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.


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 soon. Here’s a few tips that I believe helped us get there.


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.


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.


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


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.


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. Make it simple by using these preprinted garage sale stickers and putting up simple signs such as “All books are 50 cents”.
  • 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


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:

  • : 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
  • 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. Buy several garage sale 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. I personally like these signs because they stand up on their own and I don’t have to find a post to awkwardly hang a sign on.

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?


10 Ways Using the Library Will Save You Money

simple ways using the library can save you money

I adore the library and think it’s one of the most underutilized public programs we have available to us! Our local libraries offer so much more than just books, they have a wealth of material, programs and online resource available to save you money:

Internet Access

Using the Internet at the library can be a great way to chop $50 or more from your monthly budget. If you don’t have a computer, they have one for you to use or you can bring your own and use their free Wi-fi.


We recently canceled the DVD portion of our Netflix account because we can score both DVD and Blu-ray movies from the library for free. We also really like that most are available for check out for as long as one or two weeks.  We reserve movies we want online, and I am notified by email when they are available.


I am a magazine junkie, but I only subscribe to a few favorites. I’ve been known to climb in a comfy chair with a cup of coffee and a magazine at the library. I also like that the magazines have a longer life because they are used by many readers.


Here’s the thing about eBooks – you don’t even need to own an e-reader! Most of them are available for download to your computer or mobile device so take advantage of all the free eBooks your library has to offer.


Sometimes I just need to listen to a CD a few times before to decide that I don’t need to buy it.  I check them out from the library, blast them in my car for a week or two and then return them. I also take advantage of the library’s Freegal system, it allows me to download up to three MP3’s at a time and keep them as long as I’d like. I’ve saved myself a lot of impulse iTunes purchases this way.


The children’s programs have been particularly good for us during the winter when outside play is not always a good idea. Instead of paying for a pricey indoor play area, we can head over to the library for their weekly free programs. Our library offers crafts, movies, sing-a-longs and I’ve also seen teen classes for SAT prep and free tutoring.

Free Tickets and Passes

Our local library offers a family pass to the local museum, and the one I belonged to previously had tickets for every major museum, garden and historical venue in the area. It was a great benefit allowing us to try out many cultural events in our city for free. We ended up liking one of them so much that we paid for an annual membership.

Summer Reading Program

The reading programs offered by most libraries not only encourages kids to read throughout the summer, but you can often score several freebies for participating. We have gotten many free books, pizzas, ice cream cones and sporting event tickets when we completed the program.

Language Lessons

I’ve had my eye on some online language lessons, but then I discovered our library gives all members access to Mango Languages where we can study 11 different languages. They also offer an ESL course. This might be particularly helpful to homeschooling families.

Book Sales

I have stocked at least half our home library collection from the wonderful sales at local libraries. I try to attend several per year and have scored so many great books for $1 or less. Not only have I purchased many books in great condition, I’ve also purchased DVD’s, CD’s and puzzles. My advice: go early and go often, you will not regret it.

What special perks or programs does your library offer?