Emily Henderson Header Image Emily Henderson

Purging the easy way...

My new life (and closet) changing secret

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We are celebrating over here because a new way to purge, sell, and shop for second hand clothes has entered my life and you all should know about it (many of you already do). It’s called thredUP and it’s life-and-closet changing. It’s a partnership that came about organically, meaning that I contacted them and said we really should work together to purge, sell, buy, and style second hand clothes. They were into it.

Here’s the story: When we bought the new house I knew that I had to downsize my clothes. Our new 100 year old house has small closets and while I’m not a total clothes horse, I am like most of us where unless I’m forced to purge I’ll just keep adding and adding. So one Saturday I turned on the Hamilton soundtrack, grabbed some coffee and started pulling things down, trying them on and looking at them objectively. Many pieces were either ‘cool’ or ‘flattering’ but not both.

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The pile started. Many pieces were also dated – I was hanging on to my late 20’s HARD. Many pieces were too small for me after 2 kids, and it was time to release that insidious form of torture. The pile grew and grew. There were a lot of items that were barely worn, and some not at all. There were some that were worn but just really, really good. The idea of sending them all to a thrift store seemed wasteful. Birdie agreed.

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A good friend of mine had just told me about thredUP so I figured I’d try this magical service and go on the site. I ordered a Clean Out Bag to get started. But I loved the service so much that I emailed them with a pitch to partner on my purge and some lovely holiday content for you all.  As someone who grew up thrifting for need and fun, I have become rather disillusioned with the chain thrift stores out there now. They are expensive and picked over. Rarely do you find gems and I often leave annoyed they are charging the same prices as Ikea or Target. It’s insane. But second hand is ALWAYS a good idea so I think the world was ready for a new approach.

So we started chatting about ways we can work together, meanwhile they sent me 15 bags and I filled those bags:

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All you have to do is quickly signup and they send you a Clean Out Bag. Then you put your gently used clothing in the bag. Seal it with its auto-seal (like glue) and give it to your postman or drop it off – it already has a label and it’s marked as yours in their system. Weeks later you’ll get a notification that your bag is being checked, and then listed, and then if items are sold you get a percentage. The percentage varies on the price of each piece and it is nominal (like if they sell it for $8 you might get $2) but it adds up, it’s easy and you do feel like your years of shopping for your clothes aren’t just being wasted.

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It’s GENIUS. It’s the world’s largest online thrift store and one that you can sell on – except you don’t have to list anything yourself. It’s the most efficient alternative to donating clothes ever. And one of the best parts? What doesn’t fit as a listing or what is listed but doesn’t sell doesn’t end up in a landfill like it does with a lot of other companies. It’s not a huge money making venture. You aren’t going to get rich from it, but it makes purging and donating what you were going to anyway so much easier and faster while you make some extra money.

There is such good stuff on the site!!! Heck I gave like 12 pairs of perfectly good designer jeans that just don’t fit me anymore. There are a lot of basics as well as designer pieces. I used to take my pile to a consignment store, and waste an afternoon, humiliated while they chose 2 shirts for $12 total. Not exactly a good use of my time.

Well life just got easier and faster. I can’t recommend it enough – you clean out and make money. Plus how fun/cute is the branding?

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They came over and we shot some fun gifs and videos for the holidays. Remember it’s not just purging, it’s a huge shoppable site with a ton of inventory that changes daily – and it’s all affordable. Many pieces are even new with tags.

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The first gif we made was about layering, my favorite thing to do in home and fashio. We don’t have to layer too much here, but for the sake of all your weather patterns I layered on and on. 

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We started with a simple and comfy form fitting black tee to go under everything, next we threw on the button down shirt and the cropped vest, which can both definitely be worn together without anything else over them, but for those days that it does get a little more chilly here in LA, and by chilly I mean when it drops below 60, we topped it off with the pink oversized jacket from Zara and the beanie – because well you know your ears get cold too and it makes me feel pretty hip if I do say so myself.

