6 Ways to Get FREE (or almost free) Clothes

posted by Andrea | 09/9/2014
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ways to get free clothes

In honor of my week-long clothes clutter series and my ridiculously frugal nature, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to talk about the many ways I’ve managed to get completely FREE clothing for both me and my kids.

Yesterday, I shared my new mix ‘n match wardrobe and noted that many of the items were “purchased” for free. I got several shirts for free using ThredUp and Twice (see #6 below for more information) and thanks to a consignment opportunity and selling a couple items on Craigslist, I made about $100 to put towards my new wardrobe (see #2 below).

After the receipts were tabulated, I was able to get ALL my new clothing (including 2 brand new pairs of shoes) for less than $50 out of pocket! Yup, you read that right — about 8-10 shirts, 2 pairs of pants, 1 skirt, 2 scarves, and 2 pairs of shoes for less than $50 out of pocket! And all of the clothing was quality brand names like Ann Taylor, Gap, J.Crew, Banana Republic, Naturalizer, etc.

It’s actually crazy to think about how much free (or almost free) clothing I’ve accumulated over the years… and I’m so excited to do one LONG blog post to share some of my ideas with you.

If you’ve ever hesitated to update your wardrobe because you felt it wasn’t in your budget (yes, I can relate), this post is definitely for you!

6 ways to get free clothes



1. Borrow (and lend).

OK, I realize this is ridiculously obvious… but it had to be mentioned because borrowing is a great way to get free clothing that you also won’t have to store after you’ve used it.

After 2 babies (both completely different seasons of clothing) I have only actually purchased 4-6 items of maternity clothing with my own money. I’ve been graciously given a handful of basic items (like a pair of nice jeans, a skirt, a dress, and a few basic shirts) from a friend who was finished having children. Beyond that, I’ve either worn regular clothing (like open cardigans that still work with a growing belly) or borrowed almost everything I’ve needed from 2 or 3 friends and relatives who are a similar size.

I’ve also freely lent out my maternity items to friends and family members whenever they ask (provided I’m not using them at the time).

I have borrowed and lent SO many kids clothes over the past 3 years… it’s just crazy how much money I’ve saved. I’m sure some of my things have not been returned and I know I’ve mistakenly kept a few items that weren’t mine — but it all evens out in the end, and it all saves hundreds of dollars on rarely-worn baby clothes.

One other thing I’ve had success borrowing and lending is special occasion outfits like costumes and fancy dresses. We started doing this way back in high school already. My friends and I would each purchase a dress one year and then we’d swap for the next couple of years. I had one dress that I paid $35 for my sophomore year and it was worn almost 10 times by various other friends, cousins, sisters, and even a couple of my sister’s friends. Talk about a HUGE savings!

2. Consign for store credit.

I realize this isn’t for everyone… but if you (or your kids) have clothing that is still in good condition but just doesn’t fit or isn’t your style, I would highly suggest bringing it to a consignment store to see what you can get.

Often times, consignment shops will give you 10% to 15% more for your items if you opt for store credit versus cash back — and if you don’t have any qualms about buying used clothing, this could be a great opportunity for free (or almost free) clothes. Plus, you have the added bonus of decluttering your closet in the process.

3. Shop thrift store sales.

We have a local thrift store that is associated with Dave’s school (proceeds go to the school) and a few times a year, they have a Buy-One-Get-THREE-Free clothing sale. Since most of their clothing is only $1 or $2 an item, I can easily walk out of the store with 8-12 items of clothing for less than $5 total!

I’ve honestly never purchased clothing for myself in this store, but I have scored major deals on kids clothing here!

If you have a quality local thrift store you enjoy shopping at, you should definitely check for when they have big clothing sales (and most stores do).

clothes shopping

4. Host a clothing swap party with friends.

Have you ever heard of a clothing swap party? I’ve been to one clothing swap party and it was actually REALLY fun. I was able to declutter my own closet, get a few new pieces for free, and have a great time socializing with friends for the evening.

It does take a good amount of organization to pull off this type of swap, but it’s another great way to get free clothes!

