thredUp.com and Swap.com

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SCROLL DOWN FOR 2020 UPDATES AND THRIFTING TIPS!

Online thrift stores have their advantages!
Online thrift stores have their advantages!

PROS:

  • Sorting feature.  Great when you have a specific item in mind – you can easily search by size, color, style!
  • Items are carefully sorted for quality, stains, etc.
  • Helps me avoid shopping trips. I can let Teen browse and drop it in the cart.
 
CONS:
  • You do pay shipping, but it’s reasonable. And free after a certain amount.
  • You may have a return fee, BUT most thrift stores have a no return policy.
  • No men’s clothing. So you can’t shop for the men or even male teens in your life.
  • Variety of sizes?  I can’t be sure, but I’m guessing the size distribution would be about the same as most thrift stores.
 
Clothing your family can really start to add up!  It used to be fairly easy for me to keep up, but then the kids started having OPINIONS about what they wore.  This added a lot of time to something I try to minimize: shopping.  I grew up going to thrift stores and have always frequented them.  But with several kids, I don’t have the time to really go through everything to find what’s needed.  Nor the patience.  So I finally tried a few online thrift stores.
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SWAP.COM

I first tried Swap.com when I realized in mid December that my youngest didn’t have a pair of dress shoes for her Christmas outfit.  I didn’t want to spend a fortune on something she possibly wouldn’t wear very much. So we checked and found a pair of very sparkly shoes that fit the bill.  I also threw in a pair of dress pants that have become a favorite of mine!  We were very happy with our results.

 
My next order just arrived in the mail. I got a pair of size 8 dress/work shoes from Easy Spirit.  Yeah, I was going for old lady comfort here. I’m a solid size 8, but these were too big. Maybe they were stretched?  We also ordered a dress for The Teen’s upcoming dance.  Too short and tight for what her ProductiveMama will allow.  So we are returning both, but the process is EASY.  I’ll be out the initial shipping fee, since my order was not $50 or more, but the return is free and will be fully credited to my credit card. I am OK with the initial shipping fee because it saved me gas and time and stress.
 
Swap.com also has maternity, toys, movies, books, sports/outdoor, gift and baby items. Shipping is free on orders over $50.  I have yet to sell anything on Swap.com.
 

Added Sept 16:  Happy with my second purchase. I wanted cheaper backpacks for a once-a-week homeschool group.  Had my per-bag limit in mind and couldn’t find anything as I was out and about.  Found several options at Swap.com. Also found a pair of good quality boots at a huge discount! So, there went that backpack budget.  Oh well. I do expect to get years out of them, though.

 
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ThredUp.com

Warm wool, great quality, fantastic price!
Warm wool, great quality, fantastic price!

ThredUp has a lot of premium brands.  At least I assume that’s what “Designer” means as one of its categories. I recognize some of the names, but if you have a favorite or are familiar with higher end brands, you might find some great steals.  I’ve ordered twice now, including The Teen’s dress that she will wear to her upcoming dance. I got a few staples for her, like Tee shirts for school.  I got myself some cords that are now staples for me. My best find, though, was an Ice Breaker Merino Wool sweater, in great condition, for under $14! It was listed at $20 but of course I had a hefty coupon to use.  We returned nothing.

Wardrobe staple for me
Wardrobe staple for me
ThredUp has free shipping for orders above $79 and you don’t pay any return fees if you accept store credit in lieu of a refund
 
I also SOLD some clothes to ThredUp. I asked for a thredUp Bag, which they sent me for free with my first order. I stuffed it full of clothing that wasn’t getting worn but was in really good condition.  I didn’t expect them to take much of it because, well, I’m not on top of the trends.  But knowing that they would take care of donating what they didn’t take, I felt so great getting rid of a huge pile of clothes and having the postal carrier haul it all away.  It does take awhile for them to process your bag, but I’m patient.  When I did hear from them, I had received about $30 in credit for 10-ish items.  So that’s probably not a LOT, but it was worth the small effort for me.  I look at it as if I got The Teen’s dance dress for free!  I will definitely check in with thredUp any time I or the kids need something.
I will definitely check in with thredUp any time I or the kids need something.  The quality has been excellent on our purchases so far.  ThredUp also has a nice ipad app.  Use this referral link for $10 from thredUp.com!

2020 Updates!

After a few years, I feel I’ve learned a LOT about how to maximize your time and budget when thrifting online.