If you order from thredUP for the holidays you receive it in this adorable box and it comes with a tag that can be used as a christmas gift tag.

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Sure. There are other second hand clothing sites out there, but none with so much inventory in good condition from amazing brands for women and kids. Their prices are always up to 90% off. They have last years J. Crew, last season’s Kate Spade, I even spot the occasional Rachel Comey’s which are my favorite shoes that are way too expensive to buy constantly new. They have it all. Every one-of-a-kind find goes through a meticulous process before it is accepted and listed on the site.

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It’s really a game changer. I’ve convinced so many of my friends to do it (even before we partnered) and they all love it.

I know that we as women don’t buy too many clothing gifts for other women but for holiday dresses or winter clothes, they have you covered and there are so many pieces that are new and clothing for kids that could be great gifts. The only time I spend money on clothes for kids is when it’s somebody else’s child – I’m over wasting money on adorableness that just gets ruined or they grow out of too fast. So this second hand alternative is amazing to both clothe our kids but also to sell all the pretty things that they grew out of too fast.

So check out the site. Follow them on Facebook (they create really great Facebook content that I look forward to seeing) and if you want to see some of the content that we’ve already created you can check them out.

Sign up for thredUP and pick out an item you love, include a link to it in the comments section telling me why you love it. On Monday, Dec 12th at noon PT we’ll pick one lucky commenter at random to win $200 to shop on thredUP.

Meanwhile any of you who want to start shopping for gifts can use code EMHENDERSON40 at checkout for 40% off your first time order (discount up to $50). Expires on 3/1/2017.

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  1. I love threadUP! I’ve sent in multiple bags and purchased items for myself and for my 2-year old daughter. I keep a clean-out bag in my closet so I can just throw things in there when the urge strikes.

  2. I 100% thought this was going to be a surprise pregnancy announcement when I could only see the title and first picture (on Bloglovin)!

    1. They are terrible with payouts and wait time. I feel like I would have been better off donating to someone or an organization who could use them considering the extremely low payout. Seller beware.

      1. I was going to say the same thing. I’m glad someone said it. I kept waiting for more people to mention this. As a seller, I’d steer clear and donate to Salvation Army or somewhere else. You may not get paid but you are giving to people in need and you do get a tax slip. Thred up’s valuation of your clothing will not be the amount you expect. Read online reviews to get a clear picture of this site. If you’re looking to purchase it’s a good option though.

        1. I agree! I sent in a ton of fantastic stuff and got a very low pay out. Now I noticed the wait time to receive a clean out bag can we up to 16 weeks and they take $9.99 from the total payout. Yikes! I stopped doing thred up and just donated to my local charity thrift store.

  3. ThredUP didn’t work well for me. Out of the three bags I’ve sent them, they’ve accepted exactly three items. I can see how they’d work well if you’re shopping but not great for me for selling. Instead I went the consignment vintage route and did very well. They weren’t any pickier than ThredUP and I got a lot more $$$. Plus anything they didn’t sell, I could give to friends and family or donate to charity myself and get the tax receipt (which you don’t get with ThredUP).

    I really like the idea of ThredUP and I’m happy it’s worked so well for you. It just wasn’t my cup of peppermint tea…

    1. I have had the same experience. They accepted a really low percentage of the things I sent in and I got almost no money for them. So I regretted spending the time to even send them in. Just donating somewhere locally would have been a lot easier. I have purchased some kids clothes from them which seemed like mostly a good deal. Although their shipping costs often negate the savings on kids clothes unless you buy a lot all at once.

    2. I haven’t tried it but that’ because I’ve heard your criticism echoed from others. Emily had a great experience but, as a reader, I’d have preferred if she hadn’t cut a deal with them to advertise their services on her blog. They of course want to market themselves well under the circumstances so Emily’s experience isn’t at all on par with the average person sending in a bag of clothes.

