Review of Selling With ThredUp - Is It Worth It?

Updated on April 6, 2018
Kierstin Gunsberg profile image

Kierstin is a penny pinching mom/college student who treats money-saving like some kind of really nerdy, homeschooly video game.

Source

Update

Is it worth it to sell with ThredUp? Originally I said no, but now, I say a big fat yes. Make sure to read my April 2018 update to find out why.

'Tis the season, folks! The holidays are wrapping up, we're reaching into the new year and the house is bursting at the seams. Time to pile up the clutter - out with the old, in with the new. But what exactly do we do with the old? While donating it is a nice thing to do and can be handy come tax season, it's pretty tempting to swap our old duds for fast cash and these days you don't even have to load the bags and boxes into the car and wait at the counter while they scrutinize the closet castoffs and decide what to keep and what to hand back with a disapproving glance at the consignment shop.

If you've ever taken a look around the internet you've probably noticed ThredUp, an online consignment boutique that will pay you for the clothes you don't want. Sounds AMAZING, right?!

Yes!

Maybe.

Earlier this year when we moved into our new home I decided to give ThredUp a whirl, overwhelmed by the amount of outgrown toddler clothing and my own ill-fitting tops and dresses that had been shoved to the back of the closet for two seasons. After gathering armfuls of clothing to consign I shoved it all (well, actually, I neatly folded it) into the bag provided by ThredUp and sent it on it's merry way. It was way too easy, the mail carrier even came and picked it up off my porch. So worth the loads of sweet cash I was about to make!

What is a Cleanout Bag?

So, when you sign up for a ThredUp account you can go to the top of your ThredUp toolbar to locate "My Account" where you can request a cleanout bag. It's a really, really big mailing bag, basically, and inside is a return mailing label. Nice. It arrived in my mailbox after about a week and came with some guidelines of what they do and don't consider for consignment. Many of my items seemed to meet the standards and admittedly I threw a few brands in I wasn't sure about since they were new with tags (like a Cherokee tee that belonged to my oldest daughter and a Rock Paper Flower blouse of my own from Target).

To get the most from your first cleanout bag, you should pack that puppy as full as possible but you don't want to just send a bunch of junk or ThredUp can decide to revoke your consigning privileges, so I was careful to include only newer, on-trend items in good condition. That meant passing over some of my daughters' more well-loved, outgrown outfits and choosing more recent purchases that were hanging in my own closet but that realistically I was never going to wear or that no longer fit (thanks, post-partum yo-yo weight).

Here's the top menu on my ThredUp account where I can navigate my pay out, selling options and more.
Here's the top menu on my ThredUp account where I can navigate my pay out, selling options and more. | Source

The Process of Selling on ThredUp

ThredUp's selling process is super simple.


  1. Sign up with ThredUp. To sign up you can use your Amazon account, your Facebook account, or just your regular ol' e-mail address. Sign up is totally free.
  2. Once you've signed up you'll be able to use your "My Account" settings to request a cleanout bag. This bag is also free and you'll just have to agree that the cost of mailing the bag back and forth will be deducted from your earnings from the clothes you send back.
  3. When you request the cleanout bag ThredUp will walk you through a few reminders regarding what they accept and what they don't accept. Some general rules of thumb are that they don't typically sell bargain brand clothing - the more expensive the brand, the better chance you have of your items being accepted - and the clothing needs to be in pretty good condition. Minor fading, stains and pilling are okay as long as it's not too noticeable. Another thing to keep in mind is that clothing should be on-trend or classic. Oh, and clean!
  4. ThredUp will mail you an envelope that contains the cleanout bag and a return label. It takes about a week or less to arrive.
  5. Once you have the cleanout bag you'll fill it, keeping in mind ThredUp's guidelines. Neatly fold items until the bag has reached it's capacity, then seal it shut and slap on the label.
  6. You can drop your cleanout bag off at the post office or schedule a pickup online and have your carrier pick it up right from your front porch.
  7. Once your bag arrives at it's destination, it takes a while for the items to be processed. I think that my bag took nearly six weeks to be processed and listed on the site. You can opt to have your items processed sooner but at a cut to your final profit.
  8. Whatever items are not accepted by ThredUp are, according to their site terms, are sold to third-party sellers or recycled. You do have the option to buy them back too but...why would you do that? You'll lose money.
  9. For items that are accepted by ThredUp you'll find that they are either bought outright by the company or placed under consignment terms. The consignment terms are dependent on how quickly items sell and past a determined date you will not receive any profit.
  10. Whatever profit you receive from your clothes will show up in your account after a few weeks and you can either cash out or use the total towards a purchase on ThredUp.

