Selling your clothes through a consignment store is a good way to make extra cash, but what if you could sell your stuff without leaving your house? That’s where thredUP comes in.
The thredUP app puts a thrift store in your pocket by letting you sell women’s and children’s clothing and accessories to declutter your space while making money — all without much effort on your part.
How does thredUP work?
- Order your Clean Out Kit
- Pack up your items
- Send in your bag and wait for processing
- Choose whether to consign or take an upfront payout
- Monitor your items
- Get your payout
1. Order your Clean Out Kit
On the homepage of the thredUP app, tap the “Clean Out” tab. Click the bag icon in the bottom right corner, then select the type of Clean Out Kit you want to order.
To sell your clothes, you can choose the standard or expedited bag, which each come with pre-paid shipping labels from thredUP.
The standard bag comes without a fee, but you’ll have to wait a few weeks for your bag to be processed. Ordering the expedited bag will get your clothes processed faster, but it comes with a $16 price tag that’s deducted from your earnings.
If you want to get rid of clothes and don’t care about making money, you can opt for the donation bag and do something good for others.
ThredUP gives $5 to a partner charity of your choice for every bag that you donate, plus you’ll get a donation tax receipt for each bag. Men’s clothes are not normally accepted by thredUP, but can be sent in a donation bag.
Whichever bag you choose will help you get rid of extra clothes and declutter your closet.
Once you select the type of bag you want, you can opt for return assurance. Return assurance means that thredUP will return any clothes to you if you have second thoughts about letting go, have items that are not accepted from your kit, or have items that don’t sell during consignment.
Opting into return assurance costs $11, which will be deducted from your processed bag earnings. Unless you have extremely high-value items that are like new, it’s probably better to let your items go for good.
Next, you answer a short questionnaire about the types of items you’ll put into your Clean Out Bag. After that, input your information to complete your Clean Out Kit order.
I opted for a standard Clean Out Kit without return assurance so that I could earn the maximum amount from the items in my thredUP bag. Throughout the thredUP process, keep an eye on your email for important updates regarding your kit.
2. Pack up your items
When choosing items for your Clean Out Kit, you can look up thredUP’s payout estimates based on brand, item and recent examples of accepted clothing. Your clothes are more likely to be accepted if they are clean and in-season.
You’ll get a tracking email with your kit number when thredUP ships it to you. When your bag arrives, it’s time to pack up your clothes!
I put nine items into my bag:
- 2 pairs of shoes
- 2 pairs of pants
- 2 pairs of shorts
- 1 sweater
- 1 dress
- 1 shirt
I didn’t realize how big the bag would be, but I could have fit a lot more into it if I had more items.
The brands I included in my bag were:
- Ralph Lauren
- Under Armour
- Forever 21
- Isaac Mizrahi
ThredUP states that they typically accept less than 40% of items in a Clean Out Bag. Any unaccepted items are either recycled or resold apart from the main shop to recoup money. You don’t receive any payout from unaccepted items.
3. Send in your bag and wait for processing
Once all of your items are packed up, it’s time to seal your bag and send it off!
The thredUP bag comes with a shipping label on it and you can schedule a free USPS pickup or drop it off at a post office or FedEx store.
When the bag is in transit, you’ll get another tracking email. This email is your last chance to change your mind about return assurance. It’s also your last chance to change your bag to a donation instead.
When your kit has been received, you’ll get another email notification with a time estimate on when your items will be processed. The estimate varies based on the influx of items thredUP is processing at the time.
My estimate stated that my bag would be processed about three weeks after it had been received, however, it was actually processed in about a week.
Processing includes a detailed item evaluation and professional photography for accepted items that are listed by thredUP. Once your items have been processed, you’ll get another email and any of your accepted pieces will be posted for sale.
4. Choose whether to consign or take an upfront payout
The final email also includes info about your upfront earnings versus potential consignment earnings.
If you choose the upfront payout, you accept thredUP’s estimates and the earnings that they offer you. The only decision you have to make after that is your payment method! ThredUP notes that upfront offers are only available for seven days after your items are accepted.
My total earnings turned out to be $1.39 for an upfront payout or $2.75 for a consignment payout.
Since consigning my items could potentially get me more money, I decided to wait instead of taking the upfront cash. You will only make money on consignment items when or if they sell in the 90-day time frame that thredUP sets.
If you choose to consign like I did, read the next step. If not, you can skip to the payout section for info on how to claim your cash upfront.
5. Monitor your items
You can monitor your consignment items from each Clean Out Kit that thredUP processes for you in the “Selling” tab in the “Account” section of the thredUP app. Then click on the kit you want to check on for further details.
Of the nine items I submitted, only three were accepted for consignment. I was a little disappointed, but that number does align with thredUP’s disclaimer that they typically only accept 40% or less of items in a Clean Out Kit.
They accepted the athletic shoes and both pairs of shorts that I sent in. All of the items were in-season and labeled as “Like new” or “Gently worn” and assigned a sale value by thredUP.
You can change the price of your consignment items if you think thredUP misjudged their value. Just click “Edit price” and adjust it to your liking. The key here is to set a reasonable price while maximizing your earnings.
The two pairs of shorts I sent in were priced in the lowest tier of thredUP’s pricing structure, meaning that I would earn 5% of what each item sold for.
However, I thought that my pair of green shorts from LOFT could fetch slightly more. I bumped up the price just enough to push it into the second tier so that if the shorts sold, I’d earn 10% of the sale rather than 5%.
So what’s the deal with these numbers and earning money?
You’ll know when someone has one of your items in their cart because it’s marked “Reserved” in your account. Once one of your items is purchased it’s marked “Sold.”
The buyer has 14 days to return the item and if they do, it goes back up for sale. If the buyer decides to keep it, earnings from the item will be posted to your account.
But if an item is sold and then returned, thredUP will relist it for the remaining days of the 90-day period at the time the item was sold so that all pieces have the same amount of time to sell.
If an item doesn’t sell within the 90-day timeframe, you won’t be paid for it. If you didn’t choose return assurance, any unsold items will be recycled by thredUP.
6. Get your payout
Your earnings can be put toward a thredUP purchase or cashed out via PayPal or a gift card.
PayPal payouts come with a 2% transfer fee but are available in your account immediately. The pre-paid gift cards have no upfront fees, but will take up to 14 days to be delivered to you.
Any method you choose will put money in your pocket from the clothes that were cluttering up your closet.
So is thredUP worth it? Here’s my review…
This experience was extremely easy to navigate, but it required patience. ThredUP gives you precise instructions and plenty of information as you go through the cleanout process, but finding out when my payout would be available was a guessing game.
After about a month of my items being listed, two of my items were marked “Sold” but no earnings had been posted to my account, so I contacted customer service via the chat feature in the app.
They couldn’t answer my question right away but sent a comprehensive answer with the timeline for my earnings about an hour and a half later.
My total earnings were much lower than I initially expected, but I didn’t have to do any work beyond sending in my clothes and checking my account for updates.
I got the most out of my bag by skipping the big fees like an expedited kit and return assurance and opting to gamble on consignment rather than taking an upfront payout.
If you have high-quality items and want a convenient consignment experience, thredUP might be the answer you’re looking for.
The app doesn’t necessarily pay you a lot, but you could get more from thredUP than you would if you took your items to a donation center like Goodwill, where you wouldn’t earn any money.
ThredUP is ideal if you want to get a little extra from clothes you’re getting rid of, but don’t need the cash right away.