  4. I’ve just found ThredUp and I’ve waiting to find out if that’s YOU on their site.

    Love them and would love to have some extra cash to shop in their store. $200 would be an entire new wardrobe from ThredUp. 🙂

  5. ThredUP is the bomb and I’ve been loving using them for a few years! Its how I afford nice jeans on a small budget 🙂

  6. https://www.thredup.com/product/women-wool-dkny-black-wool-coat/20062731?sizing_id=778%2C795%2C781%2C774%2C790%2C551%2C554

    I know this may look like a basic black coat, but I love the silhouette (I’m short and have curves so without a pulled-in waist I look like an oompa loompa).

    I live in Austin, Texas so our “winters” aren’t bad, but it does get cold enough for me to wear a coat occasionally.

    However, spending hundreds of dollars on a good wool coat just never seems practical. I can never pull the trigger because there are so many things I need more. ThredUP is such a great idea for this problem! The coats on the site are so discounted! And a coat is something I don’t mind having minor wear and tear.

    1. They are terrible with payouts and wait time. I feel like I would have been better off donating to someone or an organization who could use them considering the extremely low payout. Seller beware.

    1. They are terrible with payouts and wait time. I feel like I would have been better off donating to someone or an organization who could use them considering the extremely low payout. Seller beware.

  7. After realizing that I would never fit into the clothes I wore two kids ago, I purged my closet. I have sent in 20 bags to ThredUp and made over $3500. (I’m actually a bit embarrassed to write that since it demonstrates that I used to have a shopping addiction, but I truly got rid of my entire wardrobe, plus every pair of heels I had. Flats for the win!) For those considering using the service, here are some things you should know: ThredUp is SUPER picky about what they’ll take. Clothes have to be NWT or in near-perfect condition. While that can be frustrating when you are trying to sell something, it’s great to know as a buyer. If you are concerned that they’ll reject something you could sell elsewhere, opt for the return service. ThredUp also changed their payout structure since I first started using the service. I’ve received less per bag since then, but at least I’m making some money! You get automatic payouts for items selling below a certain amount and for the rest, you get paid once it sells. EVERY item that I’ve ever had listed on consignment has sold (and fairly quickly.) Finally, know that there is a long processing time for bags. My last one took about 6 weeks to process.

    1. They are terrible with payouts and wait time. I feel like I would have been better off donating to someone or an organization who could use them considering the extremely low payout. Seller beware.

  8. I love ThredUP! Been perusing it for a while to help outfit my three boys! I always search for something there first before moving to the big box stores!

  9. I despise the requirement to create an account or sign in without a chance to look around first. I just stopped doing it because either I have another account to manage or my social media sites get spammed with comments I didn’t sanction. This might be the best idea ever but I can’t tell.

  10. This is perfect timing! One of my New Year’s resolutions is going to be buy clothing more sustainably. I have always shopped at thrift stores, but I love the idea of being able to do that from home instead of driving all over, hoping I can find something I like in good condition, and wasting all that gas.

    1. They are terrible with payouts and wait time. I feel like I would have been better off donating to someone or an organization who could use them considering the extremely low payout. Seller beware.

  11. Hi Emily, I’d never heard of this company but was intrigued because I trust you. It looks like they have great stuff for sale, at decent prices — it’s a great business model. But you may want to check out the many bad reviews of them online. Some people feel ripped off. It seems possible that the ‘responsible recycling’ they do with the donations of clothes and goods might involve reselling the items (through avenues other than their main site) while giving the donators no credit. If you think the items you’ve carefully chosen to send to them would all be sellable you are probably right….but they might tell you that only, say, 5 of the 22 items you sent are worthwhile and that they ‘recycled’ the rest.

    For someone who just wants to clear out her closet, this probably won’t matter. But those who are thinking they’ll make some decent money might want to do a bit of research. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) site is a good start.

