This week is the first regular selling week of the Children’s Clothing Exchange – the enormous consignment sale that takes place in a hidden away, old community center (Valencia Club, 1900 Valence Street) in Uptown New Orleans two times a year (Fall and Spring). For a decade I have heard about it but have never participated in it. It is steeped in shopping and selling stories. Some people talk about the riches they made by simply cleaning out closets and playrooms and dropping off their gently used and worn items for others to buy. And others speak of the piles of smocked onesies, blazers, ski outfits, toys, bikes, and other equipment they find for mere pennies.
Two weeks ago I cleaned out our play room and took my toys and other treasures for consignment and below are my notes. Keep these in mind if you want to consign at the next Children’s Clothing Exchange – and please share your tips and experiences as you shop this week!
Consign early and often. I dropped off Thursday at 930am and Saturday at 3pm and I was able to find parking and a work space to tag my items but I have heard that weekend days and the weekday night time slots are a zoo.
Don’t take your kids with you (but they are welcome). The first time I dropped off I was solo. The second time I was with my kids. It was helpful to have them there to help me carry stuff in but they were not helpful when they realized what was going on and asked to walk back out with two items I was planning to sell.
Come prepared. I bought giant ziplock bags so I could group large items with their accessories. I wrote down very simple content pages – ie Fisher Price Imaginext Batman Cave with cars, accessories, figures – and put them in the bags then zipped them and taped them shut. (The ladies running the show suggested this so that kids can’t get in and play with and/or lose pieces before they are out the door). I did a little price searching on ebay and came with my own pen and tape even though there are some supplies on site. I used everything and it made it all a whole lot easier.
Use it as reason to clean up and clean out. There are a few options open to you when you consign – donate, pick-up at end, mark for half price days, etc. A friend of mine uses the white tags and doesn’t allow half price selling on her items so that at the end she can pick up her items, see what sold, and then use that info for the next sale. I used the yellow tags so that everything I took in would either be sold or donated at the end. My advice is to use this as an opportunity to clean out and maybe make a little shoe money.
Don’t get overwhelmed. Easy for me to say. I looked at what I had to go through and nearly gave up before I even started. But the truth is that it is pretty manageable and goes quickly once you take the first step. I put everything that needed to go by the front door. My husband loaded it in my car. I easily found a parking place one block away. The first drop off took about 90 minutes but included an entire car full of toys, bikes, etc. The second drop took about 15 minutes because I had one load and knew what I was doing.
Shop Early and Often. The shopping part of the sale officially begins this week – and the half-price sale starts Saturday, September 26 – but what I didn’t realize is that you can unofficially start shopping for toys, equipment and I think some clothes like boys blazers during the drop-off segment.
Was it worth it? I dropped off merchandise tagged at about $450 so I could make about $225 (they take half), but overall I can’t help but think that it was worth the effort. After all, despite what I make (which I will report at the end of the month), I have a cleaned out playroom that can now be used as a study and hang out space for my older kids. I would think it you were a mom with young kids it would definitely be worth your while to check out the sale this week!