Cleaning out your apartment isn't just beneficial for you (and your roommates); it can also help someone else if you contribute to the right place. So the next time you choose to free your home of extra stuff, carefully consider where you want it to go. If this is the first time you've seriously decluttered your apartment, use our guide to get started:
Chucking objects you don't need can be a cathartic experience, but it can also be emotional. Sometimes things that carry sentimental value are no longer functional, and it's not always easy to draw the line. When you're trying to purge excessive junk, consider creating three piles: throwing out, keeping, and undecided. If a piece of art or shabby armchair has sentimental worth that makes it unthinkable to part with, then don't. It's better to have to do a few rounds of purging than to bring something to the thrift store that you'll mourn giving up down the road.
Depending on where you'll be bringing your extra stuff, it will need to fulfill different standards. Some secondhand shops only accept things that are in mint or nearly new condition, while others don't care if an item appears gently used or even slightly frayed. If you're getting rid of something just because it's in poor condition, not because you no longer have a use for it, then odds are a local store or charity isn't going to like it, either. So use your best judgment when it comes to donations.
While contributing your extra items could put them directly into the hands of somebody who needs them, many charities need a economic boost instead. For example, if you want to contribute to a charity that doesn't deal in last season's clothes or used furnishings, you might want to consider having a yard sale and then giving away the money you make. Your dollars will make much more of an impact than an old mirror that doesn't fit your current decor for charities that research life-threatening illnesses, donate to conservation measures, or fund humanitarian efforts abroad.
If you ultimately choose to donate your old housewares, clothing, and other expendables, you'll want to consider which company receives them carefully. Contributing to a local charity is the most environmentally-friendly way to go, as your goods won't cause transport fees and suck up the associated energy. But if a local charity doesn't come to mind instantly, it is not hard to find a fitting national organization. For example, books for Africa will ship your gently used paperbacks to pupils in Africa. Dress for Success can put your old suits and business casual clothing into the hands of a woman who's presently interviewing for jobs but doesn't have a professional wardrobe of her own. Habitat for Humanity's ReStore takes your old furniture and arranges them into the houses of deserving families.