What I Sold With ThredUp

Altogether, I loaded the cleanout bag with about 20 items - most were my own, and a few of my daughters' and the brands included Ann Taylor LOFT, Bass, Nanette Lapore and Banana Republic. I would have liked to have put more in but part of me was nervous to put in a bunch of stuff that I kind of loved in the hopes of making extra money since I didn't know what kind of money I would get in return. I parted only with stuff I knew for sure I'd never regret ditching. I'm sure there were items that I sent along that were not accepted by ThredUp, but here are the items they DID accept:

My Items Accepted by ThredUp

Item
Size
Condition (According to ThredUp)
Up Front Payout or Consignment
Old Navy Long Sleeve T
4T
Like New
Up Front Payment
Cherokee Short Sleeve T Shirt
4T-5T
New With Tags
Up Front Payment
Osh Kosh B'Gosh Overalls
2T
Like New
Up Front Payment
Old Navy Casual Dress
Women's 6
Like New
Up Front Payment
Gap Casual Dress
Women's Size S
Like New
Up Front Payment
H&M Blue Floral Romper
Women's Size S
Gently Used
Up Front Payment
H&M Casual Dress
Women's Size S
Gently Used
Up Front Payment
Old Navy Casual Skirt
Women's Size S
Like New
Up Front Payment
Old Navy Long Sleeve Top
Unavailable
Unavailable
Up Front Payment
H&M Pink Romper
Women's Size S
Gently Used
Up Front Payment
Banana Republic Casual Skirt
Women's Size 6
New With Tags
Up Front Payment
Old Navy Jeans
4T
Like New
Consignment
Rock Paper Flower 3/4 Sleeve Blouse
Women's Size S
Like New
Consignment
Nanette Lapore Casual Dress
Women's Size 6
Like New
Consignment
G.H. Bass and Co. Casual Skirt
Unavailable
Unavailable
Consignment
Old Navy Sleeveless Top
Unavailable
Unavailable
Consignment
Ann Taylor LOFT Long Sleeve Top
Unavailable
Unavailable
Consignment
ThredUp's guidelines require sellers to go through a checklist of standards before returning their cleanout bag.
ThredUp's guidelines require sellers to go through a checklist of standards before returning their cleanout bag. | Source

My Total Earnings With ThredUp

With over a dozen accepted items I made a grand total of...wait for it...

Get excited...

... last time I consigned at my local resale boutique I made around $4-10 an item, so I was kinda rollin' in dough after loads of consignments...

... with 17 items I'm gonna make at least like fifteen bucks, right?!


I made $6.10

I didn't even make enough to cover the shipping so ThredUp waived the fee for me.

So yeah, not rich. Not rich at all.

Here's my ThredUp dashboard. From here I can cash out, order another cleanout kit and browse through my items that are both for sale and have already sold.
Here's my ThredUp dashboard. From here I can cash out, order another cleanout kit and browse through my items that are both for sale and have already sold. | Source
If you're looking to pad your wallet by selling clothes on ThredUp you might wanna think twice.
If you're looking to pad your wallet by selling clothes on ThredUp you might wanna think twice. | Source

So, Was Selling with ThredUp Worth it?

Ha. NOPE.

I mean, I understand that a lot of the brands I sent them were inexpensive brands in the first place. I didn't expect them to take the Old Navy or the H&M at all, so earning such a small profit on those items doesn't bother me. However, they let a lot of my higher-priced items, like the Nanette Lapore dress, which retails new at $298 and was listed on the site for $56.99 expire. It wasn't going to sell in the winter anyway, so why not list it closer to spring? If this item were to sell I would make 0% profit off it now. Boo!

Indeed, with 17 accepted items my profit came to around thirty-five cents per piece which is laughable considering the time it took me to inspect each item for wear, tear, pilling and stains, to collect items from "acceptable" brands and to neatly pack the bag, attach the label and schedule a delivery with my carrier. If time is money, ThredUp actually owes me.

For perspective, if I had donated these items to my local Goodwill, I would have ended up with more money in tax write-offs than the revenue I earned selling with ThredUp.

So, would I ever consign with ThredUp again?

Probably not, unless I can figure out how to turn a better profit for my time and energy.

I love the idea, I think having an online consignment outlet where you don't have to do any of the work ala Ebay is really cool. But ThredUp has to pay for the postage and mailing materials up front. They have to pay copywriters and web designers, photographers and marketers. This isn't a mom and pop boutique that's going to split their profit with you 40/60 like most local consignment shops. Thus, the old model doesn't fit well into the digital world when it comes to benefits to consignors.

