have you heard about the clothes-swapping site thredup? it's fairly straightforward--members list standard size boxes of children's clothing. boxes can be searched by gender, size and season. if you come across a box you like, you pay for shipping only ($15). then, to fufill your end of the "swap," you list a box of clothing on the site. membership is free. it sounds good enough--despite the fairly high shipping charge, boxes usually contain between 10 and 15 items. boxes are sent priority mail, so they arrive quickly after purchase.
i'd been wanting to try out the site for awhile and finally sprung for a box a couple of weeks ago. after reading the details of quite a few boxes, i chose one that seemed pretty perfect for lucy--mostly 3T winter bottoms with a few summer dresses in size 4. higher end brands like gap and roxy. no mention of any of the disney princesses or dora the explorer. i waited super impatiently for my box to arrive and....
eh. this is a common case of "one man's trash..." but in this case, the situation was reversed. i was underwhelmed by the contents of my box to say the least. the majority of it just wasn't stuff i'd put on my kid. written descriptions can make things sound better than they are, obviously, even when they're staying pretty close to the truth. a picture is worth a thousand words, anyone? out of 12 pieces, i think i kept 5, 2 of which are pending some alterations. most of it, while true to style description, just looked a little worn out. and while i'm all about second (and third) hand, i do try to only buy stuff that looks fairly new.
another cause for complaint was the smell coming from the box. no, it wasn't cigarette smoke or animal fur or food. it was fabric softener. oh my goodness. it's funny how when you stop using something you become re-sensitized to it, don't you think? i used to buy my laundry detergent according to smell--the stronger the better. then i'd sweeten the deal by adding not one, not two but THREE dryer sheets to the mix. i thought my clothes (though kinda slick from all that chemical coating) smelled pretty great. what a difference a couple of years makes! at first whiff (i could smell it at the mailbox) the fabric softener on these clothes transported me right back to my laundry-folding self of yester-year. the act of opening the box gave me an almost instant headache, and prompted lucy to ask what spilled. no kidding. 3 washes and i can still smell it. i'm thinking a soak in vinegar may be in order.
anyway, that's my teeny experience with thredup. i certainly don't want to deter anyone from using the site, so i'll disclaim that i am picky and hard to please and have a high sensitivity to synthetic fragrances. if you are without these issues, you will probably love the site. especially if you are shopping for a girl and have a penchant for princesses.