the closet without me wearing it? A week? Two? More than six weeks?
If you have kept it thinking you were going to repair it, either do it today or up-cycle them into something else. Same goes for any clothing items that have stains, holes, broken zippers, or rips. Because they are damaged goods you can’t donate them. So, either toss them out or go green and find a way to re-fashion them to another use.
My favorite way to get more life out of damaged clothing is to cut them up into small cleaning cloths. This saves me money and is a greener way of dealing with ruined clothes. I don’t use paper towels in my home ever. It started as a pledge a year ago and even though I found it hard to believe at the time that I could give up my paper towel use, I can’t believe now that I didn’t give them up sooner.
Save money. Be green. Re-use old clothing as cleaning cloths for dusting, scrubbing, and spills. I keep mine in the IRIS small storage bin in my laundry room. If you are crafty, keep a few of the more visually interesting pieces for up-cycled craft projects. Store these pieces of fabric in a water tight storage container labeled for this purpose. I use the Store-N-Slide file box by IRIS. Always remove and keep the buttons. Buttons are great for craft projects or for replacements on your clothing. I store all my buttons in a 2.4 quart deep stacker box in my laundry room.
Step two: Clear out all the clothing you never wear. Take a picture of it as you pack it away in a box to donate to your favorite charity. (You’ll want this a little later – and you can delete it off your phone or camera when you’re done.)
Step three: Remove any clothing that is out of season. You can store out of season clothing somewhere else other than in your closet. At the change of seasons, swap your closet out. I store all of my out of season clothing in an ultimate clear box because it is airtight and water-resistant. Clearly label and store your box (or boxes) in your attic or basement. Swap them out at the change of seasons. Look at how much more room you have made in your closet already and we aren’t even done yet!
Step four: Remove any clothing you have not worn for 6 weeks or longer (excluding special formal wear). Six weeks is the duration of a typical maternity leave and unless you have been on maternity leave (in which case your body is changing and you may fit into those clothes again), it is time to donate it. You don’t love it or even like it if you don’t wear it. Might as well make money for your closet makeover by donating it. Remember to take photos of each garment as you pack them away for donation.
Step five: Look over what is left. Anything that has not been worn for 4 weeks is on probation. Everything that has not been worn for six weeks should already be gone. Ask yourself, do I love it? If the answer is yes, why don’t I wear it? Do I like it? Same thing. If the answer is yes, why don’t I wear it? If you have room in your closet, put your probationary items back in but really try to evaluate over the next few weeks if these items would be put to better use by donating them. Remember that tax deductible items can put money in your pocket to invest in your closet organization makeover or towards clothes you actually love to wear.
Step six: Consider using a charity calculator like Turbo Tax’s ItsDeductible. I decided to try out this service when I did my closet makeover. The service was free so I figured I had nothing to lose, but time in giving it a whirl. Find it online here. The first page is going to ask for your basic information – name, city, state, and income. Then, you are taken to a page that gives you four categories: items, money, stock, and mileage. Here is where taking all those photos are going to come in handy. It is going to ask you to evaluate the individual clothing items that you have donated and the value of the deductions is based off of these evaluations. The photo can help you remember what condition the clothing is in and also be used as proof of itemization for your tax records. It only took me 15 minutes to do this. The calculator gave me a $96.83 tax savings!
Step seven: Here is where the fun part comes in. With a $96.83 tax savings, I could help organize my closet even more efficiently (on top of clearing out all the space from the donations) with effective organizing products. I already had an over-the-door hanging shoe rack that I hung up on the back of my closet door. All those shoes were up and off the floor in an organized and easy to see shoe storage product. My shoe rack is similar to Whitmor’s tan 24 pocket shoe storage. If you don’t have one already, consider getting one to clear out space in your closet and to keep your shoes protected. I decided my sweaters needed to be stacked more efficiently on the top shelf of my closet. As it was, they were always tossed up on top and inevitably they ended up in a big chaotic jumble. Using my tax deductible charitable donations savings, I decided on chrome shelf dividers. Each set comes with two dividers and I got 2 sets at $9.99 each. In order to create more hanging space in my closet and make it easier to see what clothes I have, I used Kascade hangers. These hangers have notches on the ends to keep my shirts from sliding off and they connect creating a cascading effect. These hangers are a great space saving solution for $29.99.
For half of what I am saving through tax deductions, I was able to buy some products that added to my organization and space saving closet makeover. If you were to buy all of the products I mentioned because you don’t have any of them, you could still save a tremendous amount of money on your closet makeover. You might even save more depending on how many items you have in your closet to donate. My closet makeover cost me $50 with a tax deduction savings of nearly $100, leaving me with $50 leftover to … shop for more clothes! If I had to buy all of the products I mentioned here at once, my tax deductions would still have covered the cost of my makeover: the total cost coming to approximately $94. With a $96.83 in tax deductible deductions, not a penny spent for a closet makeover.
Get my makeover with these products: