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Consumer

Website Lets Moms Swap Stuff They No Longer Need

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(credit: CBS) Rachel Slavik
Rachel Slavik joined the WCCO team in October of 2010 and is thrill...
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By Rachel Slavik, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A popular website lets parents get rid of their kids’ stuff they no longer need and trade it in for something they can really use.

“The joke is, if you have to sit on it to shut it, it’s a good box,” said Tirza Ludwig, a Sauk Centre daycare mother. “If you don’t have to sit on it, you probably have to put more things in it.”

thredUp.com requires all of its members to use the same size container — a medium flat rate box from the post office.

Once someone picks your box, thredUp sends you a postage-paid mailing label and tells the post office to look for a box on your front step.

“For each box that I send, I kind of get a credit up,” explained Ludwig. “And for each box that I pick, my pick goes down, so you kind of have a swap balance. Karma.”

Ludwig has sent 18 boxes in the past 8 weeks. Of the boxes she’s received, her favorite was the one with a Tonka Truck Easter basket for her son. Purchasing a box costs $16.

“She sent some stickers and three things of clothes in a box, too,” said Ludwig, as she showed off the box.

Users who wish to build a box only need to visit the website and make a few specifications: clothes or toys, boys or girls, sizes and colors, what season is appropriate for the items inside. There are no pictures on thredUp.

“They want it to be easy for moms that just want to list a box and not deal with technology,” said Ludwig.

Those who, like Ludwig, are more tech-savvy, often share what’s inside their boxes by posting pictures on Facebook or a photo hosting site, then copying the link into their thredUp descriptions.

The resulting website has a more personal feel than Craigslist.

“It’s really about being able to stuff a bunch of things that your kids have loved into a box for another mom and another mom and their family to love,” said Ludwig.

The social messaging component lets mothers put a wish out there into the thredUp universe and then see what happens.

“Last night, I said, I just kind of put it out there: ‘My DVD player broke, does anyone have one to thred?’ And two people offered,” said Ludwig. “I bought one this morning for $16!”

Anyone can try out ThredUp for free on Earth Day — Friday, April 22nd. If you sign up, you will get an instant credit of $15.95. That’s enough to pick a box and decide if you want to start swapping your kids’ stuff.

Paula Engelking, Producer

Contact Paula

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