    1. Thank you. This is good to know. Having suffered the humiliation of the resale shop that Emily talked about in the article, I was eager for an alternative. I donate a lot of clothes but it’s nice to get a little (and I mean a little) money once in a while for the nicer things.

      I have had better luck selling things on a friend’s etsy shop and on ebay, actually. I think I’ll have to pass on threadup because I don’t really like shopping for pre-owned clothing on-line.

  12. I’ve done ThredUp before with decent results, but their Clean Out Kits have been out of stock foreverrrrr. I just moved and REALLY want to purge, but it looks like I’ll be dropping off a ton of stuff at Goodwill instead.

  13. I used thredUP several times since but in this last year it has stopped being effective for me. There is always a waitlist FOR A BAG (right now it’s over a month) and then a long wait for them to open the bag (up to two months) then a wait until you get the money….. and they seem to be taking less and less items. It’s no longer convenient for me so I will bring select things to a consignment store if I feel like I’d like to get something for them, and the rest I bring to the thrift store or pass on to friends.
    I really want this service to work but it has failed to be effective. Maybe they grew too fast and are unable to keep up?

  14. I have to disagree, Emily. I think they are the worst when it comes to their payouts. I sent them really cute, barely worn, quality merchandise and would have been better off donating to a woman’s shelter. I saw that you noted if they sold something for $8 that you get $2. You actually get 5 percent of the sale price at $8. So you would get .40. A joke.

  15. It’s probably not from ThredUp, but I LOVE the blue and white dotted sweater with the dark trim that you are wearing in the second-to-last photo! What is the label?

  16. i hope you didn’t throw out any of those coats cause they look super cute on you! I know we only need them like 2 days in LA- but my peacoats live for those days! haha

  17. ThredUp, your womens section seems great, but your kids section makes me ragey. The prices are universally higher than what I would pay in the store for Old Navy, Childrens Place, Carters, etc. Are you insane? Nobody pays full tag at these stores. Ever.

  18. I’ve used thredup and was generally happy. I think that it is worth pointing out a few things though:

    1) The retail prices they charge aren’t really that great of a deal. Ex; I just looked at a pair of mini-boden boys pants. They were “up to 90% off” and priced at $16.99. 90% off would imply that that pair of toddler’s pants sold originally for $170, which is clearly incorrect. A similar pair of new pants on mini-boden is $55, implying that the discount would be 70%. That sounds good, other than most people rarely pay full price for anything anymore. This probably sounds nit-picky, but the point is that it makes sense to think about what you would actually pay for these items new and in many cases, the discount you are getting for buying used isn’t all that great.

    2) If people are looking to purge and make money, don’t forget that you can get a tax deduction for donating stuff to goodwill, etc. Let’s say you donate $500 worth of stuff (valued at what you estimate fair market value is) and you are in a 35% tax bracket, that donation would be worth $175 to you when you file your taxes at year end. It feels less exciting than a check in hand, but there is real monetary value to just donating it.

    3) The lack of transparency with the thredup model is mildly concerning to me. Not concerning enough to keep me from using it, but I have thought about it. They say that they donate or recycle clothes that they don’t accept, but what if the person checking the bag just decides they want to keep something themselves and therefore it goes into the ‘donate’ pile? I’m not saying that happens, but there doesn’t appear to be checks in place to keep it from happening. The clear solution is to pay to have unaccepted items sent back to you, but then it kinds of negates the point of cleaning out your closet…

    Anyways, thanks for the content on your blog. I always enjoy reading it.

  19. I won’t be selling here again. I did not have hopes of making a large amount of money, however I am not happy with how long the.process takes. They had my bag for a month before they even processed it (on nov 22). I had 7 items accepted immediately and 1 on consignment. All have now sold but I am still waiting for the consignment sale to credited to my account so I can cash out. In future I will take designer items to Buffalo exchange and just donate “brand” items to a thrift store.

