A sure way to realize that New Year’s resolution to de-clutter is to give things away. And while donating clothing or household items to a non-profit organization might improve a home’s feng shui, it is sure to help someone else. The YWCA Evanston/North Shore, the Junior League of Evanston-North Shore, the local Salvation Army Thrift Store and the Evanston School Children’s Clothing Association (ESCCA) have collection programs in Evanston. So do some large non-profit agencies, such as Amvets, Purple Heart, Vietnam Veterans and America’s Disabled. Pickups or drop-offs, clothing or appliances, the nearly new or gently worn — with all those options, choosing among the beneficiaries can be difficult. Most appear to use their profits for compelling projects, several of which are local. But rarely do potential donors hear the whole story – the destination of donated clothes, how proceeds are used, the mission of the organization. To help readers make an informed choice, the RoundTable compiled some information. First to return our call was Bryan Glaza of Southwest Management Co., the trucking operation that contracts home pickups for Purple Heart and Vietnam Veterans of America. He says Southwest delivers the goods to Unique Thrift Stores, which operates a chain of secondhand shops in Chicago. Unique, he says, buys everything in bulk, sight unseen: “The buyer takes the risk.” Money from these sales funds the not-for-profit groups’ work with military veterans and families. Close to home, the Junior League of Evanston-North Shore has operated the Junior League Thrift House, now located at 920 Chicago Ave., since 1940. Store manager Patricia Uhe says they welcome donations of clothing “in good, saleable condition.” She suggests donors ask themselves, “Would I buy it?” Donations, including out-of-season items, may be brought anytime during store hours, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The shop, staffed by Junior League volunteers, offers free vouchers to women referred by local agencies, such as shelters. A $25 voucher will buy the recipient an outfit for an interview, says Ms. Uhe. Thrift House also has a small men’s section, a housewares department and a good selection of children’s clothing and baby clothes and toys, she says. Profits from the shop fund community projects that support women in need. “Our prices are good,” says Ms. Uhe, adding that many of their shoppers can pay full price. Otherwise, she says, “If people come to me, I’ll work with them.” The YWCA Evanston-North Shore began installing drop boxes to collect shoes, clothing and linens – no furniture, appliances or other hard goods – at various Evanston locations one and a half or 2 years ago, says Y communications manager Julie McBratney. The program expanded last year after six Northwestern University students took on the clothing drive as a class project. Along with ramping up the Y’s marketing efforts, the students targeted more spots to install the boxes, says Ms. McBratney. At present there are nine in Evanston: at the YWCA, Bryan’s Garage, Schwartzenhoff Cleaners, Marshall’s, Evanston Citgo, Walgreen’s on Green Bay Road, CVS on Central Street, TJ Maxx and 7-Eleven on Dodge Avenue. The YWCA Evanston-North Shore took its cue from the Lake County YWCA in contracting with Charity Clothing Pick-Up Services, she says. Charity Clothing, she says, installs, services and maintains the boxes, then sells the soft goods they pick up from the boxes at their three Chicago thrift stores. “They try to locate their stores in lower-income neighborhoods,” says Ms. McBratney, “where they provide [inexpensive] clothing and employment.” Charity Clothing pays the YW by volume, she says. The proceeds, which last year totaled $4,000, go to the Y’s domestic violence services. Provided free of charge, they include a 24-hour crisis line, a shelter, face-to-face community counseling for women not ready to leave home, and six transitional housing units for women who have completed a stay in the shelter. ESCCA’s goal is to make sure each District 65 pupil has a week’s worth of clothes to wear to school. Volunteers sort and categorize donated clothing so that parents and children who come to be outfitted can find appealing shirts and pants in their size. In addition to the second-hand wardrobe, the children receive a new coat, jeans, shoes and boots, and underwear and socks. While they always appreciate good clothes for younger children, says one volunteer, ESCCA especially needs “sharp clothes” for middle-school students. Donors may leave clothing in the drop-box to the west of the District 65 Administration Building, 1500 McDaniel Ave. at any time. The Salvation Army Thrift Store, 528 Kedzie Ave., accepts nearly every kind of donation except recalled items such as baby cribs and car seats, says Major Larry Manzella, an administrator in the central office. “We don’t turn anything away,” says Evanston store manager Joe Adams. Donations can be brought to the shop anytime between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Those with furniture and other goods can call 1-800-95T-RUCK to schedule a pick-up. Profits from the thrift store fund the Salvation Army adult rehabilitation center at Clybourne and Ashland in Chicago, says Major Manzella. The 135-bed facility provides housing, food, training, counseling and spiritual guidance to drug addicts and alcoholics, who stay as long nine months, he says. Residents gain experience and, sometimes, credentials, while working in the organization’s kitchens, stores or trucks or in other jobs. The lease for the Evanston thrift store is up in November, says the Major. The organization is “looking for another location in the area,” he says, because they appreciate that Evanston “folks are generous” and that both college students and locals patronize the shop. “A lot of guys get their life together [through the Salvation Army program],” says the Major. “Buyers don’t realize the impact of their purchases.”