I am a big fan of buying secondhand clothing, shoes, handbags, and other interesting items. Some people might think I buy used goods because I am environmentally conscious, but the truth is I am just trying to save money by being frugal in this area of my life. I use the word frugal rather than cheap because, as was explained to me once, a frugal person is someone who limits spending on oneself to save money, while a cheap person tries to save money by refraining from being generous to others. I don’t mind being known as a frugal person, but I try very hard not to be a cheap person. When budget fashion is my goal, I visit local thrift stores or look online.
In my quest for a decent wardrobe, I do have some favorite brands I like to acquire, and I have had reasonable success at locating clothing at local secondhand stores. My favorite place to find treasures locally is called Chase Me Again, which is selective in what it sells and benefits good causes. Sometimes, though, I have difficulty finding what I am looking for, and I turn to online secondhand websites.
The first one I ordered from, ThredUp, claims it is the “Largest Online Thrift Store”, and it certainly does have a wide selection of offerings, mainly for women and kids. While perusing this well-organized site, I discovered and ordered an amazing dress at an unbelievably low price. It arrived as promised, fit me well, and has now been worn to a variety of events.
I was so pleased with my budget fashion find, I decided to try another feature of the site, which is an offer of a free Clean Out kit (basically a very cute polka-dotted plastic bag) to encourage people to send in their used clothing and accessories to get store credit (not cash) for accepted items. The company is very honest about not accepting everything for its website. There is an option to pay for return shipping for any items not accepted. You know how it is, though. It’s difficult to look at your own stuff objectively. I decided to give the Clean Out kit a try, and sent in some exercise wear, a dress, a coat, and some floral-patterned rubber boots I no longer needed.
Disappointed by the Miniscule Payment for My Items
Everything I sent was in great condition. Unfortunately, the only things accepted for sale were the exercise wear and the dress. I hadn’t paid for the return of unaccepted items, because I no longer wanted them. I understand there is probably a strict pricing guide they need to stick to in order to make a profit. Nonetheless, I was disappointed by the miniscule payment for the items that were accepted, I was just left with a bad feeling.
Yes, some great bargains can be found. However, it seems that the company takes unfair advantage of people who choose to send items. It would be nice if, based upon pictures a seller sends, the company could accept or reject items in advance, and give a quote in advance for the amount they are willing to pay the seller for the accepted items. After spending my miniscule store credit, I decided not to shop there anymore. It’s an interesting site, but I don’t view it in the same way I did when I first visited.
The next online thrift shop I purchased from was Swap.com which claims to be “The Largest Online Consignment and Thrift Store”. Swap appears to accept a wider variety of clothing from lesser-known brands. I ordered three dresses which were priced reasonably, were desirable brands, and were in great condition. The items arrived as promised and fit me well. I look forward to being able to wear them to upcoming functions. The brands were not quite as high-end as ThredUp, but nicely organized.
Although this company does not place as large an emphasis on accepting donations and consignments as does ThredUP, the company does offer its own version of a closet clean out kit in the form of an Inbound Box. Interestingly, unlike ThredUp, this company does not accept handbags of any kind. The acceptance criteria are broad, with no specific brands listed as more desirable. I didn’t send any clothes to this company. I’m not sure how their prices paid to sellers compare to ThredUp. It appears that a person would have a better chance of having a greater number of donated items accepted at this site.
The final secondhand clothing site I’d like to review is Poshmark, which claims to be the “#1 Place to Buy and Sell Fashion.” Poshmark is like Etsy in that each seller sets up an individual shop, called a “closet” and is responsible for shipping items to the buyers. I found a dress, ordered it, and the seller shipped it promptly. It was just what I expected and it fit well. I had to be reminded by the website that I needed to approve the item before the seller could get paid. I quickly approved the merchandise, and am happy with my purchase.
The Results of Comparing 3 Online Budget Fashion Shops
After comparing the three online budget fashion shops, I would most likely return to Swap.com as a shopper. Poshmark is a useful option as well, although shipping was more expensive. If I needed to clear out my closet, it might be fun to try selling on Poshmark. The website makes selling and shipping look very simple, but I’m not sure what percentage of the sale is kept by the Poshmark company.
How About You?
It’s great to have a variety of online secondhand options. I know there are many more than the three I have reviewed here. If you have had experience, good or bad, with other online secondhand stores, I’d appreciate knowing about it. Please consider sharing your story in the comments area.
Thanks for visiting the Fluxing Well site. If you would like to receive the latest posts before they are shared anywhere else, consider subscribing. Happy online secondhand shopping!