services 04.22.03

Spring Cleaning

When you need to clean out your apartment, here are a few of the places that would be happy for your old stuff.

· Bicycles
The New York Cyclists runs a not-for-profit bike shop at 301 Cathedral Pkwy [CPW] 212.864.4449, where they teach kids how to repair bikes and arrange cycling trips. They'll take bikes with a frame in good condition but will replace tires. If you can't get it to them, they'll arrange a pickup.

· Books
Housing Works' Used Book Cafe, 126 Crosby [Houston/Prince] 212.334.3324, doesn't buy, but accepts just about any book and gives you a receipt for tax purposes. You can make walk-in donations during store hours, call if you need a pickup. They also take CDs and records. All of the profits go to the organization's great work for people with HIV and AIDS.

· Computers
The Hearts and Minds Organization has a list of groups in New York (which includes Hearts and Minds itself) that could make use of your old computer. Find the list here.

· Estate Clean Out
Tepper Galleries, 110 E. 25th [Park Ave. S.] 212.677.5300, auctions off estates, buying the contents or accepting them on consignment. They'll come to your apartment for a free verbal estimate (there is a fee for written estimates).

· Furniture
Furnish a Future, run by the Partnership for the Homeless, maintains a selection of furniture for families who are relocating from shelters into housing. They especially need couches, chests of drawers, bedroom and living room sets, as well as clothing. To donate, you can call 718.875.5353 or drop off at any Manhattan Mini-Storage (click here and then on 'Partners' for locations).

· Household Stuff
Materials for the Arts supplies nearly 3000 arts programs with things you might otherwise be throwing away. They prefer you drop off whenever possible, M, W, F from 9-3. They don't take oil base paint, food, clothing, and beds or bedding and suggest you call ahead to discuss your donation, 718.729.3001 ext. 207. The address is 33-00 Northern Boulevard, Long Island City. They especially need office chairs, computers, dishes, silverware, fabric, frames, office supplies, wallpaper and home decorating supplies.
What to know about giving your stuff away: Many charities make money from running a used-goods shop. They don't have the facilities to fix or repair things you donate. So, your stuff has to be in "resalable condition". Rule of thumb: if you wouldn't buy it, you probably can't give it away.

Owning a truck and employing drivers is an expense many charities can't take on. Those who own or rent trucks will want to be sure that what they're coming to get can be sold for more than the pickup costs. And your perfectly good end table may be turned down if they have a lot of end tables. Almost no one wants mattresses.

You're entitled to deduct the "fair market value" of the goods, which means the resale price. The more you give, the more important documentation becomes to the IRS.


Christopher Street

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