Website lets moms swap used items for flat rate

September 19, 2011 3:08:03 PM PDT
Instead of going shopping, go swapping! That's the idea behind one of the newest swapping websites geared toward families. The site is called, and it's where moms swap clothing, books and toys online.

ThredUP is a swapping site that give parents an opportunity to get new or gently used clothes for your kids without paying retail. It's free to join and one Clear Lake mom says it's helped her save hundreds of dollars.

"This dress easily goes for $30-$40, and we got the whole outfit for $15.95," parent Shay Howard said.

Howard can't believe how quickly her two kids are growing.

"I have a young daughter, and she just grows overnight. I think she's changed sizes three times in the last six months," Howard said.

But instead of buying new, Howard is using a web site called to swap gently used clothes.

"It's super easy. Everything has drop down menus, and they separate out, boys, girls, what size and right above it you can search by brands, you can search by color," she said.

Here is how it works. Simply browse the list of thousands of boxes full of kids clothes and toys and pick your box. The cost is always $5 per box and shipping is a flat rate of $10.95. At the same time, you will have your own box full of gently used items posted on for someone to pick. Once someone chooses your box, you ship it to them and shipping that box is free.

"You have to post one to get one," Howard said.

You don't have to make any unwanted trips to the post office. Thredup will actually send you a stack of boxes to your home. All boxes are the same size and cost the same to ship. You can also print the postage from your home computer.

When it comes to choosing a box, moms have made it simple. Each post has details, brands and styles of clothes. Clothes are also separated by seasons or occasions and most moms post a link to pictures of their items so each mom knows exactly what condition the clothes are in.

"Everybody is very detailed even, they do a lot of photo links so you can see exactly what you are going to get," Howard said.

Howard just got a new box delivered with two brand new dresses and a pair of tights. You can put in as many items as you can fit in a box or as little as you want. The goal is to make the package worth the $15.95 price tag.

"And you would be surprised to fit into a flat-rate shipping box," Howard said.

Howard also just had another box shipped. This time a Halloween costume was delivered. The retail price of the costume about $49.95, but she paid $14.95 and her daughter is thrilled.

Again it's $15.95 to ship a box and get one too. Big kid clothes, like sizes 12up to size 18-20, can earn you some incentive credit and get you discounts on your box.

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