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.
I’ve used a similar web-based company, http://www.lketwice.com
As a Canadian, I can’t send clothes to them to be sold, but I’ve been very happy with my experience purchasing used clothing.
I sold a ton of clothes to http://www.liketwice.com when I moved from Chicago to LA. Has anyone used both services who can compare? I wasn’t overjoyed with the amount of money I made from Twice, but I needed to get rid of the clothes and it was a lot easier than regular consignment.
Thanks for this Belle. There is a Buffalo Exchange in the trendy shopping district in my area and it is such a waste of time for me to bring everything up there, watch some 20-something hipsters go through my clothes and have them mostly turn down everything. But the more adult consignment stores are about how you describe, and are basically one step above a Goodwill.
I’m going to give it a try!
Very Erin says:
I’m so glad you posted this! I actually just ordered a bag from ThredUp last night, so I’m curious to see how it goes!
Thanks Belle, this is really helpful and informative. I haven’t tried online consignment stores but have meaning to give Thredup a shot.
FWIW I’ve sold a lot of my old stuff on ebay and there are some brands that sell really well there and some that are duds. (for example, JCrew, lululemon, Anthro dresses tend to sell very well on ebay, bad luck with Nanette Lepore). For some of those, I personally find it worth it to list on ebay…but definitely want to give Thredup a try for other items the next time I go through my closet.
It’s true, some brands do sell well on eBay. I always sold my Kate Spade stuff in 20+ mins with Buy It Now.
I’ve used it twice now. Very happy with the pieces that end up consignment. I sent in two clutches that didn’t hit the $60 consignment price min, so I just received a pay-out for them, and I honestly think they were worth more money, but oh well. For the convenience, the items not sitting in my closet unused, and the overall amount of money I’ve made, it is a quick and easy service.
Both times, they sent back approx 25% of my items (I opted in to the send back), and they are definitely picky (but in a good way).
I’d highly recommend Poshmark. It does take some time to take photos and list everything, but it’s definitely worth it. I’ve made over $3k in 2 years on there selling mostly jcrew and other clothing in that price point. Most everyone is willing to negotiate and you can find some amazing deals.
I tried Poshmark a year or so ago, but everyone who would contact me would want to “trade” instead of pay for my items, so I got annoyed and quit. Do you ever have this problem?
There’s definitely a lot of people into trading, but many more who are there to purchase. I just try to ignore all of the trade requests because it is really annoying. They’ve updated the app recently so you can make private offers, and are offering shipping discounts whenever someone lowers the price of the items they’re selling. They also provide free authentication of high end items now so you don’t have to worry about buying a knockoff.
Thank you for this- sounds like great advice. Please do post your link, too, because I can’t be the only one who would love to shop your closet!
I love ThredUp. They don’t always give the best price possible for your stuff, but it’s so easy that it’s hard to be mad about it.
Heidi // Frantic But Fabulous says:
That’s the way I feel! I’m willing to trade off lower returns for my lower time investment. It’s so easy, anything I make is like gravy.
I’ve been using Thredup for awhile now- I love it! I send them a bag of clothes I no longer want and they pay me for them. I’ve also made purchases from them- I live that they have a great return policy and low shipping charges. And they have a terrific selection!
I’ve tried both Twice (www.liketwice.com) and Thredup and chose to send my nicer items to Twice instead because they offer a cheaper return option ($4.95, I believe, but they will send your whole bag back, you can’t just get the rejected items back). I found both selling experiences to be similar, though I also found that I prefer Thredup because in hindsight, Thredup’s quality control seems a little less arbitrary and Thredup takes a wider range of brands and accessories. The one major downside to Thredup is how slow it is (I started the Twice process a week later and already received my payout almost two weeks ago, while the Thredup payment might take another week).
Belle, awesome find! I just ordered a bag. Do you (or anyone else who has experience with them) feel that they are doing a good job with authentication of items? There’s a Burberry trench in my size, but I’m always leary of buying higher-end items online (ebay) because of authenticity issues.
I think they do a decent job of authentication. I do know that previously if you bought using the mobile app you got free return shipping if you didn’t like the item or it didn’t fit.
I have sold on Twice and had a great experience (very similar to ThredUp). I might try this website for my next closet overhaul!
Thanks for sharing this! Very helpful and timely; I’m doing the Marie Kondo clean out this weekend (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing). She has a different approach I’m looking forward to trying out. I’ve done a lot of purging over the past few years, but want to try a different approach and get better at having a more edited wardrobe. Have tried consignment in previous purges, and didn’t like it. It seems more extreme out here–everybody wants to pay $5 for Chanel or run it like a Goodwill. Thredup looks simple and easy, will check it out.
Can anyone in the DC area compare Current Boutique to ThredUp? That’s where I normally bring my stuff. Current is super picky about what they take (e.g. rejected last season BR suit in perfect condition because “they don’t have room”). That’s my main gripe. For the things they have taken, pricing is okay but getting paid is a pain.
Thredup likes things to be in season (no winter coats in July), and sometimes won’t take blazers, but they never have many suits so that would get snatched up. Just make sure that any suits in the bag are folded together, and maybe labeled so they don’t separate them.
