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.
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!
ME: Pause your video game.
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.
DonationGuide.com 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.