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can read more about how to plan a clothes swap here on Organizing Made Fun (but make sure you come back and finish the rest of this post!)

5. Utilize high-value store coupons.

Most of the ideas in this post are for used clothing — which I realize isn’t for everyone. However, I have gotten a fair amount of completely free BRAND NEW clothing for myself and my children simply by being smart with my high-value store coupons.

Usually 3-5 times a  year, I’ll get a $10 off any purchase coupon from Kohl’s. I also get 2 or 3 of these same coupons for JCPenny’s. Whenever I get these coupons, I quickly review the “rules” and exemptions and then make a point of finding something for as close to $10 as possible.

If I know I won’t have time to shop or just don’t feel like getting to the mall (you know how much I hate the mall) I will give the coupon to my mom and have her get something for the kids or just buy Dave more dress socks (which are always crazy expensive!)

It’s amazing how many times I’ve left a clothing store with my goods and paid nothing out of pocket — now that’s fun!

Oh, and for the record, you don’t need to have a credit card to get these coupons. Sometimes I just get them for taking email surveys or for signing up on their email newsletter. Yes, I’ll take a few junk emails for free clothing throughout the year.

6. Sign up for online affiliate programs.

This is my favorite part of the post — and yes, I did purposely save it for last 🙂

I’m sure many of you have seen that mass amounts of online companies selling inexpensive new and used clothing — there are so many, I can’t even begin to name them all.

Instead, I’m going to focus on two affiliate programs I have been using for over 2 years — ThredUp and Twice — and have been getting free (or nearly free) high-quality clothing on a very regular basis from the comfort of my own home!

The gist of the “deal” is that you get $10 in FREE clothing just for signing up — and then an additional $10 for anyone else who signs up via your affiliate link.

However, it’s SO easy to get people to sign up, because everyone who signs up gets $10 in totally FREE clothing with no obligation to purchase anything else or even enter their credit card information.

It’s literally a big WIN-WIN for everyone involved!

thredup

Bear with me here, there is A LOT of information below — but it’s because I’ve learned the ins and outs of both of these affiliate programs and have figured out the best ways to get freebie offers, free shipping, discount coupons, free return shipping and more!

#1 = ThredUp:

I know many of you have heard me talk about ThredUp on my blog before — and that’s because I’ve been using it for over 2 years to get free or almost free clothes for Nora, for myself, and now for Simon.

ThredUp sells new and used children’s clothing, shoes, and accessories from size 12 months up to size 20.

They also sell a massive amount of women’s clothing, shoes, and accessories from size 0 – 16 (with additional categories for petites, plus-size, maternity, and designer collections).

#2 = Twice:

I’ve been using Twice a bunch the past couple of weeks as I’ve ordered several items for my brand new mix ‘n match wardrobe that I shared with you yesterday. I had the stylist log onto the Twice website and pick out items she thought would work for me, and then I just added them to my cart, found a few coupon codes, and placed my order.

Twice is basically the same as ThredUp except it ONLY sells new and used women’s clothing (no kids clothing) — so there’s no excuse not to get at least $10 of free clothes for yourself!

twice

Here’s how to get FREE clothing from these online shops.

STEP 1: Create an account for Thred Up and create an account for Twice. (I’d love it if you’d use my affiliate links so we can BOTH get $10 off our next orders!)

STEP 2: Find your affiliate link (under your account information) and send it out to your friends explaining how they can get $10 of free clothing from EACH shop just by signing up. (I usually just post it to Facebook or Twitter)

STEP 3: Search for online coupon codes. I ALWAYS do a quick Google search for coupon codes before I place an online order for anything because there are thousands of coupons out there.

Just Google “coupon codes for ThredUp” or “coupon codes for Twice” and you’ll find a bunch. There are often 40% off coupons for anyone placing their first order — which you can use in addition to your $10 off. There are also free shipping codes, 15% off codes, etc. etc. This means you could actually get more than $10 of free clothing from BOTH ThredUP and Twice because the percentage off coupons come off the total before the $10 credit!

