Threads on the cheap


I always seem to generate a certain amount of unwanted clothing—stuff that I take to Salvation Army, usually—but nothing compares to the flow of stuff through a household that includes a new baby. Elsie’s growing quickly, but she’s still much, much smaller than the mountain of boxes in our attic that are filled with too-small, just-right, and too-large baby clothes. Swapping out the stuff on current rotation, and managing the flow of everything else in and out of the house, is a constant job.

Thousands of tiny socks!

When clothes are being worn for a fleeting period of three months or less, buying new ones seems especially silly. I’m all about hand-me-downs, swaps and secondhand stuff.

A friend turned me on to thredUP, a site that formalizes the swap process and lets you exchange clothes with parents nationwide. Everything is exchanged by the box, and organized by gender, type of clothes and size. You can “look through” boxes by reading their owners’ descriptions of the contents, choose one you want, and receive it in the mail. Then you post a box of your own and wait for someone else to choose it. You pay $5 plus shipping for the box you receive, and the sending is free.

I think I’ll give this a try, at least, though I’m pretty picky about girls’ clothes (when you’re not into pink, your options are way limited) so I bet I’ll like only a percentage of stuff in any given box. Still, for $5, it seems worth it. And, for a more strictly local option, there’s always Sugar Snap Consignment, where I used to get serious deals on used maternity clothes.

Anyone out there tried ThredUp? Have a different tip about kids’ clothes and toys? (I’ve heard about, but never experienced, the Lollipop Shop…)