ReUse centers are very special places. They accept all kinds of materials that no one else would look at. At a reuse center, you may find scraps of foam core, piles of ribbons, boxes of broken crayons. Or maybe paint and tile leftover from a construction project. Or textbooks that are still usable but have been replaced by a newer edition. Artists love the Creative Reuse Warehouse. Rehabbers love Habitat for Humanity's Habitat ReStores. (The nearest one to Chicago is in Chicago Heights.) And teachers look on SCARCE as a treasure trove.
Thrift shops are certainly one of the most successful "recycling" methods of our time. Of course, that's because they're really about reuse, which is one step ahead of recycling. And because they benefit so many people without requiring a lot of sacrifice on the part of anyone.
You really can't find a better option for giving still usable items a second life than donating them to a charity you support. It's a win-win-win-win situation. You get your old but still perfectly nice jacket out of the closet, someone else gets to buy it cheap and be thrilled with it, and the cause you believe in gets a financial boost. And in many cases, people get work sorting, cleaning, fixing, and selling your stuff. Oh, and you get a tax deduction. How many "wins" is that?
In Chicago alone, there are hundreds of thrift shops. Pick one near you or one that you want to support and drop off your usable stuff. If it's not usable, it will probably end up in the thrift shop's dumpster, and that's not what you want.
You might also think about buying things in thrift shops. In addition to benefiting the environment, you can often get higher quality than you could afford buying new.