Growing up, my family was on a tight budget. To help make ends meet, my sister and I would wear hand-me-downs from family and friends, and my mom would sell our old clothes at garage sales and consignment shops. Being brought up this way — I guess it was only natural for me to resell my old clothes for money too.
The first time I resold my clothing was in college, at a Buffalo Exchange. I sold a few pairs of jeans and some shoes. I didn't earn a lot of money – but with the money, I did make, I was able to buy myself a couple of new-to-me clothing items.
From there, I started selling directly person-to-person via online want ads, Craigslist, and Facebook Groups. When you take out the middle man — your profits are much higher, but, you have to invest more of your time (writing your ad, taking photos, responding to potential buyers, and eventually meeting them in-person to make the transaction).
So, when thredUP came onto the scene, I was excited to try them out.
How Does thredUP Work?
thredUP is an online consignment and thrift store where you can buy and sell gently-used clothing, shoes, handbags, accessories, and jewelry.
I've been selling clothes on thredUP since 2015, and their process is ALWAYS changing. When I first started using thredUP, there were no fees to start selling, you just ordered a clean out kit and shipped it back. Now, they have some optional fees which I'll explain below.
To start selling on thredUp — goto their website and click on green CLEAN OUT tab. From there you'll click on the ORDER A FREE KIT button. When choosing your kit, you can either pick to donate your clothing or earn money from it. The next option you have is processing — which you can select expedited processing for $16.00 (which means they'll process your clothing within one week of arrival) or you can choose the free standard processing.
From there, you'll decide what to do with the clothing that isn't accepted for resale (thredUP only accepts about 40% of the items on average). If you want your items returned to you — add on a $10.99 fee; otherwise, you can choose to donate what's left. Your last decision is if you'd like them to ship you a bag with a pre-paid return shipping label (costs $1.99) or you can choose the free option, which is to print the label out yourself and use an old box to ship the items to them — I prefer to use the free options.
Once you have your kit, all you need to do is fill it with your gently-used items and ship it off to them.
Be sure to follow these guidelines for the best reselling results:
- Clean, freshly washed
- Name brands (they accept 35,000 brands)
- On trend and less than five years old
- Free of tears, stains, or rips
- Excellent condition
One thing I like about the thredUP process is they keep you in the loop, letting you know when they receive your bag and when they're done processing it. Now if you choose the standard processing option — it can take a LONG time (anywhere from 2 – 8 weeks has been my experience) for them to process your bag. When your items are processed — they'll let you know which items were accepted outright and which items are on consignment. Payments are distributed by thredUP shopping credit, VISA prepaid card, or cash via PayPal.
How Much Can Your Earn Using thredUP?
Now the question that everybody wants to know — how much can you really earn with thredUP? According to their website, approximately 40% of your items will be accepted, and from that, you'll make 5% – 80% of what an item sells for based on its listing price (this is for up-front payouts). For consignment items, you'll make 20% – 95% of what an item sells for based on its listing price. If you have luxury items (think Gucci, Kate Spade, or Christian Louboutin) you'll earn an additional 10% on things that are listed for more than $100.00.
Clear as mud?
To give you an idea of what you can really earn, I'm sharing the contents of one of my bags and the actual payout numbers. Side note: I always choose the free options.
- White House Black Market leggings
- Merona ballet flats
- Embroidered denim jacket > 5 years
- Banana Republic trouser jeans > 5 years
- Juicy Couture jeans > 5 years
- Loft sweater > 5 years
- Merona sweater
- J Crew blouse
- Cache tank top
- Loft blouse
- Banana Republic sweater > 5 years
- Old Navy jeans > 5 years
- Cabi hooded sweatshirt > 5 years
- Express skirt > 5 years
- Gap skirt > 5 years
- Gap skirt > 5 years
- Banana Republic pants > 5 years
- Kut from the Kloth jeans > 5 years
- Banana Republic pants > 5 years
- Citizen of Humanity jeans
- Banana Republic skinny jeans
- Old Navy denim shorts
- Miss Me denim shorts
- Old Navy printed denim shorts
- Austin Trading Co cowboy boots (faux leather)
- Old Navy leggings
- Cherokee long sleeve tee
- DKNY long sleeve tee
- Arizona Jeans denim shorts
- Cherokee tank top
- Miss Me jeans
- Gap jumper
- Hello Kitty jacket
- Xhilaration swim coverup
- Xhilaration dress
- Jessica Simpson jumper
- Jayne Copeland cape > 5 years
- GB Girls dress
- Cherokee vest
- Matilda Jane sweater
- Faded Glory leggings
- Nickelodeon shirt
- Faded Glory T-shirt
- Circo T-shirt
From this haul, they accepted 13 items which is only 30% of the bag. I guess if you took out my outdated items, it would be more on target (43% accepted) with their average acceptance. Five items were sold on consignment ($24.95), and the remaining eight were purchased outright ($9.99) for a total of $34.94.
Is thredUP Worth It?
As I said, I've been selling on thredUP since 2015, and over the years I've earned a grand total of $237.93.
Another thredUP user, Alicia Woodard, has earned $540.00 so far using thredUP.
While it's not a lot of money, it's been helpful. I actually don't take the cash payout — instead, I let my daughter use the thredUP shopping credit to buy new-to-me clothing items. Their clothes are in excellent condition, in fact, many items are new with the tags still on, and they are incredibly affordable. You can purchase luxury brands for a fraction that you'd normally pay.
So, would I suggest using thredUP to sell your clothes?
I use it because it's easy and I would have either donated these items to Goodwill or given them to a friend – so I'm earning more than I would have if I'd given them away. Now, if I have something of greater value (think a Micheal Kors handbag or a North Face jacket) I would sell it individually on an online site like Poshmark, Craigslist, VarageSale, or Facebook Marketplace — because I know I can earn a great deal more, and the extra time and effort that goes into the listing would be worth my time.
Also, I tend to keep my clothes for a really LONG time, so many of the items that I submit to thredUP are over the 5-year mark — but I figure, why not give it a try.
Some other variables to consider …
I've personally found that thredUP accepts more items for children than they do for adults (probably because I keep my clothes for so long and they're out of style). So, if you tend to update your wardrobe every season and you have current styles to send in — you'll likely earn more money.
It's also better if you can send in seasonally appropriate clothing which means you may have to save your items for a few months before you can send them (which is what I typically do).
Overall, I enjoy using thredUP both for buying and selling clothing. The process is simple, and they do the hard work of listing, taking photos, and handling the transaction. I think you just need to have a realistic idea of what you're going to earn, how long the process will take, and how much time you'll save using them vs. selling outright.
If you're interested in trying thredUP — be sure to use my referral link here and you'll receive $10 to spend on your first order.
Have you sold clothing on thredUP? What was your experience? Drop us a note; we'd love to hear from you! If you enjoyed this post — please share it on your favorite social media site.
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Holly Reisem Hanna is the publisher and founder of The Work at Home Woman, which has been helping individuals find remote careers and businesses that feed their souls since 2009. Through her unconventional career path of holding over 30 jobs and obtaining two college degrees, she’s been able to figure out how to find a career path that you’re truly passionate about. Holly’s had the pleasure of sharing her expertise on sites like CNN, MSN Money, Huffington Post, Woman’s Day Magazine, as well as being recognized by Forbes as one of the “Top 100 Websites for Your Career.” Holly resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband and daughter and enjoys reading, traveling, and yoga.
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