Got kids? Try bartering

I’ve been bartering for as long as I can remember.  As a child, I traded one treasure for another with my siblings. As a mother of large brood of children, I found ways to barter for clothing. For several years I had access to a large amount of quality used books (I helped my husband with a used bookstore!) and I found an ingenious way of bartering used books with another mother for her Baby Lulu and hanna Andersson clothing.  My sixth child was my best dressed baby as a result. In the ensuing years I have bartered a box of health and beauty items for a goat, books for books, homeschooling curriculum for other curriculum… I love bartering!  I’ve been trading books on PaperBackSwap for years and used to set up “sister swaps” with my sisters, trading books, magazines, and clothing.

So imagine my delight when I came across this website, ThredUp, for trading used children’s clothing:

I was skeptical at first~ How could this work?  The concept is fairly simple.  You pack a medium Flat Rate priority box with your child’s outgrown clothing and post it.  Describe it well~ I think my boxes are picked fairly quickly because I was used to selling on ebay and knew how to describe something.  So, you fill a box with, say, boy’s 5T, post it, and wait.  Someone chooses your box and pays the fee of $13.  You generate a label from your computer and either have the post office pick up the box or take it into the post office yourself.  So far, there is no expense to you at all and now you can pick a box!  You look through available boxes in the sizes you need and pick a box.  Then you pay the $13 fee to have it mailed to you. With the little sizes, like baby clothes, you might get 18-20 items in a box.  For the larger sizes, which is what I need for my youngest two children (ages 7 and 10) I’ve been getting 7-8 items in a box.  When one of those items is an expensive Mini Boden skirt or a hanna Andersson top, then the $13 is well worth it.  I probably wouldn’t want to pay $13 for 13 Gerber onesies or a single Faded Glory jacket, but it might be worth that for someone else, especially if it is a hard-to-find size or style. (for instance, one person has a lovely $60 girl’s fancy dress listed and if you were looking for a flower-girl dress or something for your daughter to wear to a father-daughter banquet, the $13 fee would be well worth it)

What is neat about this site is that you can earn credits if you are posting children’s clothing in one of the sizes that are most in demand.  I’ve earned as much as $6 credit towards my next choice this way.  In fact, I am keeping a carefully guarded secret~ I have bought clothing specifically to include in a box! Why would I do such a thing?  Because I have access to thrift stores that run specials like $5 a bag or 25-cents an item, it can be cost-effective for me to buy clothes to post on ThredUp.  But this is an important point~ I will only buy high-quality stuff~ and only when a quarter or less.  I have filled a box with Gymboree, Gap, and Land’s End items that were not actually ever worn by my children.  But I paid 25-cents for each item, added 10-12 items to a box, posted it, and gotten $6 credit for my $2.75 investment!  I just grab the good stuff while I am searching for 25-cents deals for my own children!  This is my secret strategy to having traded over 15 boxes in my first month’s membership on this site.  So, even if you don’t have drawers full of clothing to trade, if you have the opportunity to pick up quality children’s clothing at “bag sales” or consignment store quarter sales, you might want to think about doing the same thing.

I’m kind of addicted now.  The rush I get when I open up a box like this one yesterday, makes me want to do it again.

In this box were two Land’s End swimsuits, a blue hanna Andersson top, pink hanna Andersson cap, darling little capri pants with a butterfly on, and several other cute shirts.  Even if only half of them fit Abby, the blue shirt and two swimsuits are worth it to me. You can bet I added this person to my “favorite sender” on ThredUp and will keep an eye on other boxes she posts.

So, if you’ve got kids (or grandkids) who are outgrowing clothing faster than you can buy it, check out this website.  Not only is it a thrifty way to get clothes, it is fun!

2 thoughts on “Got kids? Try bartering

  1. Janice says:

    I checked this out after I saw your post about it on Facebook. I went ahead and picked a box, and listed a box. I love the clothes I received, and my box was picked fairly quickly. I listed another box, which was picked today and I have some extra credit for listing in one of the sizes they are giving extra credit for.

    I’m really excited about the site. Its a wonderful idea!

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