Time spent: 2 hours going through clothes + packing bag
Items gone: 20
Money made: $21.46
Recommended? Yes and no. Scroll to the bottom for the full explanation!

Downsizing is a lot of work. There is absolutely no way around this.
That said, if you’re up for the work, there are many ways you can get rid of stuff without having to completely lose all of the money you put into it. And while I certainly advocate donating your belongings to Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or your local shelter, sometimes it’s much easier to let go if you can make a few bucks.

ThredUP is an online consignment option — that means you don’t have to go to the store. After consigning several bags of clothes through my local consignment stores and getting tired of the work involved, my clothing-savvy friend told me about this online store thing called thredUP.

After a bit of disbelief that it could be as simple as it sounded, I finally checked them out. And, as the internet likes to say, “here’s what happened.”

Please note that my experience is based on their old payout structure, which I believe may be more generous than their current payout structure.

  1. I ordered a “Cleanout kit” from the thredUP website. After a few days, it arrived in the mail. It’s just a large polyurethane bag with a stick-on shipping label.
  2. I filled the bag with about 20 items. My items ranged from a Michael by Michael Kors trench coat I bought about eight years
    go to a Calvin Klein cocktail dress to a lightly used Liz Claiborne handbag my mother had given me. I dropped off said bag at FedEx, who shipped it to thredUP with the prepaid shipping label that conveniently came in the Cleanout kit.
  3. I waited two weeks, as instructed. During those two weeks, I almost completely forgot which items I’d sent. (But, now that I remember By the time they’d e-mailed me back, I’d forgotten what I’d sent. (However, now that I remember and am more savvy about the clothing resale business, I am pretty upset that I sent some of those things rather then selling them on my own.)
  4. I got an e-mail telling me how successful my efforts had been. Of the approximately 20 items I sent, they opted to take ten. Of those items, nine were outright purchases and one was put on the site as a consignment item, which meant I’d get paid if it sells. ThredUP currently pays outright for items they think they can sell quickly, but pays upon the sale of items they don’t think they can sell quickly. It generally seemed like they took the items that were in the best condition or had any kind of name brand on them.
  5. I logged into my account to find out how much I’d made. It was kind of exciting to see my items in a sales environment, all prettied up and photographed. In fact, I think it inspired me to later continue consigning and try to make money flipping clothes. But, that is another story. On this bit of effort with ThredUP, I “earned” $28.45 for the nine items they paid for upfront, but I only got $21.46 when all was said and done. (This is why I’m a little bitter. If I had sold the Calvin Klein dress they sold for $37.99, I would have gotten $32. But! It’s better than the $0 I would have gotten if I’d taken them to Goodwill.) How did I earn $28 and only get paid $21? I was surprised to learn that they took out a $6.99 shipping and handling fee, and was upset about it at first. While it seems totally fair that they take out a shipping fee, the fact that there was a shipping fee at all was a little hidden from me as a first time consigned. I normally read all of the fine print and I don’t remember anything about that. However, I’m sure it was there because… lawsuits. And anyways, for the amount of stuff I sent, $6.99 is really reasonable.
  6. I cashed out after the money I made sat in my account for a little while. The cash out process involved a little more waiting and a pain-in-the-patoot Visa gift card. You have to log into your account and order your gift card, then wait another two weeks for it to come in the mail. You also have the option to get a PayPal payment, but they take a fee.
  7. I waited… and waited for the consignment item to sell. But it never did. And what do they do when your items don’t sell after the designated period? They keep it. And then they sell it for a lower price and keep all the profit. That made me mad and I acted on it, and they resolved the situation based on my anger but it put a bad taste in my mouth about the way they do business.

And that’s the end of it. So, do I recommend doing it? Yes, and no.

I made an average of $2.38 per item, which isn’t a whole lot. If I had a fancier closet, I may have made more, but it’s not always easy to predict. It seems like they can be as capricious as a consignment shop, but are more likely to take something you send them because they have more storage space.

So, in summary…

Here’s why you should: If you have high-end stuff that you don’t want to deal with selling on your own but don’t really want to donate it either, ThredUP (or Swap.com) is a great resource. You have to dedicate a little bit of time to packing a bag, but once it’s out of your hands, your job is basically done. You can adjust some prices for consignment items within thredUP, but you don’t have to. So, if you’re looking for a place where you can just pack, send, and wait, thredUP is your answer. If you want to go for it, you can get your Cleanout bag here.

Here’s why you shouldn’t: I don’t recommend it if you want to make a good amount of money on your clothing. If you want a more hands-off way to consign and want a little more dough, I recommend using Swap.com instead. Swap.com has a better payout policy, but they are much slower and their website is vastly more confusing. If you want to make even more money on your clothing and have time and energy to spend, check out places where you can sell your clothes on your own, like Tradesy, Poshmark, Vinted, Mercari, and even eBay.

Do you have experience with thredUP? What’s your opinion on it? Where are your faces to consign?

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