Image representing thredUP as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

A few months ago I discovered ThredUP, which at that point was simply a children’s clothing exchange website.  You simply sign up for an account and they ship you 10 (or is it 12?) flat-rate boxes from the United States Postal Service.  You fill (as in, STUFF) them with clean, stylish children’s clothes your kids don’t wear anymore and list them on ThredUP.  When someone selects your box, they pay $15.95 for the flat rate box, the website automatically schedules a package pickup for your address and generates a mailing label for you to affix to the box.  The only hard part is walking the package out to your mailbox, and that’s only if your mailbox isn’t right by your front door.

Over the months, ThredUP has added Halloween costume, fancy dress, and books/toys exchanges, and just this week announced the addition of paternity exchange (which sounds to me like you’re swapping fathers, but don’t worry, it’s not) for dads who gain sympathy weight while the moms are pregnant.

If you’re the one looking for clothes, you can search by gender, size, and season (all boxes are supposed to contain around the same size clothing), ask questions to the person listing the box, and in some cases, see photos of the box content.  When you’ve made a decision, select the box, pay $15.95 (you can pay in advance to credit your account to make checkout easier in the future) for shipping, and await its arrival.

The more you ship, the more boxes you are allowed to select; the idea is to ship more boxes than you want to get, so you always have a positive account balance.  They don’t want people taking boxes and not posting any, because that means the supply will quickly run out.  So when you join you get one free selection, then you can’t pick any more boxes until you send some.

Really, it’s a great system, especially if you have clothes (or costumes or books or toys) you won’t use again and don’t know anyone who can use them.  It’s better than just dumping them at a second-hand store because you can pack a box and let someone else use the clothes, and in return you can select boxes of clothes in the new size your child needs.  This is much more affordable than even shopping at second-hand stores; I got a box that had around two dozen high-quality onesies and shirts in it, as well as a couple pairs of pants, all for the $15.95 it cost to ship the box.  All of that, even at a second-hand store or consignment shop, would have cost far more than $16.

I highly recommend  checking out this site.  Especially if you live in a small rural area, like me, and shopping isn’t as easy to come by as in the larger cities.  I’ve found this is a simple and fun way to keep my Little Miss in clothes that don’t look just like every other toddler’s in the valley because we’re all shopping at the same two stores!


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