Clothing exchanges are wildly popular right now. The reason behind this is really quite simple. Frugal families simply can’t afford to buy new things every time their children hit a growth spurt or grow tired of the toys that they already have. Rather than shell out money to purchase new clothing and stuffed animals, parents turn to their peers and work out a deal.
Websites like Thred UP make it easy for members to obtain gently used, new-to-you clothing for free. In fact, they even provide shipping boxes to make things run smoothly for parents. It doesn’t cost a dime to register and the only fees involved with the exchange are the $5 shipping charges you incur each time you request a box of clothes to your peers. In exchange for your generosity, you get first dibs on name brand clothing in your choice of sizes. There are over a thousand boxes to choose from on the site which gives you endless possibilities when it comes to dressing your child.
What Makes Clothing Exchanges So Successful?
There are a number of factors that make clothing exchanges successful. A few of the more obvious include:
- Reducing the amount per child that is spent on seasonal attire.
- Eliminating the need to visit retailers which saves time and money.
- Protecting the environment by making sure that unused clothing gets a second lease on life.
Secondhand clothing received a bad rap in the past. With people cutting back on expenses, the demand for gently used apparel is greater than ever. This is extremely beneficial for you because some of the items that you will receive from clothing exchanges still have the tags on them. That means the clothing never was worn and remains brand new. A lot of the items will also have designer labels for a fraction of the price. Dressing your young son or daughter to the nines is easy when you’re a member of thred UP or another clothing exchange.
Some Rules to Live By
There are some unspoken rules when it comes to participating in swaps online. Here are a few things to remember:
1) Clothing should be stain-free and in good condition.
2) Sizes should be grouped together. Girl clothes should be placed in one box. Boy clothes should be placed in another.
3) Shipments should be sent out as soon as possible. In fact, delivery confirmation can be added to a package as a security measure. This extra step makes sure that the package arrives in time and to the person that requested it.
You don’t have to go broke keeping your kids in clothes. Take advantage of clothing exchanges and have your pick of gently worn apparel any day of the year.
Charissa is into frugal living and saving money.
I love the idea of exchanging the kids clothes and being green. I hear things about ThredUp but to be honest I have never wanted to join up. On the other hand I did sign up with the zearly.com site after checking them out. I sent in a bag of stuff and already bought some clothes for my sister-in-law's newborn. Anything I don't spend now on their site will probably go on a gift card. (no reason why I can't get a little something for myself) ;-)
I agree with Nikky, ThredUp is a good idea in theory, but their concept puts so much burden on the swapper that its hardly worth the time. Zearly is a much better site for children's hand-me-downs. I send in my used kid's clothes in a bag they gave me with postage paid. UPS picked it up from my door. I use the points I get to buy other clothes and I can pick and choose which brands and styles I like. It is a much easier shopping and swapping experience.
I tried ThredUp but didn’t want to do the membership since I wasn’t sure how many more times I’d use the service. Zearly.com worked for me since I only had one bag of clothes. Got a gift card to Walmart in exchange for a bag of my toddler’s clothes & worked out great!
This sounds like a good idea! I think many people are using resale shops/garage sales, etc. for buying clothing, especially for children. Children go through their clothing so fast, either out grow or wear out, and it's important to have ways to purchase without spending a fortune. Check out this website for more clothing and money saving tips.
Kids clothing is a huge business because kids grow up too fast for them to keep clothes for more than a couple of years.
>Frugal families simply can’t afford to buy new things.....
I certainly don't claim to be a writer or editor, but I wouldn't use 'can’t afford' as a descriptor of frugality.
Being frugal is a good practice even if you can afford to be un-frugal. ... "Un-frugal". I told you I wasn't a writer.
But I concur. Kids clothes can be expensive and never last long (unless you have multiple kids to hand down to I guess). My family has had great success (as buyers and sellers) with Devine Consign. It is a one weekend consignment sale that happens a couple of times a year. It's usually held at convention center type places. This one is exclusive to the Dallas Texas metro area, but surely other major cities have something similar?
Over the past few years it has gotten big and crazy and hectic. But if you can deal with the tight rules and drop off schedules as a seller and survive the crowds and total madness as a shopper it is a pretty neat deal.
You gotta really trust people you don't know to pay $16 for a box of their used clothing. Still, I decided to try it and had the worst experience with their "customer service." Blech. I think I'll try the other places the commenters are mentioning. Or just stick to my local consignment shop where I can SEE what I'm buying.