So last year I had done my “Frugal Mom” post and at the time was completely smitten with Thredup. However the honeymoon period is over and now I have a new outlook and a new strategy for keeping my kids in nice clothes.
Don’t get me wrong, Thredup is good if you want the most convenient way to get a little cash for your kids’ clothes. But it only works if the clothes are high end and perfect. For example, my daughter had some high dollar “Miss Me” jeans (these run somewhere close to $100 apiece) and I sent them in. The problem was that my daughter is short and so the only sign of any damage was where she steps on the heel of the pants legs. Not much damage, just minimal wear. These clothes were rejected.
The other problem is that Thredup will only give you a very small percentage of what they will ultimately sell the items for (in my experience approximately 25%) and that is only for the items that they deem “sellable”.
Now while I am aware that all of this is in the terms and conditions of doing business with Thredup, I scoured and inspected every single item before I sent it in and still very few ended up with payouts of any kind.
Thredup is in business to make money. It is a great business model. It is just not the best way for middle income moms to use their old clothes to replenish the new clothing fund.
So I have been doing other things and had much more success (although with a little extra work).
First of all, everyone knows about EBay. If you don’t, may I kindly suggest that you go to ebay.com and take a look around. This is a place where millions go every day to buy and sell all manner of things. Of course there are millions of items for sale so if you sell on eBay, it helps if someone is looking for your specific item.
So remember those ridiculously expensive Miss Me jeans with the minimal wear that Thredup didn’t want? It turns out someone did. I listed several pairs on EBay and while not all of them sold the first time around, I made almost half of the retail price back on several of them.
It is more difficult than Thredup of course because you have to take pictures and post descriptions when you list each individual item, and then take the time to ship each item when it sells, but the payoff is ASTRONOMICALLY better, even after the minimal fees of selling which you can explore here. seller fees
Now, I have made some mistakes with this also. I prefer the auctions to the buy it now sales but I do NOT like to set a “reserve” in my auctions because it charges an extra two dollars (again see the seller fees page) and then the item might not sell even after someone bids on it because they didn’t meet the reserve price. So in order to avoid this problem and the issue of getting lowballed on the final sale, I simply set the starting price at the absolute minimum I could live with. I then set the “buy it now” price at the highest price I thought was fair (still significantly below retail). I have now sold many of my daughter’s higher end clothing items this way and made back quite a large amount to supplement her clothing budget.
The other upside to this is that if I sell my daughter’s too small Miss Me jeans on eBay for a decent price, I can then turn around and buy the needed size from someone else doing the same thing, again, for less than retail (this is great if you don’t mind good used clothing. You don’t have to tell your daughter where they came from lol).
That is the for the good eBay items. Check out my next post for things that might not be eBay friendly.
Not everything is good for eBay and not everything will sell well on its own but I am not a garage sale person so there are still other avenues to work with.
Craigslist is out there for people who live in good areas for it (and are not afraid of predators) but I live in a rural area about miles from the nearest mid-size city. If you don’t know about Craigslist, it is like an online classifieds section. It is first broken down into metropolitan areas, and then broken down into categories (For Sale, Housing, Personals, etc.). The For Sale section has categories such as appliances, furniture, and clothes and accessories. I have used Craigslist before but have gotten away from it due to living far away from its nearest focused sale area and my worry about meeting strange people in strange places.
A similar but more palatable method has become local trade groups on Facebook.
In my community, a county with three small towns, we have several trading groups. You can search Facebook groups to see if your area has one (try searching for your county name, town name, “trade”, or see if your local Facebook friends are on any such groups. You have to request to join but once you have been approved, you can list your items for sale in your local community. Note: This can be just as dangerous, if you want to call it that, as Craigslist, however I feel much more comfortable in my local setting.
The best way I have found to do this (but it does depend on the items) is to separate all of your “get rid of’s” according to gender, then size (for example, after we clean out closets, I separate my daughter’s from my son’s clothes and then from different sizes that they each had) and then type of clothing (jeans, t-shirts, dresses, button-ups, polos, etc.).
Shoes work well like this too.
You can sell the nicer items individually or pack up some boxes with the same size and gender clothing and sell them each for a set price.
Always make sure to describe the items well, including any wear (pictures are usually necessary if you actually want the item to sell). If they are stained or torn I simply throw away, nobody wants to pay for those.
Make sure you respond fairly promptly to potential buyers and happy selling!