Thursday, September 1, 2016

Shopping: ThredUp Love

I’ve long liked the idea of thrift shopping but just have not gotten myself to actually do it.  The idea of having to sort through racks of clothes just does not appeal to me, no matter how much money I may save (time is money and all).  I super rarely buy any clothes at  the physical Target or Old Navy (or any other brick & mortar store) because I hate sifting through, finding what I want.  Even if the thrift stores were as clean and organized as Target I don’t know that I would up be up for all the digging.  But I like the idea of second-hand, for price, variety and environmental reasons.   I also figured that I’m of an age where I can buy more for quality over quantity, branch out beyond Target and Old Navy.  This doesn’t always work with our budget, keeping in my allowance.  

ThredUp combines all those things.  If you follow any fashion bloggers (which I am not claiming to be!) or if you are just a savvy shopper, you have probably heard of it.  (This is not a sponsored post.  I would love it if they would pay me to write about them but they are not.  This is free advertising.)  I can get higher end items for close to Target prices.  I get the variety of many stores, many years worth of clothes.  And it’s all second hand so it’s saving things from the trash or keeping items from being produced.  It’s combining the best of thrift store shopping with my love of shopping online.  It’s wonderful.

For the same reason I love online shopping through traditional stores, you can narrow down your search so easily.  When I’m logged in (both computer and mobile) it saves my selected sizes so I only see things that will (potentially) fit me.  You can pick a category (say, dresses or tops), colors and price range.  You can see only new things with tags still attached or gently used item.  You can search for particular items like “sleeveless floral top”.  You might not always find what you are looking for but their inventory constantly changes so I’m definitely looking semi-regularly for items.  

You can request a clean-out bag, which is free both to receive and send back, fill it with your gently used but no longer loved clothing, and send it back to ThredUp.  They sort through it (which does take a few weeks, the only downfall) and they will pay you for whatever they keep, recycling the rest.  The website says they only keep about 40% of what is sent in and only things within the last few years.  I’ve done two bags, the first they kept 60% and I made $21 which I was thrilled with because I would have just donated all of that anyways.  My second bag was only about 30% kept and I only made $6.  Not as great.  But that’s still $27 I’ve made on things that would have been donated and that bought me a dress and a tank top.  That’s a good enough deal to me.  

Here’s how I do my shopping: You get free shipping with $79, after discount (I’ve gotten at least 10% off every order).  I always get a little over $79.  A weekish later my items arrive and I try everything on.  Some things I know aren’t going to work before even trying them on (even though I still do).  Some things I think about for a few days before deciding yes or no.  There is only a two week return window which is actually nice because it keeps me from sitting on items for too long (a problem I might have with Target, I just returned something I bought in January).  Then, within that two week window, I go online to my ThredUp account, select the items I am going to return, print the packing slip and return label, package it up in the box I got in the mail, tape it, and take to the post office.  Returns are free as long as you take it in ThredUp credit, which I’ve always done.  I know I’m going to be placing another order eventually anyways.  

This whole process of finding items I want, ordering, waiting on shipping, trying them on, and then returning takes about a month so I’ve only been ordering every few weeks.  I keep maybe 1/3 of what I order (actually not too unlike my online Target shopping) but I’ve found enough good things for great prices that I am not going to stop shopping there anytime soon.  With three orders and my two bags sold, I've still only spent $37, after my selling credits.  (Between writing and posting this, I placed another order that hasn't arrived yet but I am super excited about.  Seriously my most anticipated packages.)

Nine West Dress ($17) - got 40% off on top of listed price! | Willi Smith Top ($5) | J. Crew tank top ($8)

A few hints for shopping:

1) If you like something, put it in your bag.  You can hold things there for about 24 hours before anyone else can take it.  I usually go through and put everything in my bag I am even minimally interested in and then narrow it down within the 24 hours to be about $88 ($88 less 10% discount = $79.20)

2) Be specific on your searches and filters, especially the size and price ones.  No use of looking at things that won't even possibly fit or are more expensive than you are willing to pay!

3) If you are unsure about sizes stick with brands you know.  You'll notice I bought a top from Old Navy (honestly for about the same price it would have cost me in the store) and I've ordered (and returned) Target brand things.  

4) But, also, a good time to try brands that would be out of your comfortable price range at full price! 

5) You can't return clearance items or I obviously stay away from those (I buy very few non-returnable things in general).  

Even with all my returning, I'm still very pleased with my ThredUp purchasing.  If you'd like to try them yourself you can click through my referral link and get $10 off your first order (full disclosure: I get $10 too).  I was honestly so excited to write this post before I even knew about the referral program; I really am that happy about shopping through here.  

Have you tried ThredUp?  Are you trying to branch out beyond Target shopping?  I mean, I haven't stopped shopping there but I'm definitely less reliant on them now!  

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