Online thrifting is especially great if you know your sizes in certain brands. I have trouble buying pants because of my short legs and thick waist, but I have a few brands I’ll take a chance on. And if the purchase is a flop, I can usually return the item OR I understand I can’t when I take that chance.

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Did you know Birkenstocks made “heels”? I got these from ThredUp and paid over $60  😱 for them because they are a rare find for someone like me, who wears Birks to dress up!

I find that putting in my specific searches saves me the most time and money. This allows me to not have to stalk the site constantly. For instance, I’ll always be interested in Birkenstocks or Ice Breaker wool clothing. So I tell each thrift store to email or text me when an item matching my size in those brands shows up.

**The photos here are all shoes because I’ve been focused on upgrading to stable footwear since my ankle injury. I never knew how much ankles had to do with your balance!  I’ve accepted the need to invest in quality footwear, but am not ready to accept that at full price!**

I have found that items move much faster at Thredupat least in my preferred quality brands. So I know if I find something I need to decide right away if I want it. But I try not to get caught up in FOMO. I try to decide based on my current budget situation and the real value and use expectation of the item. There have been many “perfect” items I’ve had to let go because I just didn’t have the budget for it.

I also favorite/love items at BOTH stores. I can watch the prices creep down OR I can tag on an item if I am close to free shipping. It also helps me know what to expect in pricing for similar items in the future. Favorite-ing items also helps if you ever try a ThredUp Goodie Box. I’ve only gotten one or two, but they look at what you like to pick items for you. They also use this, in addition to your browsing history, for the “Recommendations” feature. I’ve only checked that out once and they pegged me pretty well, showing lots of boring solid colors, stripes and black and white. That’s me! They also threw in a $250 Giorgio Armani cocktail dress that I would definitely wear, if I ever spent that much on one item of clothing AND if I had any occasion to wear it.

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While these look like basic flip-flops, they are Vionics. I got them from Swap.com for $24 last October. At the time I probably had just stopped using a cane and knew I’d need better foot support when it warmed up again.

Another awesome feature I’m just now seeing is “My Closet.” ThredUp takes your past purchases and offers suggestions to go with them. I don’t find myself drawn to those recommendations very much, but I did like that the price points were varied, working with any budget.

You can also find and follow style icons, which is not something I really do. But maybe I should? You pick someone whose style you admire and they’ve chosen ThredUp items they like. Most of them are already sold but ThredUp always suggests other similar items to one that you are viewing has sold.

ThredUp has a pretty high free shipping minimum ($79, whereas Swap.com is $60).  To help you reach it, you can purchase an item and keep it “on hold” for seven days, giving you time to add to the total and reach that minimum. They call it Buy and Bundle and I almost always do this. Rarely am I in a hurry for anything. I don’t always reach the minimum but I like to keep the opportunity open. And usually what I get is enough of a value/deal to me that I’m willing to pay the shipping on it.

ThredUp also has Rescue Boxes which are boxes of items that haven’t sold yet or might need a little TLC. Per piece, they are quite cheap. But you get no say in what you get, except size. I got an All Sizes box around Christmas as a fun experiment for the four ladies in my household. I have been meaning to write a detailed review of it since then. In short, one of my girls really lucked out, the other two got a few pieces they liked and I got only about 2. I can’t go into much more detail here, but I will later!

ThredUp allows you to shop from the same warehouse and choose one close to you to lessen your carbon footprint even more. This is a great option for you eco-conscious fashionistas.

Finally, ThredUp just released a reward system where you earn Loyalty Points when you order, send in clothes for resale, visit frequently or buy gift cards. You redeem the points on things like free shipping, discounts, and a restocking fee waiver (perfect if you do take a chance on something). This is a new system so I can’t speak to it much yet.

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I bought two pairs of these Jambus from Swap.com to share amongst my girls. The silver were $24 and the gold were $14.

BOTH stores have FREQUENT sales.  Swap.com probably has more frequent high dollar sales and free shipping specials than ThredUp, but ThredUp has the rewards program.  Both do have refer-a-friend discounts.

Overall, Swap.com’s system is less sophisticated, but their prices are also lower. So when you find something perfect for you, it’s likely to be a STEAL. They also won’t send it in tissue paper or a fancy box, but I care not. I’ve gotten some high quality “old lady,” somewhat stylish shoes from there for AMAZING prices. Footwear is now a big deal for me after the bus crash. I need to be stable on my feet!

Get 40% when you sign up for Swap.com with this link.
$10 off from ThredUp with this link.
$10 credit when you get a “clean out kit” here.

If you have a favorite online thrift store or other tips for these two, please feel free to share them!

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