My experience with thredUP: the good, the bad and the ugly

My Experience with thredUP : the good, the bad and the ugly

Last year, I shared a few ways that I use to get brand name clothes on a budget.  One of them is to purchase new and pre-owned clothing from thredUP where I regularly pick up items from my favorite brands. Overall, it’s been a great experience but there are a few things to keep in mind.

The Good

1. thredUP sells most of my favorite brands like J.Crew, Paige, Zara and Anthropologie.  They also carry both new and pre-owned items. In one order, I received 10 brand new items for my kids.  All but one of the items was in new or like new condition.

2. In the last two years, I’ve placed 5 orders for 22 pieces of clothing averaging $8.50 apiece. The most expensive item was a dress from Zara at $18.99 (pictured above).  That’s not bad for items from more expensive brands like J.Crew, not to mention all the items complete with new tags.

3. thredUP sent me bags with prepaid shipping so I was able to sell them 9 items of clothing for an average of $5.94 per item.  A few days after I received the notification that my bag was accepted, I was able to transfer the money into my Paypal account.

4. Shipping is free when you spend $50 or just $2.99 for the first item, $0.99 for each item thereafter.

The Bad

1. While many items are brand new, most are pre-owned.  One sweater I purchased for my daughter that had quite a bit of piling. I should have sent it back but it ended up in a donate pile.  I’m sure thredUP has guidelines on how to label the condition of each item but everyone’s idea of ‘condition’ is different.  I consider 1 bad and 21 great items actually pretty great.

2. Returns used to be free when you ordered via the mobile app so I did return a few items that were the wrong fit or I didn’t care for.  Now you have to pay to return anything (and anything that cost less than $10 is not returnable). The good news is that one item of clothing is fairly inexpensive to ship, just $2-3.

3. When you send in a bag for thredUP to purchase from you, they will only send back rejected items if you pay the shipping charges. Ugh.

The Ugly

1. The only really negative experience I’ve had with thredUP is when I sent my second bag of clothing.  My first bag was a total score. I sent 8 items and only 2 were rejected.  I got $42 for 6 items or an average of $7 apiece.  Since I had tried, unsuccessfully, to sell these items in other venues, I was pretty excited.  So I rounded up 8 more items and sent it off.  A few weeks later I got a notice that only 4 items had been accepted for a grand total of $10.95 or just $2.74 apiece. All four of the accepted were dresses that I could have sold on eBay for 2-3x more. A total disappointment.

My experience with thredUP : the good, the bad and the ugly

The Bottom Line

I will definitely be shopping with thredUP again. They often have discount codes on top of their already great prices so I feel like I am getting a deal every time I shop there. If you haven’t shopped at thredUP yet, you can get a $10 credit to use on your first purchase. And in full disclosure, I’ll get a $10 credit if you do, so thank you!

As for selling clothing to them, I probably won’t be doing that again. I am already a pretty active eBay seller so I’ll stick to what I know.

 

10 practical ways to stay healthy this winter

Last year was the first in many years that we stayed healthy all winter (I know, knock on wood). It was also the first winter I had to take a medication that lowered my immune system so I was determined to do everything I could to keep us from getting the common cold or flu, or worse.

I don’t think there’s a silver bullet on this list, I’m convinced it was a combination of practical and healthy choices that helped pave the way for a well winter. Here’s hoping for another one.

Humidifier

We live in a dry climate so I keep several humidifiers on hand to use in the bedrooms every night. It keeps nasal passages moist and healthy (and prevents my kiddos from stuffing their fingers in their nose!) I like this cool mist humidifier so I don’t have to worry about anyone burning their hands on it and it’s inexpensive.

Essential Oils

I had only used essential oils for cleaning until last year when I was introduced to OnGuard, an essential oil blend.  I started putting it (diluted with coconut oil) on our kids and myself every time we started feeling ill and it absolutely worked. I’m an essential oil convert (I use this kit regularly). This winter, we bought a diffuser and are using it regularly to purify our air and boost our immune system.

Drink Tea

I’ve always liked tea but this year I’m trying to drink more black or green tea. Studies at Harvard University found that “people who drank five cups of black tea a day for 2 weeks transformed their immune system T cells into “Hulk cells” that pumped out 10 times more cold and flu virus-fighting interferon — proteins that defend against infection — than did the immune systems of those who didn’t drink black tea. Green tea should work just as well.”

Sugar Consumption

It’s well known that sugar suppresses the immune system which is cruel since we’re devouring sweets from Halloween to Christmas.  I’m no pro at this but I did recently quit drinking soda (it was just one a day but still) and my kids donated all their Halloween candy. I’ve found that the less we have in the house, the less I’m tempted to indulge.

