Every two months, I like to look through my closet and remove the pieces I haven’t worn in a while. The general guideline being if I haven’t worn it in six months and have no plans to wear it soon, it goes to make room for something else. Some items are taken to Goodwill, but I sell most of my gently used clothing at consignment shops and (rarely) on eBay.
When I lived in D.C., I would take my gently used clothing to Reddz in Georgetown. They paid cash up front, took most of what I brought, and occasionally, I found something on the racks that I couldn’t live without. But when I moved West, I discovered consignment shops filled with heavily worn, low-quality clothing, and rounders so full that you would never be able to find the diamonds in the rough.
What’s a girl to do?
Poshmark and Threadflip seemed promising, but much like the consignment stores, they are too overrun to elicit a quick sale. I also didn’t want to take the time to photograph all of my items, answer buyer questions, and haggle over prices.
How You Start. When I want to sell a few pieces, I order a ThredUp bag. It arrives in 3-or-so business days. The bag is basically a large, sturdy envelope that you fill with clothing, shoes, bags, etc. You mail it back to them, and they review the pieces and decide what they’ll take. If you pay a small fee, the items they don’t take will be mailed back to you, otherwise they donate them.
What Clothing Will They Accept? ThredUp accepts gently used women’s and children’s clothing. But it is not the place to unload your heavily worn pieces, the clothes left over from your intern days, or that Gap sweater you bought on sale last year. They’re a bit particular, but they do a great job of letting you know what brands and items they’re looking for and offering you an estimate of what that item might earn.
How They List Your Items. If they decide to keep an item, they’ll either buy it upfront or put it on consignment. They generally pay you a flat fee for less expensive items, and set a consignment price for designer pieces.
I sent them ten pieces. Nine were listed for sale, one was returned to me. The only thing they bought upfront was a Zara scarf, for which I made $3. 60 days later, seven of my eight consignment pieces have sold for between $23 and $138. They set the initial consignment price, but you can adjust it for a quicker sale or if you think something is undervalued. I found their valuations to be fair, and lowered the prices on a couple of items to get them to sell.
They Do All the Work and Take a Cut. Unlike eBay, Threadflip, or Poshmark, ThredUp prices the items, photographs them, describes them, and facilitates the entire sale. They’re up front about what percentage you’ll receive from each item (it varies), but I felt they more than earned their share of the proceeds.
How Long Does It Take? If they take items upfront, it takes about three weeks for them to go through the bag and issue a valuation. They list and value your consignment pieces at the same time.
Consignment items are listed on the site for 84 days, and you can reclaim them any time after the first week if you change your mind. Several of my pieces sold in the first two weeks, a few lingered longer.
How You Get Paid. Once an item sells, it takes a few weeks for the payment to be transferred into your account. At that point, you can use the money to buy other items on the site or cash out. You can receive your money via Paypal, donate it to a cause like Feeding America, or take it as a gift card. Right now, they’re partnering with Sole Society to give you a $50 gift card for $25 of your payout.
You can also use ThredUp to fundraise. So instead of bake sale for the charity, have all the ladies ship their clothes to ThredUp and donate the profits. That’s much better than a bake sale.
Looking to Buy? ThredUp has a well-edited selection of pieces. Like all consignment shops, you have to search a little, but you can buy stylish, good quality items at fair prices. There’s also a fair amount of turnover so the selection refreshes regularly. I suggest sorting by size, and then hunting for the brands you like.
Bottom Line. I was really happy with my ThredUp experience. I sold most of what I sent in, did very little work, and made a fair price on everything that sold. In fact, in most cases, I earned more than I would have made at a consignment shop.
I already ordered a second bag for a “spring break” closet cleanout, and I hope the first experience can be replicated. I’ll post the link to my “wardrobe family” site when the items list, in case any of you want to shop Belle’s closet.
I would suggest sending a few of your better pieces and paying the $12 to have what they don’t take returned to you. If you make some money, awesome. If they don’t like what you sent or if the items don’t sell, you’ll get them back and only be out the return fee.
About This Post. I know some of you will wonder, so let me pre-empt you: I did not work with ThredUp on this post. I was not compensated for this post. I simply found the site through a Google search, gave it a try, was happy with my experience, and wrote about it because I thought my readers might find the site useful for shopping and selling.