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Thrift Shops Issue Specific Guidance on Deduction Amounts for Used Underpants

Have you ever dropped off a sack of crap at the Goodwill and said to yourself, “I’d like to have a defensible estimate of the value of each turd in this sack so that I can properly itemize this non-cash donation for tax purposes”?

Neither have I.

Regardless, several groups, like The Salvation Army and Goodwill, have published “Donation Value Guides” to give you the value of the items that you donated because your garbage can was full.

Some interesting trivia from the Donation Value Guides:

Donated blankets and afghans are valued at $2 – $15. Afghans are probably closer to the low end because of the Taliban.

The value of used stuffed animals is listed at $0.50 – $1.00. That seemed low, so I tested it out with my nine-year-old son, Grady.

ME:        Hey, Grady. Grady. Grady!
GRADY:     What?
ME:         Pause your video game.
GRADY:    What?
ME:        You know your stuffed animal, Harry the Elephant? The one you’ve had since you were a baby and that you couldn’t fall asleep without? Can I buy that from you for 50 cents?
MY WIFE:    No you may not!
ME:        Shut the hell up, woman! You’re not part of this! So can I, Grady?
GRADY:    He’s not for sale.
ME:        How about for a dollar?

That one checks out. says that used single mattresses are worth $18 – $42 and double mattresses are worth $42 – $90. Treatments for mattress-borne hepatitis are about $200 depending on your copay.

Men’s under-shorts are valued at $1.20 to $3.60, whereas kids’ underwear are worth $1.20 to $4.20. Used women’s underpants aren’t listed which seems to imply that they’re worthless; however, in 1993 they were sold for $50 from vending machines in Japan. Put that in today’s dollars, and used women’s underwear should be worth about $75.67. That's far from worthless, but not far from your gag reflex.

One- and two-piece bathing suits can be valued up to $12. That’s a lot of for a small amount of cloth that you know you've peed through.

But instead of taxpayers itemizing their strangely-not-worthless crap, the IRS allows us to claim up to $250 as long as we grab a receipt when we drop off the detritus of our consumer lifestyle. According to The Salvation Army, 83 pairs of used underpants are worth $250, and it's pretty easy for any taxpayer to assume that whatever they drop off is worth as much as 83 pairs of old tighty-whiteys.