  20. A beautiful wool red dress for the holidays-https://www.thredup.com/product/women-wool-eileen-fisher-red-wool-dress/20498525?sizing_id=832%2C812%2C563%2C833.
    Love this business-thanks for sharing.

  21. thredup is such a rip off. They pay bloggers far more than the average person. I sent at least $1000 worth of clothes, some with tags on, and got $14 for the 15 or so pieces they didn’t reject. They rejected new with tags banana and j.crew items! And they don’t donate items in good condition, they sell them to resellers. I found one of my shirts on eBay.

  22. I’m a socially conscious interior/ architectural designer and I’m so stoked whenever you partner with a brand like this or promote an event like the Mercantile. As designers, we have a responsibility to protect the Earth’s resources and health and it’s awesome that you’re taking that on. Almost everything I wear is second-hand, fair trade or organic and I buy a TON from ThredUp. Currently, I’m into this cutie-
    https://www.thredup.com/product/women-silk-milly-white-34-sleeve-silk-top/20418997?sizing_id=791%2C790%2C559%2C778

  23. I just signed up for threadUP and found a number of great items for my family. My 8 yr old loves Under Armour and North Face. Two of the Under Armour shirts for him are supposed to be “like new” and at 40% off a great deal. Some items for me include a designer skort and pair of shorts. I think these espadrille wedges are fun and unique https://www.thredup.com/product/women-plenty-by-tracy-reese-tan-wedges/18353924. They are too small for me but I would love them!

  24. All the comments where people have posted links to items they love appear to be planted -I’ll bet by Thred Up employees. If you saw something you loved that much, and there was only 1 available, wouldn’t you jump on buying it? Funny how all the items are still available.

  25. I had commented before, but I wanted to add that the picture above with the many clean-out bags is misleading. As a regular person, you can order only one clean-out bag at a time, and it takes a long time (up to 2 months right now) to get this one bag. They won’t send you more than one bag unless I am missing something.

    1. Also, the bags cost $9.99, so you better be sure you’re filling it with stuff that makes it worth it. Otherwise, just donate somewhere worthwhile (I suggest Purple Heart; great cause and they will pick up from your door) and get the tax benefit.

  26. That’s super brilliant that you don’t have to take the time to photograph pieces and actually list them – that’s worth taking the financial hit in my mind because it’s such a pain!

    You talked it up so much so I took to browsing and fell for this dress: https://www.thredup.com/product/women-rayon-free-people-red-casual-dress/20482332?sizing_id=778%2C781%2C774%2C782 – I have a love affair with long sleeve minidresses and this wine color is so gorgeous for the Winter season.

  27. https://www.thredup.com/product/women-cotton-madewell-navy-blue-jeans/19795260

    I love these madewell jeans but can’t afford to buy them new from madewell. I like to look at Thred up before even considering to buy anything new but haven’t filled a bag because I have a friend who will not spend money on herself so I give her everything I am ready to get rid of. But maybe one day I will try that part of it. I love thred up and was happy to see you use them too.

  28. This isn’t available in Canada but looks intriguing.

    Emily, just wondering about many of the comments–they don’t seem like your usual readers’ comments (one sentence, just say they love thread up, give a link to a product). It really bothers me when companies spam comments section with positive “reviews”–I hope that’s not what’s going on here?!?

    1. I absolutely agree that these links look like planted, probably by ThredUp employees to entice people to look at their website. What’s going on here? I love your blog, and I understand that you are getting paid for reviewing ThredUp, but really, is it necessary to let them fill up your comments section with fake comments? Usually your comments section is really awesome, and part of why I follow your blog, but this is not good.

  29. I’ve used ThredUp to buy and sell kid clothes, but never for myself. Now I’m eyeing a Bench beanie to perfect my winter look.