If you decide to consign with ThredUp, learn from me and send ONLY items that are within the requested season. These things have a better chance of selling than my hodge-podge of seasonal wear did. Another thing I noticed is that my kids' clothing sold surprisingly better than my own but still would have garnered much more money at the kid-centric resale boutique just down the road from me.

April 2018 Update

Okay, I feel like I need to chime in now and tell you that when I first wrote this review of selling with ThredUp, I was pretty disenchanted with my payout. A lousy $6 felt like a ripoff.

But, here's the thing - there's an art to consigning clothes online and it's one I haven't mastered. I believe that at least two of the reasons I didn't get a high payout for the clothing I sent to ThredUp are:

  1. I sent a lot of out-of-season clothing. Since I was cleaning out my closet in preparation for winter, I ended up sending a bunch of springier clothes. These aren't clothes that ThredUp was going to be able to sell in December.
  2. My clothing was in reasonably good shape (some of it new with tags) but I wasn't sending designer or high-end brands that would have warranted a higher price tag.

Why am I telling you this? Because I have to admit that since writing this original review I've bought so.much.stuff from ThredUp, all of it in awesome condition and at super affordable prices. It made me realize that you can't look at ThredUp as a place to make a profit like you might selling on Ebay or Poshmark. Instead, you should look at it as a way to get a bit of a discount on already discounted items. The $6 payout wasn't worth putting in my bank account, but I put it towards an order of winter sweaters and that was nice.

So, my final word on selling with ThredUp is this: If you're going to do it, do it with the attitude that whatever your payout, you'll put it towards your next order of like-new, cute clothes and think of the payout as a coupon or discount code, rather than an opportunity to make extra money. Plus, consigning and buying from the same outlet is the embodiment of Reuse, Reduce, Recycle and instead of selling your used clothing to buy new clothing, you're promoting a more sustainable cycle of consumption.

So, WOULD I sell with ThredUp again? Considering that I buy the majority of my outfits from ThredUp these days, I've changed my mind on my original answer of no. With how often I purchase from the retailer, a small payout would be worth the "discount". So, yes. I would.

Have You Ever Sold Clothes Through ThredUp?

What are your top tips for selling clothes with ThredUp and making a pretty penny while you're at it? Share in the comments below!

Questions & Answers

    © 2017 Kierstin Gunsberg

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      • Kierstin Gunsberg profile imageAUTHOR

        Kierstin Gunsberg 

        3 months ago from Traverse City, Michigan

        Julmar, awesome comment! You're right - the stress of taking my clothes to be consigned keeps me from doing it a lot of the time! In the past, I've always taken my clothes to a locally owned consignment shop and for the few items they take, I get a pretty good amount of money but I have to make a bunch of trips just to bring stuff in, collect the money and then take the check to the bank whereas with stores like ThredUp, everything is simplified. Also, it shouldn't, but I totally get silently offended when they diss some of my favorite past pieces.

        I'm filling up my 2nd bag right now too :)

      • profile image

        Julmar 

        3 months ago

        I just sent my first bag and am working on my 2nd bag!!! I have done well so far $$, but it is so much easier than going to the consignment store--where most are looking to pay you in store credit or they have little teens judging your clothes and not buying much from you. (and I have taken clothes to various consignment stores for 20 years)

        The bagging up for the donation place is second step...or worse, they sit in the trunk of your car for months! Thredup really makes it easy to clean out your closet, maybe get a little money, and then donate/recycle the clothing fibers for reuse/those in need.

        I highly recommend to anyone who may shop normally at a few of the stores/brands listed on their website!!!

      • Kierstin Gunsberg profile imageAUTHOR

        Kierstin Gunsberg 

        5 months ago from Traverse City, Michigan

        Hi Ronald! Thanks for reading! I feel like I need to give full disclosure here - I LOVE buying from ThedUp and actually just put an order in this morning. But I think one of the reasons I love buying from ThredUp is also one of the reasons it's hard to sell with them which is that their prices are really good. So as a buyer I'm getting a great deal but as a seller I didn't make much profit.

        You might want to try Swap. They also don't give a huge payout as far as I know but they do accept men's clothing!

      • RonElFran profile image

        Ronald E Franklin 

        5 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

        I have a closet full of old clothes I'll never wear again, so when I saw this topic I was interested. I never heard of ThredUp before, and after reading about your experience I can clear the name out of my brain. That closet will stay full, at least for the moment!

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