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Goodwill braces for New Year's rush
Items must be donated by Dec. 31 to get tax deduction
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Christiana Mincey, center, and Monica Williams process donated clothes at Goodwill Industries of Statesboro Tuesday. Goodwill is preparing for the rush of donations this week as donors clean out their closets and homes after Christmas. Donations made by December 31 are tax deductible.
    Christmas is over, and it's closet-cleaning time. People everywhere are making room for the new gifts they received, but many aren't simply tossing the old items — they're taking them to Goodwill.
     It's not just the kind thing to do — there's a benefit to the generosity. Donated items can be sold to fund the Goodwill cause, which helps people with disabilities and other limitations live independently and find employment. But another great benefit to the donors comes in the form of tax deductions.
    The clothes you no longer wear, or even the ones you never wore that still have tags on them — could help fatten your tax refund or reduce your tax bill.
    But hurry — you only have until Thursday to make that donation for it to count toward your 2009 taxes.
    Goodwill takes all sorts of items — furniture, clothing, toys, books, housewares, jewelry and more. The local Goodwill store on Highway 80 East near Lowe's recently had a flat screen television for sale, said Division Manager Tony Brown.
    This is the busiest time of year for donations, he said. While normally “we have 250-300 donors a week, we'll have that many on Thursday alone,” he said.
    Brown did say donations are down a bit this year in the tough economy.
    “I think people are holding onto their items longer or having a garage sale they might not have had in the past,” Brown said.
    Brown also said the store in the College Plaza shopping center behind Wendy's was closed earlier this month, so all donations need to be dropped off at the store on Highway 80 East.
    Most people do end up cleaning out closets to make room for new Christmas gifts at this time of year, but the majority of donors at this time are thinking tax deductions, he said.
    A donor can come to the drive-through donation doors, and an attendant is there to help unload and to give donors receipts for the donated items.
    However, it's “up to your accountant” as to the value of the donations. Goodwill doesn't give a value for the receipt, it just lists the items donated, he said.
    “We don't determine anything,” as far as value, Brown said.
    The largest number of donated items is clothing, he said. But almost anything can be donated.
    Today and Thursday will be the busiest days of the season for Goodwill, he said. The store's donation area will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and the store opens at 9 a.m., he said.
     James Healy contributed to this report.
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