Selling Clothes on ThredUp – Yay or Nay?

Is selling clothes on ThredUp a good way to make extra cash? Or is it a waste of time. My experience says the convenience can't be beat, but the money-making part is questionable. See the review here.

Over the last couple of years I’ve made a really concerted effort to downsize my belongings while getting a little money in return. I do donate a lot of things to charity, but for some items I wanted to see if I could get a bit of money for them. I’ve tried a lot of methods including selling on consignment in local consignment stores or at special pop-up consignment sales, selling on Ebay, and selling on Facebook groups. I’ve had some successes with all of these methods.

A few months ago, someone told me about ThredUp. It’s an online marketplace that sells used clothing. You sign up for an account, they send you a clean out bag with a prepaid shipping label on it (for free), and you return it to them filled with your used items. Once they receive it, they go over every item of clothing with a fine toothed comb and make you an offer on the items they want to purchase. The items they don’t want can either be sent back to you (at your cost) or donated. They choose where the items you donate go.

My daughter is 7 and growing like a weed, so she is constantly outgrowing her clothes. After cleaning out her closet in the spring, I decided to give ThredUp a try. ThredUp makes it very clear that they are picky about what they take. The want things in like new condition. If the item shows any wear or tear at all, they will not buy it. I had also heard through the grapevine that the amount of money they offer for items was pretty low, typically less than $1 an item for a lot of things.

But, I figured it couldn’t hurt to give it a try. I didn’t have the time to do any of the pop-up consignment sales. It’s a lot of work to get clothes ready for those, and I just didn’t have the time for that. I could have tried a local consignment store, but decided to go with the ThredUp option instead.

I set up my account and ordered a bag. It was here within a week. I split my daughter’s clothes into spring/summer and fall/winter. I decided to only send in the spring/summer items at this time since it was spring and their website stated to send things that were in season. I carefully went through her items and selected only the items that were still in great shape. There were some dresses she had only worn once, some jeans she had never worn, and a few other things that she had worn a bit more, but that looked great, in my opinion. I had a LOT of items that were in decent shape, but still failed to make my cut. I really wanted to only send in the items I thought were shoe-ins. I donated or threw away the items that I knew would not make the cut.

The process of filling the bag was simple. It’s just a large plastic, self-sealing bag. You don’t have to do anything but stick the clothes in. I did wash the clothes first and fold them nicely since I figured a nice presentation might help. I put about 40 of my daughter’s clothing items in the bag and that filled it pretty full. Then I sealed it up and dropped it off at my post office. Easy peasy!

I’ll say at this point that the convenience of ThredUp cannot be beat. I mean, you don’t even have to take it to the post office. If your mail carrier will pick up packages at your home, you can even do that. It was just simpler for me to take it in myself. Even so, this was WAY less work than consignment sales or Ebay.

Processing Time

Then I waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. Seriously, the time it took them to process my bag was ridiculous. Six and a half weeks later, I emailed them to check on things and they said my bag was “almost ready”. Several days later, I finally got an email saying they had it all done. It took 7 weeks. SEVEN WEEKS. They told me they were a bit overwhelmed with new customers sending things in. I want to be nice about this, but this was just too long. By the time they got my bag processed, it was August. Summer is nearly over at this point.

Acceptance Rate

Now, I knew going in that they were very picky, but that is why I was very careful that the items I sent were in very good shape. Out of the 40 or so items I sent, I really felt that only 5 or 6 might not be accepted. Sadly, it ended up being the other way around. Out of the 40+ items, they only accepted 8.

Payout

For the 8 items they accepted, they only paid me a total of $6.50. To be fair, that does match the “under $1” I was told they often give for some items. But two of the items they took were dresses that had cost over $50 each and had been worn once. I thought that surely I would get a few dollars for those. I was not really surprised at the pricing of the rest.

Still, the rejection rate was a bit shocking since I was so careful about what I sent in. I have no idea why the other items were not accepted. They do not give you any specific reasons. I know that a couple of items they accepted were not perfect. Two of the items they accepted were items I bought used and that my daughter wore frequently. They were actually a couple of the items I thought were questionable.

Here’s the not-so-funny thing: While I was patiently waiting for them to process the bag, I went ahead and sent a second bag in with my daughter’s fall and winter clothes. I am not sure I would have done it if I had known how little they were going to accept out of the first bag. I am hoping the second bag is more successful. I sent in several items that still had price tags, so we’ll see how well those do. I will write a second post once those items are processed.

So is ThredUp worth it?

If you are just going to give away the clothes otherwise, then yes, it’s worth it. $6.50 is better than nothing, I guess. And the convenience of the bag cannot be beat. But, if you are trying to make a little extra cash, then I’d say probably not. You can probably do better by selling them yourself.

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Comments

  1. i completely agree with this. i was so excited because i’ve come across some really nice brands for really cheap and in really great condition… and i did get $44 out of my first bag BUT one of the items was for sale on their site for $57. i mean… come on. luckily for me they took 1/2 of my bag (20 of 40 items) but i’m wondering if i should unpack the second bag i have ready to drop off and figure out an alternative method. but i guess for cleaning things out it’s worth it.
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    • Thanks for the comment, Stephanie! I am still waiting to hear about my payout on the second bag. I can’t believe one of your items sold for $57. That’s insane that you got so little. I am still confused over why they didn’t accept some of my items. I really thought I was being careful. It’s a strange set-up over there for sure.

  2. Kristi German says:

    I appreciate your article so much! I was considering it and even printed off the list of accepted brands. I think I will take my chances with the local swap sites. Only out my time for photographing and listing the items and if that doesn’t work and I think a few items are worth listing, I might try eBay.

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