As you empty your closets and basement to donate household items to charity during the holidays, keep in mind that charities need goods, not junk. That may sound harsh. Certainly the impulse to give is admirable, whether it’s money or “stuff” that’s being given. But I often hear people who work for nonprofits that accept non-cash donations say that donors frequently blur the lines between goods and junk. Maybe it’s because things seem more valuable to us simply because they’ve been part of our lives. Or maybe we think we’ll just let the charity decide — if someone can use it, great; if not, they can pitch it. The trouble is that charities often spend precious resources in trash removal of unusable donated items — money that would otherwise be spent on programs and services. Another important reason to objectively assess the utility of used possessions: new tax law requires donated goods to be in good, usable condition in order to claim a tax deduction. So, be generous, judicious, and law-abiding! Thank you for using our information at www.smartgivers.org to make smartgiving choices. The hard working staff at the Charities Review Council wishes you a generous, safe and happy holiday.