A few months back, I agreed to make $4 an hour selling to Clothes Mentor*. Like a dummy. Because if there’s anything that I don’t do, it’s learn my lesson the first time. Enter: thredUP.
ThredUP promises to be worth it. There is the unrelenting social media advertising. There is the adorable green polka dot bag. There is the promise that it is quick and easy. So was thredUP worth it? Since I made $5.60 in just over a month, let’s go with maybe.
Is ThredUp Worth It?
ThredUP isn’t worth much if you’re expecting a big payout. In fact, I deliberately held back any designer items because I know I could either promote them more actively on Poshmark or drop them off at a designer consignment shop. But I rounded up a jacket, a few pieces from the LOFT, a few pieces from Target, and a pair of shoes I had never worn. I tossed them in the bag and sent them on their merry way.
That’s when the fun started. ThredUP sent me an email saying tracking activated on my bag. Great. They sent a few more encouraging emails while my items were en route to the magical sorting center. Also great.
Then they sent an email saying due to the high volume of stuff, I could expect my items to be sorted by the end of the next month. That’s right. I had to wait over five weeks beyond the shipping time to get paid. Let’s be clear. Using thredUP is easy. But it isn’t a strategy for making fast cash.
Still, if I continue to sell, I’ll use thredUP because it takes virtually no effort to earn money. It takes time, but not in a way that actually matters. I estimate that between activating my account, requesting a bag, bringing in the mail, and filling up my bag with items that I hadn’t previously sold on Poshmark, I spent about 15 minutes actively selling to thredUP. The rest was simply waiting. Working for $20 an hour isn’t going to make me rich. But it’s also not going to make me poor.
Why I Bother
I often wonder why I don’t simply donate everything. The answer is complicated. There are many minimalists and declutters who are far more efficient than I do. They simply round everything up, toss it all in trash bags, and heft it over to Goodwill. I cannot bring myself to do that with everything.
It’s not the sunk cost. I understand that I’m not going to make it big from reselling** my things. You’re talking to someone who has collectively made less than $10 through my most recent visit to Clothes Mentor and my one bag at thredUp. No, there is no way that I could recoup the money that I sunk into my closet.
And I’m not against donations. At all. I have donated many items. Many, many items. I don’t say this as a way to fish for compliments or as a way to justify any future tax deductions (be cool, IRS). I say it because I do know how absolutely fantastic is feels to give things away. And I much prefer to know my donations are going to a specific person or for a specific cause. That’s part of why I love listing items for free using NextDoor and Facebook.
That same desire to know that things are going to a good home has me hooked on sites like Poshmark, and to a lesser degree, thredUP. I was the queen of waste. Over $10,000 in truly wasteful spending. Nevermind the problems with fast fashion that range from unfair labor practices to environmental waste. So in some convoluted way, making sure that each of my things makes its way into a good home closet to be appreciated by someone makes my conscious feel a teeny bit better.
Until I finally get this clutter totally cleared away, I’ll keep implementing a balance of selling and donating. I don’t know that I have all the answers when it comes to selling online. But it seems like thredUP could be an efficient piece of a decluttering strategy.
So Tell Me…When will I learn my lesson? When did you? How do I finally convince myself not to care if people throw out my stuff?
*For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of wasting your time at Clothes Mentor, it’s Plato’s Closet’s big sister. Don’t worry. She’s equally finicky, she’s just as disorganized, and she also smells faintly of Febreeze mixed with bowling alley shoe disinfectant.
**For those of you who are keeping score, I just cracked $1,300 in re-selling this year.
Kalie @ Pretend to Be Poor
I also really prefer if I can hand stuff down to a friend or acquaintance and feel that it will be used and appreciated. I’ve also started giving stuff to the Salvation Army because I like their approach to helping the poor.
I sold some things on ebay for a relative pittance. Most things I have “worth” selling were given to me anyway, since I don’t shop much for clothing, and then at the thrift store. I think it takes a couple tries to realize it’s just not worth it. Then again, my husband sold a pair of (hand-me-down) jeans at ebay for $100. Maybe I’m just a bad salesperson.
That’s fantastic about the ebay sale! I think I have finally landed on a new philosophy. For every item I list for sale, I’m going to donate double. This weekend, I listed a designer necklace and earrings set, so I found four more lotions, perfumes, etc., to donate. And then if the items don’t sell, I’m donating.
