Broker Check

Downsizing Made Easier

| September 29, 2014
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If you don’t have a friend or relative in this situation, I’ll bet you know someone who does:  after a lifetime of accumulating prized possessions to decorate the family home and/or preserve keepsakes, heirlooms and memories, the time comes when the need to keep the house full of “stuff” no longer exists.  It could be when the children all grow up and leave the family home.  It could occur when an aging parent decides to move closer to one of his or her children.  Or it could happen when one parent dies and the other parent just can’t live alone any more.

Regardless of the reason, clearing out a lifetime of “stuff” from a family home can be a daunting task, and it is often the reason many aging parents never get around to it on their own: it’s just too much to deal with.  Better to leave it for the kids to do – someday.  Well, when that “someday” comes, there is a helpful local service you might want to check into.  It’s called the “White Glove Service” and it’s run by our local Goodwill Manasota.

Developed for people that need to move and either can’t, or don’t want to take all of their belongings with them, Goodwill’s White Glove Service will actually come to your home and do the time-consuming task of packing up and taking away all of those items you have determined you no longer want or need, and they will also give you an itemized donation receipt you can use as a charitable deduction for your taxes.  How easy is that?  Here’s the best part:  the service is FREE!

The process is fairly simple.  When planning a move, the potential donor (or someone acting on his/her behalf) will contact the White Glove Service for a consultation visit.  At this visit, a White Glove representative will evaluate the size of the job and work out the details of when they can come in and pack up the home.  Their specially-trained staff (who are bonded and insured) then go into the home on the appointment date, pack all of the items to be donated with care and transport everything to Goodwill for resale in their stores.

It’s usually easier for both parties if the donor has already removed or segregated the items they want to keep so the White Glove team can take the rest.    It also works best if Goodwill is taking a large quantity of items – including some furniture – out of the home. The reason they can do this for free is because Goodwill obtains a sufficient quantity of donated items to justify the trip.  For smaller jobs, Goodwill Manasota has a home pickup service, which doesn’t involve a packing service.  To reach the home pickup service, call 941-351-8946.

And what about your tax deduction for making this donation?  Goodwill provides a receipt with some detail of what is donated, and it’s up to the donor to fill in the rest.  The charity cannot put a value on the items donated:  that is up to the donor  – and the IRS!  Taxpayers are able to deduct up to $4,999 in value of items donated on a single receipt without having to get a professional appraisal.   And what if the household has more than $5,000 worth of items to donate?  They can sometimes get two receipts from White Glove, or White Glove will refer the donor to a local personal property appraiser to make sure they get the correct value for tax purposes.

Goodwill Manasota began this service for our community a few years ago because they saw a large unmet need:  the need to clear out a household when downsizing is called for during what could be a sensitive or difficult life transition.  The White Glove team understands that their donors have spent a lifetime collecting possessions – and how difficult the decision can be to let things go. Each team member works with care and consideration to help donors make this transition.  And at the end of the day, donors can feel good about their donation: the money received from the sale of their donations helps Goodwill create jobs and economic success for people with disabilities and other barriers to employment. Donors receive the satisfaction of knowing that their valuable donations are changing lives through the power of work!

Donna Evans, the Director of Goodwill Manasota’s White Glove Service recently told me, “We try to make this process as painless and easy as possible for our donors. We eliminate the physically labor-intensive job of packing, and provide emotional support as well.”  Donna said that she and her team (who wear blue uniforms) have been nicknamed “the blue angels” by some of their grateful donors, and at the end of many home visits, in exchange for giving the donor their donation receipt, they often get a hug in return!  Now that’s “downsizing made easier!”

If you or a loved one would like to know more about this unique White Glove Service, please call Donna Evans, Director of White Glove Service, at 941.355.2721, x131 or reach out to her by email at [email protected] You can also visit Goodwill’s website at to learn more about Goodwill Manasota.

Goodwill, SRQ Wealth Management and LPL Financial are unaffiliated entities.

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