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thredUP: The best way to thrift in a pandemic

If there’s one thing I miss the most about life pre-quarantine, it’s being able to safely go shopping… specifically thrifting. There's just something about finding hidden gems and unique pieces that fills me up with so much joy, and I miss it like crazy. Even though most thrift stores have opened up, I still get wary about my safety going to them to shop, so I’ve been trying to discover ways in which I could fulfill my thrifting needs while at the same time not putting myself at risk while doing so. And now I’m here to share with you the single website that has quickly become my favorite place to shop.

ThredUP is what I would describe as an online thrift store. It’s a database of thousands of different clothing items donated by users across the country for anyone to buy. This website is a godsend. I have never found thrifting to be more easy and enjoyable since finding this company. The amount of money I’ve spent on it is absolutely horrific, but we’re not going to talk about that.

ThredUP’s mission as an online thrift store is to promote sustainability in the fashion industry and to reduce the harmful impacts that the industry poses on the planet. When you buy through thredUP, the company makes sure that the entire delivery process - from packaging to delivering your items to your door - has the smallest environmental impact possible, because they understand how much the fashion industry contributes to pollution. All their packaging is recyclable, from the mailer to the wrapping paper to the tag. Additionally, if you purchase items from what they call your “Home Warehouse,” which is the warehouse that is closest to where you’re shopping from, they give you a small discount for reducing the amount of travel that is needed to get your items to you, ultimately decreasing any pollution that may result from it. ThredUP cares deeply about the environment, and I just love how much effort they put into making sure that they’re helping as much as they can while providing an enjoyable shopping experience to their customers.

ThredUP isn’t just a great market for buying, it’s also great for selling your unwanted items! On their website, you have the option to request a “Clean Out kit,” and they’ll send you a large bag (postage pre-paid) that you can fill up with your clothes that you don’t want anymore and send it back to their warehouse. They will then sort through your donated items and pick the ones that are good enough quality for selling. That’s another great thing about thredUP; you can always guarantee that the items you buy through them are going to be great quality because they are very picky about the items that they accept. Anything that isn’t accepted is recycled safely for other uses. Once the items have been sorted, thredUP will curate prices for each item based on the brand, its condition and how old it is. If your item is purchased by someone else, you receive a small commission.

Everything on their website is reasonably priced, so you rarely have to worry about overpriced items when shopping on thredUP. I have made $60.64 selling my unwanted clothes through thredUP, and I love how easy the process was for me. If you have an abundance of old clothes lying around that you don’t want anymore and want to make some money off of them, I highly recommend requesting a Clean Out kit and sending them to thredUP.

[Disclaimer: thredUP has paused the distribution of Clean Out kits due to high volume and reduced staff, but you can opt-in on their website to be notified when they come back!]

Since finding this website, I have never felt safer thrifting and I have found a new joy in an old hobby. It’s amazing what gems you’re able to find, and I love how easy and fun it is to shop on there. I’ve spent so much time on that website it’s not even funny. One could even argue it’s a lot easier and more fun than thrifting in person… but that’s up to you. If you do end up trying thredUP, here are some tips that will make your time shopping there easier and will show you how you can get the most out of it:

1. Search for items by brand: ThredUP has an option where you can sort through their items by brand name, which is super useful if you have a handful of brands that you absolutely love and want to look for items from. I’m literally always refreshing the Urban Outfitters page because I love the clothes they sell there but always find that shopping there gets too expensive. I’m able to find super cool items from Urban on thredUP for much cheaper prices, which is amazing.

2. Check every day: ThredUP adds new items and styles every day, so I would highly recommend looking through their database every single day so you can find and grab the items you like before anyone else does.

3. If you see something you like, add it to your cart: When you add something to your cart, it will stay in your cart for four hours so that you have time to keep browsing/think about your purchases before you finalize your order. Because of this, I always say that if you find something you think you like, but you’re still not 100% sure, add it to your cart anyway. This way, if you end up deciding that you do want to buy it, you won’t have to worry about someone else already adding it to their cart/purchasing it, and you can have plenty of time to decide when you’re ready to order.

4. Save your credit: With each purchase you make and with each item you sell, you receive a specific amount of credit. With this credit, you have the option to transfer it to your bank account or use it to purchase more items off of thredUP for a discount, depending on how much you have. I highly recommend building up your credit so that you can get higher discounts or so that you can transfer it all to your bank account. I have found that thredUP is a great way to make money, and this is one way to do so.

5. Shop from your Home Warehouse: As I mentioned earlier, thredUP has numerous warehouses all over the country, but when you buy items that are stored in the warehouse closest to you, you get a small discount because it reduces the amount of pollution that is emitted when delivering your items to you. When you’re browsing through the website, you can filter out items that aren’t in your Home Warehouse by looking at the left of your screen and clicking the “My Home Warehouse” filter under the category “Ways to Shop.” This way, if you want to make sure you’re getting that discount, or if you want to help the environment, you’ll only be able to see items that are in your Home Warehouse.

6. Use the search filters: The best thing about online thrifting compared to thrifting in person is that you can narrow down your searches to specific items, something you can’t really do with traditional thrifting. You can use the search filters to narrow your searches down to certain prices, sizes, colors, clothing types, materials, lengths, etc. If you’re looking for something specific, you’re bound to find it on thredUP.

7. SALES!: ThredUP always has a sale going on, whether it’s discounted prices or free shipping. I recommend always looking at what’s on sale so that you can find great pieces for even lower prices. Here’s a sub-tip: thredUP has a few permanent sale categories, such as “tops under $15” and “dresses under $20” that I love looking through because they always have such cute items for very reasonable prices. Definitely take advantage of that!

I sincerely hope you guys try thredUP, especially if you’re a shopaholic and thrifting-lover like me. Happy thrifting everyone!


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