  30. ugh i hate to add to the negative comments but i trust you, emily, and believe that you take to heart what your readers have to say. i too had a really negative experience with them. i actually have a good relationship with my local consigner and tend to make decent money on my stuff. but because i live in a city it can be a pain to take in and piles up so i was definitely into the convenience factor when i was tipped off to threadup by another blogger. boy – was i thrown for a loop. it actually made me kind of sick to my stomach because i sent in SO much quality stuff, in good condition, and got next to nothing back. stuff that i absolutely knew i would have gotten several hundred dollars for from my local consigner. i did manage my expectations that it might not be quite as good but i think my total buyout from threadup was $22. i don’t want to be miss dramatic as i do realize it’s only clothes and i can otherwise afford to clothe myself with items i like which is more than many can say – but i kind of felt violated.

    1. Agree with this! I just got $12 total for a giant bag of banana republic clothes… after 8 weeks of waiting too. Would NOT recommend

  31. I’ve been a BIG FAN from early on. I’m now pregnant through the winter in Wisconsin and am also taking a Hawaiian vaca at 32 weeks so I need maternity clothes for allllllll the temperatures. I found a maternity coat on ThredUp and a maternity swim top and used a 40% coupon code for a total of $23! AND I had credit from previous consignments that paid for them. I can’t stop telling everyone how happy I am that I don’t have to buy a crappy maternity coat to use for 3 months for $60+.

  32. I love thredUp for my son. He’s a messy three year old (is there any other kind?) so I stock up on tees for him and $$ brand items I wouldn’t usually splurge on without the discount. If I were to treat myself to something on thredUp it would be this happy Boden jacket because a bright yellow jacket would lift my spirits during these non stop grey months in the PNW.

  33. I’ve sent stuff in before – def not a way to make a lot of money but easier and less picky (probably because they can hold a larger inventory) than dragging my stuff to a local consignment store if you’re having a hard time just giving quality stuff away. I have yet to shop there but it seems like a great place for discounted designer jeans! I’d get these https://www.thredup.com/product/women-cotton-citizens-of-humanity-dark-blue-jeans/20562112

  34. https://www.thredup.com/product/20535888

    Linking to these shoes which I quite like. Color & shape are spot on. Have bought and sold through the site and have found it convenient for living in a small sleepy town with few retail options. FWIW I didnt get a huge return on what I sold but I was happy with how hassle free my experience was.

  35. It’s gotten chilly here in Virginia so I’m all about the sweaters. I love the cute stripes and color of this turtleneck. It’s comfy enough for my stay-at-home mom days and put together enough (under a jacket) for my work-from-home/meeting days too!

  36. Just as an FYI to the ThredUp guys – if you are outside the US it won’t even let you look at the stock. (I live outside the US but regularly online shop and have it brought to me by friends etc.) It just has a large blank page with the message THANK YOU WE WILL NOTIFY YOU BY EMAIL AS SOON AS THIS SERVICE IS AVAILABLE IN YOUR COUNTRY.

    A lot of people outside the United States still like to online shop or at least peruse! I’ve literally never seen this level of US only blocks on a shopping site!

  37. Hi! I just saw Emily’s short vid on the new Target stuff and I REALLY need to know what those black, plastic? Woven? Dining chairs? are called/price?? I can’t find them and I BADLY want them! Can u get me that info? Paleeeeeeeeez!! ? BTW….LOVE ThredUp!

  38. Do NOT love ThredUp! Lots of people have cited the reasons, very slow response time, lack of transparency about the rejected items. I hope you will take that into consideration as you evaluate your relationship with them going forward. Hard to find the perfect corporate partners, but those issues seem larger than the average customer service issue to me, since they are systemic.

  39. When we bought the new house I knew that I had to downsize my clothes. Our new 100 year old house has small closets and while I’m not a total clothes horse, I am like most of us where unless I’m forced to purge I’ll just keep adding and adding. So one Saturday I turned on the Hamilton soundtrack, grabbed some coffee and started pulling things down, trying them on and looking at them objectively.