10 Practical Ways to Stay Healthy this Winter

Vitamins

Everyone is loaded up on vitamins around here. I’ve got Vitamin A, C, D and probiotics and the kids have a similar regimen of Vitamin D and these probiotics.

Manage Stress

When Carnegie Mellon University infected participants in a research study with a common cold virus, those who reported being under stress were twice as likely to get sick.

Stress is unavoidable so I think we all need to find a few ways to help manage it. For me, one of these tend to work: exercise, getting outside in nature, and alone time.  Find what works for you, I like these ideas.

Sleep

Depriving ourselves (and our kids) of necessary sleep lowers our body’s ability to respond to infections.  Everyone knows mom doesn’t get a sick day so go with the melatonin that kicks in when it gets dark outside.

Tissues

Speaking of fingers + noses, I am extra picky about keeping our hands out of our noses and mouths.  I’m not typically crazy about keeping germs out of our bodies but I am more cautious during the winter. It also helps to keep a box of tissues in each bedroom and bathroom, along with one in the kitchen.

Sanitizers

Beyond the obvious practice of washing hands often, I started using sanitizer whenever I get back in the car from places such as the kid’s school or activities or the grocery store, for example.  I use this natural hand sanitizer or I like this DIY version, as well.

Eat to be Well

Several foods are known to boost immunity such as yogurt, oats and garlic. Adding a few of these 10 power foods may be the help we need to stay healthy this winter.

British researchers gave 146 people either a placebo or a garlic extract for 12 weeks; the garlic takers were two-thirds less likely to catch a cold.

 

Share your own tips for staying healthy this winter. We can use all the help we can get, right?
 

To keep or to purge, that is the question

To Keep or To Purge - 5 Questions to Ask

I’m over at The Art of Simple today sharing the 5 questions I’ve been using to purge 30 boxes worth of stuff from our house. From the post:

I will fondly remember the summer of 2014 as a season of purging. Just off three moves in three years and finally settled into a more permanent home, I’m finally ready to sell, donate, and gift many of the possessions I’ve carefully stored.

I was so determined to simplify that I literally went through every item that came through the door. Each one was evaluated with a few mental questions to decide whether or not it would stay.

Come on over and visit to read the rest!

 

Tear-Free Hair Care for Curly Haired Kids

Tear Free Hair Care for the Curly-Haired Kid

I have cursed (under my breath) on more than one occasion while combing my daughter’s hair. My 7 year old has a beautiful head of curls but it took a few years to figure out the right arsenal of tools to make it look adorable and keep tears out of the process. This is what works for us:

Ditch the Shampoo

I haven’t used shampoo on my own curly hair in several years.  When I started employing this method on my daughter’s hair, it made a HUGE difference. She wets her hair, scrubs in some conditioner and rinses. She swims every day in the summer and we still only use conditioner.

If I only used one method, no-shampoo would be the one. Try it on your own curly haired kid, you might thank me.

Use Detangler

I’ve tried several hair detanglers and I always go back to this detangler. No phthalates, parabens or yucky smells.  It also holds the curl just enough that I don’t need to use any styling products.

Get a Genie

This is the only thing my daughter will let me run through her hair. I honestly can’t tell you what makes the Knot Genie Detangling Brush so special. It doesn’t have a handle so you hold it in the palm of your hand. I no longer comb from the bottom up, I stick it right at the top of her head and comb down. I’m still gentle, of course, but it doesn’t pull like a traditional comb or brush might. And it gets the knots out!

My daughter even combs her own hair with the Knot Genie and I’ll use it straight out of the shower myself. It goes with us every time we travel. Definitely worth the $9.

Between Washes

A few ideas for keeping hair manageable between conditioning. I often put my daughter’s hair right into ponytails or braids out of the shower. This mellows the curls a bit and allows me to easily style her hair in the morning until we condition again.

If she wears her hair down, I will braid it at night to keep her from tangling it up while she tosses and turns during sleep. Then I just take the braid(s) out, spritz it with water or detangler and lightly comb through the curls.

Trim It

When the knots start becoming unmanageable or tears become the norm, I know it’s time for a haircut. That happens about every three months. And if you don’t have curly hair yourself, I’ll let you in on a secret: layers are curly hair’s best friend. Save your kid from having a mushroom on their head. I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt and I’m not going back!

Share your own tips for managing curly hair. We can use all the help we can get, right?
 

17 Simple Tips for a (Very) Successful Garage Sale

7 simple tips for a VERY successful garage sale

photo credit

I’ve had a lot of garage sales over the last 15 years but none as successful as the last two. We made over $1000 each time and are gearing up for another one in June. Here’s a few tips that I believe helped us get there.

Prepare

1. As I organize and get rid of clutter, I add all the unneeded items to boxes labeled ‘garage sale’ knowing that we will probably have enough accumulated by the following spring for a garage sale.