Mrs. Picky Pincher
Hahaha, I never learn my lesson either when it comes to these things! I’ve had a hard time considering time lost vs. money gained. A week’s worth of work for $6? I like to think it’s a win, but in reality it’s just pennies for the effort I exerted. I’m working on keeping my time valuable, but it’s tough!
I usually donate things to Goodwill, but if it’s items that still hold value, I do try to sell them over at Clothes Mentor, Craigslist, or eBay. There’s nothing wrong with trying to make even a little bit of your money back, especially if it’s for a quality piece of clothing!
I also love giving things away for free to a good home, but sometimes it’s much, much easier to load up the car and drop the whole shebang off at Savers, where they say that they donate some proceeds to Big Brothers Big Sisters. After this, it’s out of my hands.
Some of it probably ends up in landfills, though I hope that it’s recycled instead. I also know that not ALL the proceeds are donated, but I think that the store itself is a benefit to the community and I shop there sometimes too, so I’m glad it makes enough to stay in business.
When I do shop there, sometimes I see my old stuff for sale, so I know that at least some of it truly is being rehomed.
Could I do better? Of course. But at what cost? Most of my stuff isn’t Poshmark-worthy, and I think it’s only fair that if Savers will take my old hangers and tupperware and keep them out of a landfill, they can have some Ann Taylor too.
We have a circle of family and friends of our families. We put the word out, wait for a week for the word to get around to see if anyone
wants/needs or knows someone who wants/needs the thing/things. If
no one does then the thing/things are donated. As a rule, the majority of us, will only try to sell big ticket items that we’ve bought such as motorcycles, a newish set of furniture or a newish appliance. Handmedowns are never sold, they’re just handed down again, lol! I seldom buy new clothes any more as I can find last season’s items at Goodwill in their $1.49 a pound store. Seventy five cents for a pair of jeans beats the hell out of $75! And I’m dressed quite stylishly.
It’s also a case of “know thyself”. If I don’t get things out of the house quickly, they’ll sneak back in somehow in the middle of the night. And, while I want to be frugal, I want to be clutter free even more! So, I’ll line dry my clothes and make my own detergent and cook frugal meals and mend things and make things myself and save money that way. And I’ll give away and donate the things that I no longer need or want. And I’ll watch in admiration all of the entrepreneurs raking in the cash from selling their stuff…… from afar, lol!
That’s such a smart strategy! I definitely give away more than I sell or try to sell. I think it’s part of me being reluctant to let it go. I really need to just say adios. The extra space provides way more relief than the $50-$100. I think 😉
Well, in my case it works best because I’m clearing the clutter from 37 years of marriage. Don’t know who’s worse…..me or the hub’s, lol! Both of us have had a Great Depression mentality due not only to upbringing but to having been so broke for so many of the early years of our marriage. Letting go of things is hard for me but it’s easier if it’s family or friends who want or need something or knowing that my things are going to someone who is, maybe, as broke as we were years ago. I so vividly remember wanting pretty things that we couldn’t afford. But, I have to get things out of the house in a timely fashion because if I don’t then I’ll start second guessing myself and things might never leave…..and I NEED things to leave, lol!
Don’t sell to Thredup. I just did and I personally think that they take too much money from the sale. They’re giving me 3.65 for 4 items of which two pairs of jeans still had tags on them. I’d rather just donate my items to a local church.
I really should update this now that I’ve “sold” them baby clothes, too. I agree, Adriana. They are a joke. And the fact that they now sell items they reject (?!) is even more frustrating. I felt better about things not being taken because at least they went to charity.
And so many charities….big brother/big sister, women’s shelters, men’s she!ters, churches in less fortunate areas as well as community programs in those areas and a whole slew more that I’m probably unaware of. I figure that $5.65 isn’t going to make me or break me….but that same $5.65 might have back in the early years when I was so thankful for hand-me-downs so my money could go to stuff like the electricity bill and groceries. And I think about all of the people out there that don’t have the family and community that I did where hand-me-downs and borrowing stuff back and forth was a given. Not saying that trying to make back some of the money that we spend on stuff is selfish or wrong….just that I generally come out with a wealth of good feelings by giving stuff to someone who really needs it.