Thanks! I ended up giving it away to Goodwill because I was on a closet cleaning bender, but I will keep ThredUp in mind for next time Current rejects perfectly good items.
I go Current first, Crossroads second, and sell the remainder (or stuff I know the first two won’t take) to ThredUp. ThredUp always takes some, if not all, of the things — and sometimes I’m surprised by what they do take (Old Navy, Forever 21 when my nicer stuff got picked up by the consignment stores).
Crossroads pays out up front although it’s not much.
Buffalo Exchange has rejected brand new, in style, in season brand name clothing (that didn’t fit me) and $300 purses, and they have a ton of crap in their 14th street store, so I’ve stopped trying there.
ThredUp is hit or miss, though: again, they’ll take stuff that surprises me, but I sent a $200 J.Crew purse in my last bag (mint condition, popular color) and they didn’t accept that — so I think I’ll go back to starting with the consignment stores. Not willing to pay the return fee since I’m almost always going to donate something if ThredUp doesn’t take it.
While very late to reply, this is still showing up in Google search results re: Thredup, so I’ll say that I’ve done both and always go to Current first. They don’t take many workwear items, but their prices are WAY better, so I always see it as an annoying but profitable first step and am not offended when they hand back a lot of stuff since I know I’m sticking it in the mail the next day. They also take jewelry, which Thredup doesn’t.
Also find that Thredup is MORE likely than Current to take any season’s items — maybe no winter coats in July but they’ll take pink shoes in January — though because of the price differential I sometimes hold onto things that I think Current will eventually take until that season rolls around.
Sometimes I’ll stop at Crossroads after Current; prices are worse but they’ll take some lower-end clothes that would only net a dollar or two on Thredup. Plus, it’s cash-in-hand, not consignment, and Thredup takes ~6-8 weeks after mailing to process your bag. Have had less success at Buffalo Exchange and stopped going to Second Time Around because of Georgetown traffic/parking.
And by Current doesn’t take much workwear, I mean suits/pants/skirts – they take some tops and lots of workwear dresses. They don’t take many jeans, either.
Sierra Delta says:
I had a terrible experience with Threadflip, and I would not recommend it to anyone, based on what happened to me. I sent them a dozen items, but they were unlisted after three months. Repeated emails to check the status of my order were met with responses that didn’t address my concerns or do anything but ask me to continue to be patient because they were so busy.
Finally I demanded that they return my clothes — but two items were missing, and one is so badly damaged that I can’t sell it. A woman named Kristina sent me a handwritten note asking me to contact her if there were any problems with my returned items. She was never there when I called, nor did she ever return my calls or email me. I have no idea why she even gave me her name and number.
It’s been three months since my clothes were returned to me, but Threadflip has so far refused to compensate me for my lost and damaged items. Caveat emptor!
AGREE. They lost my clothes as well. At least they compensated me for those. The clothes they accepted have been on the website for months. Only 2 items sold. I doubt they even still have my items in store somewhere, so I lost out on money on that.
I just ordered a bag and I’m excited. I can’t be bothered with real consignment or even Ebay– I have some decent stuff but no Prada bags, etc. More like a Reiss jacket that I decided I don’t like, and a zillion more jeans (AG, Citizens, etc) than I need. So much of it I won’t really miss and would otherwise let clog my closet or take to Goodwill. I need it to be easy!
Thank you for this post, Belle. I’ve been curious about Thredup. Glad to know the service works well!
I just had a good experience with ThredUp as well. I took a risk and sent a lot of older items… silk j.crew dress from ’08, coach bag from ’07(great shape…just older) and a lot of newer Loft and J.crew factory items. They accepted almost everything, and I received a much larger payout than I expected. All of these items have been on poshmark for a year. I decided not to buy the insurance because I would end up donating everything anyways. NOTE: They did not accept the two barely worn j.crew dress pants I sent in. Although, they do say they don’t often accept suiting.
I had a great experience with my first bag, but then my second bag was a disaster. ThredUp had sent me an email stating that they were behind in processing bags and wanted to offer the same amount they paid me for the first bag. I turned them down because there were twice as many items in the second bag, and I believe they penalized me for not accepting their offer. They bought my second bag for *exactly* half of the price of the first bag. Exactly half. Then, when I spent my money, my order sat in their warehouse for over a week for “processing” and then took 10 days when they finally got around to mailing the package to me. So just beware. I will never ever use ThredUp again. It just isn’t worth it to me.
I just got a NWT Trina Turk cocktail dress for $17 using a promo code for new customers. Sold. Thanks for the rec!
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Heidi // Frantic But Fabulous says:
In addition to selling with ThredUp, I’ve also bought. Both items were really nice quality at a decent price (helped by the fact that I had a coupon code). I’d definitely consider shopping there again.
I have just started to sell items online. I chose to sell my fist item on Tradesy, and with the right pricing, it sold fast. The only drawback is you get money to spend on their site, not actual cash. I had no issue with that since I had a few things already picked out to buy.
I’ve had some success on ebay with handbags – Orla Kiely, MZ Wallace, etc.
I started using Poshmark and Vinted this week. Poshmark seems like the wild west to me, but we’ll see how it goes.
Shelby- I sell on Tradesy a lot and always get cash payouts. There’s a small fee but you can get the money sent to your checking account.