STEP 4: Read the fine print: You’d be amazed how many extra deals and freebies you can get if you simply read some of the fine print.

For example, I found that if I place my order from the ThredUp App on my phone, I would automatically get free return shipping on anything I didn’t want. So now, I shop from my computer and get everything ready to go in my “shopping cart”, then I sign into my ThredUp App to make the final purchase. This way, I can return anything I don’t want for free!

Also, if you download the Twice App, you’ll either get another $10 off credit applied to your cart or a 50% off coupon code that you can combine with your previous $10 credit. That means you can get at least $10 of free clothing from ThredUp and potentially $20 or more of free clothing from Twice!

STEP 5: Sell your current unwanted clothing back to ThredUp or Twice and earn more credit to buy other items. This is especially a great option if your clothing is in very good condition but you don’t feel like taking the time to sell it on your own. I sent in a bag to ThredUp and got about $50 that I could either cash in or put towards future purchases! The bags are totally free and the shipping is free too.

thredup CleanOut bag

WHEW… I think that’s everything!

Did you stick with me?

I know this was a longer post — but I also know that many of you might like to update your wardrobe (or even start Christmas shopping for your kids) but feel like you can’t afford it right now. However, with a little creativity and the willingness to wear some used clothing you really can find so much stuff for free… or almost free.

Plus, what I really love about most of the ideas above is that along with keeping hundreds of dollars in our pockets, they keep millions of pounds of clothing out of landfills!

Do you have any other tips for getting free (or almost free) clothes?

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37 comments

  1. Lori

    06/14/2016

    Hi Andrea! I know you don’t shop often but wanted to let you know Thred up is having a semi-annual clearance sale. Hope your summer is off to a great start! All the hard work you spent on your yard really shows, it’s beautiful!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for letting me know Lori! I actually had no idea — so I might need to check it out!

    [Reply]

  2. Terry Heck

    01/21/2016

    Thank you for the wonderful blog — especially about re-cycling clothing. I also hope you will mention, at some point, that when you purchase clothing that is a re-purchase, you are not contributing to sweat shops and unfair labor conditions — unless the re-purchase place also is not fair-trade.

    For example, if I purchase a new shirt made in another country, I have no way of knowing the conditions under which it was made. The designer may be receiving money while employing persons who are victims of modern-day slavery. But, if I re-purchase it from a charity or consignment shop, the money is not going to the original designer. So, it helps regarding the injustice of modern-day slavery or, what we call, human trafficking for labor.

    [Reply]

  3. Heather nagel

    01/18/2016

    Do you have a referral code? I followed the link, but did not receive a credit.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Heather,

    Unfortunately, Twice recently shut down so their website isn’t working anymore. And also, ThredUP has recently changed their policy and aren’t always giving the $10 credit. I probably should go back and update that post to reflect those changes. It’s a bummer…I know!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Heather,
    I just saw that ThredUp is offering $20 FREE for new subscribers. Try going through this link (http://www.thredup.com/r/TKVHZS) and you should get $20 free. Hope it works for you!

    [Reply]

  4. Diane R.

    10/01/2015

    Hi Andrea, is Twice no longer in business? Keep getting a not found error message.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Diane, Yes Twice unfortunately went out of business about a month ago and I haven’t had a chance to update my old posts.

    I was SOOOOO bummed when I found out about it as they had some really amazing deals 🙁

    [Reply]

  5. Kristina

    06/02/2015

    FYI, I signed up at Twice and at Thred Up using your links. I got the $10 credit at Twice, but not at Thred Up. There is a coupon good for $10 off of $25 if I use it today and it seems that I can get $10 once I refer someone, but it looks like your referral of me didn’t “take.” Just letting you know.

    Love your site. Not a Mom but there are tons of awesome tips here!

    [Reply]

    Kristina Reply:

    Oops, I see in the ocmments here that the $10 credit to new customers is no longer offered. Although there WAS a $10 coupon — just had to be used on $25 more and looks like it has to be used today.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, just recently they stopped doing the $10 credit ALL the time (bummer). I haven’t made it back through all my old posts to change them though. Hope you find a couple good deals.