2. For a month or two before your sale, save paper and plastic shopping bags to  use for shoppers that purchase multiple items.

Location

3. We have always lived in centrally located neighborhoods making it easy to hold a garage sale. If you don’t, you may find a family member or friend that wants to join you to host at their centrally located house. The more traffic nearby, the better.

Timing

4. I like to hold our garage sales on a sunny weekend in the late spring right before school gets out because we typically have a lot of moms stopping by while their older children are in school.  Find out if your neighborhood or local area has an annual garage sale, it may be worth scheduling your sale then because of the additional traffic.

5. I’ve found Friday to be a FAR better day for a garage sale than Saturday and both are better than a Sunday. We sell 2x as much on Friday as we do on Saturday. In some cities, I understand that Thursday is garage sale day. Either way, ask around to see what weekday is the garage sale day and then follow it up with a second day.

6. We start at 8am and typically stay ‘open’ until 5pm on Friday and then close early on Saturday, around 1 or 2pm, so we can enjoy the weekend.

16 garage sale tips to make hundreds (thousands) at our next garage sale

Merchandising

7. Beg, borrow and steal as many tables as you need. We also clean off one of the garage shelves and wheel it out to use for the sale. A great layout makes a big difference. Some people will not dig through piles of clothing or books so make it easy for them to see everything. Here’s a few suggestions on how to display what’s for sale:

  • Designate a table for each type of item: kitchen, household, toys, home decor, tools, etc.
  • Clothing : divide by men, women, boys and girls and HANG UP as much as you can. For what you cannot hang, lay out a tarp or blanket and organize the clothing there.
  • Books : I use baskets or tubs to organize books by adult vs. children and stand them all up so it’s easy to flip through each one
  • Toys : divide by boys vs. girls, where its obvious, and group by type of toy (if you have that many)
  • Jewelry and small, expensive items : keep them near the ‘checkout’ area where it’s easy to keep an eye on them (sadly, I have had a few pieces taken without pay)

8. Make sure everything you are in selling is in clean and working condition. Wash your clothes and fold them neatly. Wipe down anything dusty. Have batteries or an electrical plugin nearby to show that electronics and toys work

9. Put all of your big items out by the curb, they will encourage people to stop to see what else you have.

10. Gather all the cheap toys (i.e. Happy Meal toys, Dollar Store stuff) and anything else that you don’t think is worth even a quarter and put it into a box labeled FREE. Sit it on the curb at the front of the sale so anyone driving by can see it. You would be surprised how many people stop just to look in the box. It’s also a great place to keep kids busy while moms are shopping  your sale.

Pricing

11. Here is my primary pricing philosophy: I would rather sell it for half price and have cash in hand than haul it to Goodwill the next day. That being said, here’s a few ideas for pricing your items:

  • Price EVERYTHING. People do not want to ask for the price. Even if you just put up simple signs such as “All books are 50 cents”, price EVERYTHING
  • People that shop garage sales are looking for a deal.  If you’ve never shopped one,  you might want to visit several so you can get an idea of pricing in your area.

12. On the last day of your sale, designate the last couple hours to sell everything 1/2 off.  If there are a few items you are not willing to go that low on, just put them off to the side.

great tips for my next garage sale

Advertise

13. Starting 2-3 days before your sale, advertise in as many places as possible.  In the listing, make sure to have:

  • Dates AND days, times and address
  • A list of large and popular items (i.e. lawn mower, couch, table, bike)
  • Highlight anything you have a lot of such as baby clothing, books, tools or anything collectible or vintage

14. Here’s several ideas for free advertising:

  • Craigslist.org : choose your city/area and post under the garage sale category
  • Facebook : search for local groups such as ‘swap’ or ‘garage sale’ or ‘resale’
  • Garage Sale Finder
  • Yard Sale Search
  • GSALR
  • Local newspaper : your newspaper may have a free online listing for garage sales
  • Yard Sale Treasure Map : this app allows you to post your sale and find others nearby

15. Head to the local Dollar Store to buy signs or brightly colored poster board.  Make A LOT of signs and post them at all intersections within a mile of your home.  Many people will be driving through your area, see your sign and try to find your sale so make sure your signs lead directly to the sale whether the driver has your address or not.

16. Make sure to use all the same posters (or poster color) so the driver knows they are following the signs to the same garage sale. Use a thick BLACK market and put the DAYS (not dates), times, address and a HUGE ARROW on each sign so the driver can quickly see which direction to head.

Extra Cash

17. A great way to earn a few extra bucks or give your children an opportunity to be an entrepreneur is to set up a lemonade or baked goods stand. Other things to sell:

  • coffee and hot chocolate
  • donuts and breakfast goods
  • lemonade and iced tea
  • brownies and cookies
  • bottled water
  • popsicles and popcorn
What other tips can you share for a successful garage sale?