(Pre)-Spring Cleaning

If you’re anything like me, your closet is stuffed with clothes ranging from a just-purchased pair of running shoes, to dresses you wore to college events three years ago, to T-shirts from high school beginning to show their six or seven years of age. Every so often, I make an attempt to clean out the stash, bagging what I no longer wear to donate to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. My family always did this when I was growing up; I was always the recipient of hand-me-downs because I was the smallest and youngest girl among my friends and family members, so once I outgrew my outfits, donating them was the next logical step.

A year or two ago, I realized I had finally gotten all the clothes that no longer fit me out of my closet (meaning anything I wore before age 16 or so, save for sweatshirts and the like) – it was time to move on to a new sorting method. When I graduated college, I decided to donate any item of clothing I had not worn since high school. Now, as the end of law school approaches, I’m trying to impose a four-year limit; if I haven’t worn it since I was 19, someone else could probably make better use of an item of clothing than I currently am!

I’ve always had a tough time giving clothes away because I feel like I *might* end up needing that one dress or pair of shoes at some point in the future, weeks or months or years from now, and then I’d regret my decision. But I’m taking a harder look at what I really need these days, and it’s time to put my organizational skills to use in Project Closet Cleanup (or Cleanout – I just don’t think it’ll be even close to barren anytime soon!)

As part of the project, I’m trying out a couple of the new clothing exchanges for the tech-savvy generation. On the list are three T’s: Threadflip, Thredup, and Twice. Threadflip is basically an online consignment store – you send in your items and they list them for sale with a suggested price (that the seller can adjust manually if desired). Thredup and Twice are a bit different in that you send your items in and they make you an offer right away, then list the items themselves as sellers. All are free for sellers – create an account and they’ll send you a bag to fill with items for sale, pre-addressed and stamped to be shipped right back. Both Threadflip and Twice offer the option of donating your clothes to charity if they are not accepted, and/or having them returned to you for a fee; Thredup offers a clothes-recycling program or return for a fee.

My forays into each forum have led to a couple of conclusions. First, there is definitely a trade-off between receiving more money for what you sell, versus being guaranteed to make the sale. By listing your clothes on Threadflip, you’ll control what price you are willing to sell an item of clothing for, and the price you command will be higher than on the other websites – in some cases, substantially higher. For example, I “flipped” a Vineyard Vines corduroy skirt for $36 on Threadflip, and a J. Crew cardigan for $24. When I sent similar items to Twice and Thredup, I received payouts of around $20 for both items – 66% less. The payouts were also bundled, so that I could not be totally sure of how much I was receiving for each item. However, I was guaranteed a payout immediately, whereas with Threadflip, I waited until the items sold, which several others had not within the 90-day limit. I could, of course, ask for those items to be returned to me for a fee, and send them to one of the other forums, coming out slightly ahead. But it’s a longer period of time and does require more legwork on the seller’s part.

The verdict? All three T’s are wonderful for girls looking to clean out their closets and maybe earn back a bit of the investment they made in their wardrobes. Which forum you prefer will depend on what you have to send in, how much work you want to do, and what price you’re willing to accept. If you have anything on the very high end (couture clothing, shoes, and purses) Threadflip is probably your best best because of the pricing. Even though it’s a deep discount off retail, you’ll still earn a bit back – some good examples of what to expect are here and here – because even used, high fashion items command a premium, and lots of shoppers will see the value. With mid-range items, it’s more of a toss-up for the seller. And it’s important to keep in mind that Threadflip’s cut-off for acceptable brands is higher than Twice’s, which is in turn higher than Thredup’s. And if you have any old clothes that aren’t strictly women’s sizing, only Thredup accepts those. (I had some children’s-sized stuff in my closet because I often go for the child-size coats, etc. if it is the same thing – it’s cheaper!)

So, if you’re on a mission to clean out your own closet (perhaps as part of joining me in a Frugal and Free February!) take a look at all your options. And of course, if you happen to have female friends or relatives who might have use for what you no longer need, or if you want to donate everything to charity, those are both EXCELLENT ways to go.


Ready for it to be spring...until then I'll be out there running and dreaming of this view!

Ready for it to be spring…until then I’ll be out there running and dreaming of this view!



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