    [Reply]

  6. Betty

    03/14/2015

    There’s also a newer gently used clothing site I found called Schoola that helps raise funding for schools. Works kinda like Thredup and Twice. You can donate and buy gently used kid’s clothes at great prices and they carry sizes from preschool age to high school ages. For every $5 you spend, $2 goes to a school of your choosing–so 40% donation. You also get a $15 credit every time someone makes a purchase using your referral link and they get a $15 credit towards their next purchase.

    [Reply]

  7. Victoria

    01/28/2015

    It seems like thredUP has stopped running their $10 credit promotion for signing up. I was eager to try it, but by the looks of it, you can only earn $10 if someone you refer buys something. I did a search for promo codes as well and none of them seemed to work. Big bummer!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    What??? That’s crazy. I’ll need to look into this. They’ve been doing $10 off your first order for years. Did you click through via my link? Sometimes, I know you need to be “referred” by someone in order to get the $10 off. Sorry it’s not showing up for you 🙁

    [Reply]

    Victoria Reply:

    Thanks for the reply, Andrea! I think I might be missing something, though; is there a specific part in this post where you have your affiliate links listed? The click-able links just take me to the websites. I’ll try it and see if I needed a link to get the free $10. They have such cute stuff on thredUP!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Victoria,
    All the links in my post SHOULD be my affiliate links — and yes, they will just take you to the ThredUP website. I’m SO bummed if they stopped doing the free $10 off your first order.

    I’m not sure how much you are planning to spend, but here is a coupon code (DTVWDVMU) for $20 off a $75 purchase (Plus free shipping) that is good for your first order only. So if you’re planning to buy several things, that would be a great deal. Just put the items in your shopping cart and enter that code at the checkout (DTVWDVMU)

    You could even just quickly try it by adding a bunch of things you might not necessarily want to buy into your cart just to see if it works before you “waste” a bunch of time looking for $75 worth of stuff.

    if that doesn’t work, let me know and I’ll come up with something else 🙂

    [Reply]

    Yvonne Reply:

    Hi Andrea,
    I just used your link and signed up for ThredUp, but didn’t get a $10 off. I only see the $10 if I get someone else to sign up and purchase.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Yvonne,
    Hmmm… that’s weird! I wonder if they have changed something since I wrote that post this summer. For YEARS and YEARS they have always given $10 to new subscribers. Sorry, I’m not sure what to tell you — but I guess you could contact their customer service and ask. I’ve had very good experiences with using ThredUp and they have great customer service.

    [Reply]

  8. Stacey

    11/11/2014

    WOW!! I am always on the look out for a FREEBIE and have never heard of these sites. I can’t wait to set up accounts and start shopping!! It’s been a very long time since I have shopped for myself, so long I’m getting holes in my clothes 🙁 Being a mom to 3 boys (ages 8, 7, & 3), I don’t get any “alone time”, especially to shop. Thank you for posting this. I was looking for organizing templates and got so much more. You have a new fan!!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yay — thanks Stacey! So glad you found my blog and that you’ll now get to buy at least $20 of free clothing 🙂

    Happy shopping from home!

    [Reply]

  9. Nicole

    09/11/2014

    I’ve had great experiences buying from ThredUp, but my selling experience was horrible. The first time I sent them a STUFFED bag of clothing in good condition and in desirable sizes, & brands (mostly Ann Taylor Loft and Banana Republic) they only took 5 items, and almost all of them were no-name cheapo clothes. The high-quality clothing they didn’t buy. The second time I sent a stuffed bag full of children’s clothes left over from a swap we had at our moms group–many of the pieces were again, high quality brands and clothes in excellent condition and they only took ONE item AND it took over TWO MONTHS to get the piddly credit for it.

    There are numerous complaints about their buying practices out there, and my experience matches what many other people have experienced. I only mention this so that people who chose to send in items to “sell” to ThredUp do so with their eyes open.

