thredUP Online Thrifting Review

As part of my commitment to the planet (both the ecosystem and ethics), I’ve decided to start thrifting for all of my thrift-able clothing needs. There has been a lot of talk recently about how fast fashion is bad. The clothes are largely polyester (though, so are expensive brands these days). Those plastic fibers wash off of our clothes and into the ocean. They use a lot of water for production. And then there’s the bit where we have children working in the factories.

Thrifting doesn’t solve all of these problems. The clothes are still polyester a lot of the time. I’ve bought a Cora Ball to try to help mitigate that. And while I’m not personally doing a lot of damage to sweatshops by not buying their clothes directly, it does make me feel better.

And then there’s the bit where thrifting can be a lot cheaper. That certainly helps.

I visit a lot of thrift stores in person, but used a friend’s referral code for $10 off to try thredUP. Then I went down the thredUP rabbit hole for a bit. I’ve got a code that you can use here. I get $10 and you get $10 when you make your first order.

Buying From thredUP

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Pros:

– Huge selection of items. You can sort by brand, size, color, and price, which is a nice advantage over in person thrifting.
– Nearly always have an additional percent off deal, and you can start with $10 off from a referral.
– Discounts are good. They aren’t what you’d get from my local thrift stores, but this will depend on your area and how good your thrift stores are. Shoe prices have been the same as eBay for me.

Cons:
– Listings are often inaccurate. I sold items that all fit me correctly but were listed with bust sizes that I can’t fit into.
– Returns aren’t worth it. Most items are subject to a $0.99 restocking fee, and then return shipping is inexplicably $8.99. Shipping TO you is like $5.

Here’s my favorite find so far: a pair of pointy, dark burgundy work shoes. New with tags and packaging intact.
Dark burgundy (though they look black here) Rocket Dog shoes. The toes are pointed and they've got a bunch of straps. I love them.

Selling with thredUP

Guys, I was warned. I saw a lot of people talking about how low their payouts were. I thought that they must not be sending in the appropriate brands or were being picky. Of course the payout isn’t going to be the same as personally selling your items on eBay or Poshmark. I steeled myself. I was prepared.

I was not quite prepared.

I was in the midst of a hardcore spring clean while we were working on getting our house. I wasn’t about to move a bunch of clothes that I wasn’t going to wear. That’s a waste of my time. So I purged.

Image of two full trash bags of unwanted clothing.

Then I waited a week, because that was exhausting. Then I spent another hour of my life sorting through these clothes and pulling out the thredUP approved brands.

The same clothes, but now half of them are in a thredUP bag with green polka dots.

I had twenty items that all fit their guidelines. I figured that the lowest I would hope for is $20. A dollar an item is super low, but they were all in good condition. I had a $200 pair of jeans in there that I was hoping would go for something decent. Don’t worry, I got the jeans for $6 at Goodwill and they were just a little bit too stretchy for me. This was a pretty safe experiment for me. The second bag went off to Savers. I got zero dollars for my Savers donation, for context. Anything above that was a gain.

They accepted four items. The jeans weren’t one of them. I was given a flat $5.51 total for three of the items. The fourth item was sold as consignment. I got an additional $2.47 for that one.

$7.98 for the whole bag. So, that’s the con there.

In the future, I think that I would add an additional step if I were trying to get any sort of return in value on my clothes. I’d try eBay or Poshmark before I sent to thredUP. And in the future, I might not take the time to separate my clothes out based on their brands. The payout is so low that it wasn’t worth the effort that I put in.

The difficulty & charge on returns means that thredUP isn’t going to be my default thrift option. I’ll continue relying primarily on in person stores. I do think thredUP is good for buying items that I already know will fit me well at a discount.

I also don’t recommend trying to make any sort of money by selling your clothes through them. If you have the time to make your own listings, that’s the way to go. If you don’t, maybe you’ll get $5.

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