    [Reply]

  10. Laura D.

    09/10/2014

    Andrea, this is my first time commenting. I’ve been reading your posts for a while now and really enjoy them. Thanks!

    I have had some good luck at garage sales, with some of the items being new and/or name brands. My favorite bargains include jeans for my husband as well as a colorful necklace from Costa Rica that always gets me compliments; maybe I’ll get there one day.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Laura — glad to have your first comment 🙂

    I used to LOVE LOVE LOVE garage sales (I was practically addicted!) then I had kids who don’t like to travel so I sort of got out of the habit of going. Maybe now that Nora is older I could take her with me though. Such great deals to be found 🙂

    [Reply]

  11. Sara

    09/09/2014

    Just tried Thredup, but I was unable to apply multiple promo codes.. Has anyone else ever had problems with that?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hey Sara, You can NOT apply multiple promo codes but you CAN apply one promo code plus your $10 (or more) or store credit.

    [Reply]

  12. Tara

    09/09/2014

    I so wish ThredUp and Twice were better options for larger gals. I am a size 14/16 right now (50 lbs of baby weight to lose) and if you go on those sites and look at the XL sections you’ll find two skirts to choose from, four pairs of jeans etc. As compared to size M which has PAGES of great options. I’ve looked at sites like these that have plus size options and it’s the same thing – lots of cute stuff in the larger sizes, but almost nothing in the XL range. So weird! I guess I’m in the most common size range maybe? Who knows. But someday I WILL be back in the size range that allows me many more options.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I think they only sell what gets sent to them from others — so maybe not a lot of plus sizes are donating or selling their items?? I don’t know, but that’s a bummer!

    [Reply]

    Linda Walsh Reply:

    Tara,
    I noticed that too. :/ So, I am looking at the handbags instead. Not sure if I will buy those but they seem a good price for the brands.
    Linda

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    shoot! but a cheap/free bag might still be worth it 🙂

    [Reply]

  13. April Connor

    09/09/2014

    Oh my Gosh! I think you have converted me into an online shopper! I’ve already got my account with Twice and I’m happy to see they ship to Canada! Just waiting to find out if ThredUp does too! Thank you so much!

    [Reply]

  14. Debra

    09/09/2014

    I subscribe to your blog thru email. Have not been getting it for a while now. Wondering if there was a problem at your end. I do miss getting your emails. Can you help?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Debra, it’s usually something with your spam filter that would prevent the email from coming through — so annoying, I know!

    You can try resubscribing with a different email address and see if that helps? Sorry!

    [Reply]

  15. Debbie

    09/09/2014

    I will be doing some purging of clothes in the next few months. I like to get some money back for some of it. Glad to know Twice will buy it. How do they value the clothes for you?

    [Reply]

  16. Pamela

    09/09/2014

    I love online shopping for just about everything……except CLOTHES! I feel I’m a weird body shape to fit and end up not really liking about 90% of what I order (or try on at stores!). It’s so difficult to get a good fit/feel that it’s just one thing I have to do “live”, in person. But I still enjoyed reading this post! And I certainly could try it for my kids. Thanks for the info, Andrea!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Pamela — yes, you should definitely get the free clothes for your kids then 🙂

    And regarding your “weird body shape” (your words!) that is something a stylist could work with you on. I wouldn’t necessarily say I have a “weird” body shape, but I do have VERY short lets and a VERY long torso which can make shopping for clothing somewhat tedious because I too felt like I needed to try so much on.

    Jess helped me realize exactly what my pants inseam was so now I can much more easily shop online for pants. She also made me realize that even though I would not be classified as “petite” the petite pants fit my short legs SOOOOOO much better than normal pants. I can’t tell you how much easier this realization has helped me 🙂

    All of this to say that maybe you just need to figure out a couple of things that DO work for you and then go from there!

    [Reply]

  17. Shambray

    09/09/2014

    I have been holding off on new clothes because like you said…money. This came at a perfect time for me. Thank you!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yay! happy shopping — if you can even call it shopping when you get the stuff for free 🙂

    [Reply]