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Tips For Smart Back-To-School Shopping

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tips for back to school shopping

Summer seems to slip away all too quickly, and before we realize it, it’s time to get the kids ready to head back to school. Most schools provide supply lists, but as children move into middle and high school this isn’t always the case. It’s best to start out with the necessities before school starts, then after the first week, pick up the rest of the supplies their teachers might require. Once school begins, you may find that basic supplies are cheaper since the back to school shopping season starts about mid-July.

On top of typical school stationery supplies, kids also need clothes, shoes, backpacks, snacks, and more to start the year off right. Here are some tips to finding and buying back-to-school must-haves while saving you $$$:

Sign-up for store emails

During busy times of year, such as the back-to-school season and the holidays, websites usually will offer coupons and discounts to get you to shop on their site. Also, keep an eye out for Labor Day sales if you’re in the U.S. for some great back-to-school deals and end-of-summer discounts.

Shop super early or after school starts

Everyone is getting ready to head back to school at the same time, which means you either have to hit the stores early, at the end of June or early July, or, head in at the start of the first or second week of school. Stores like Target and Walmart start putting new collections of supplies out when school ends, and most items go on sale after the start of the new school year. For trendy items, like backpacks, lunch bags, and pencil cases, you may want to grab those first since they’ll be harder to find once everyone starts collecting their back-to-school goodies.

Buy in bulk

When shopping in general, you’re guaranteed to save some money if you purchase items that get used-up quickly in bulk rather than as you need them. This applies to shopping for school as well. Buy paper, pens, pencils, and other frequently-used stationery items in bulk to last throughout the semester, or even the whole year!

Save on tech

Some middle schools and high schools provide laptops or tablets for students to use throughout the year or the entirety of their time at school. If you need to make the investment for one of these devices, there are sites like Best Buy that offer back-to-school discounts on laptops and tablets for students. Apple, Microsoft and other companies have education pricing and add-on specials when you purchase certain items for education purposes.

Reuse items from the previous year

Shopping for school items can get pricey, especially if you have multiple kids heading back to school. Have your kids go through all their school items from the previous year to see if anything can be used again for the next year – things like backpacks, large binders, water bottles, lunch bags, and pencil cases tend to last a while if they’re looked after well.

Marking your child’s school supplies is a time and money-saver

As sure as the sun rises, kids will lose things. According to a report from Pixie, more than $2.7 billion a year is spent replacing misplaced possessions. While this encompasses all demographics in the U.S., you can help keep your money and school-related items out of lost-and-found statistics. The best way to keep track of things is to use a custom labeling system. Custom woven sew on labels are perfect to add to outerwear, since these items are removed during the day and tend to get left behind and forgotten. For items like sports equipment or water bottles, a custom stick-on name label that is waterproof will stay on and help keep these valuable items out of the lost-and-found box. You can keep a set of spare, blank laundry labels (that you can write on) for incidental items throughout the year, so that if anything ever gets misplaced, it has a better chance of finding its way back to its owner. Check out our back to school labels to see all our best options for labeling kids’ items.

By shopping smart for school and ensuring all of your kids’ items are labeled, you’ll reduce stress for both yourself and your child, and save money throughout the school year.

 

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Why choose handmade?

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why buy handmade products

The crafting niche is thriving, and crafty artists are capitalizing on their skills more than ever. With the internet packed with a flourishing industry of handmade marketplaces, more people are embracing goods made by hand. By purchasing handmade goods either online or from local shops, you have instant and easy access the skills of artisans in your community and around the world.

  • Environmentally friendly

Artists or crafters are able to choose the best quality materials and are not forced to cut costs using synthetics as may be used by mass producers of similar items. Purchasing from local artists, or even making items yourself, makes a positive impact while reducing the  environmental effects that mass production of consumer goods has on our planet.

Creating items out of unconventional materials gives new purpose to items that may have otherwise been thrown away. For example, Unshattered works with women in residential recovery programs to help them develop skills, find their strengths, and prepare for the future by creating gorgeous bags and accessories that are handcrafted in New York’s Hudson Valley from repurposed materials.

  • High quality

When searching for clothing, decor, or a gift, the quality of the product is what you pay for. Handcrafted products generally have a much higher level of quality due to the fact that the crafter pays more attention to detail. Handmade items are more valuable and likely to last longer, plus they can be customized to meet your wants and needs.

  • Unique

When purchasing handmade goods, you’re receiving an item that is unique compared with others in the large consumer and even niche marketplaces. Since all items are made by individuals who source their own materials, each item is always slightly different.

  • Better for the economy and job market

Studies have shown that shifting even as little as 10 percent of consumer spending to locally owned businesses would create hundreds of new jobs and millions of dollars in local wages. A study from Etsy revealed that small businesses selling on the platform contribute $5.3 billion to the US economy. Also, Etsy sellers produce more than one and a half million jobs for themselves and others.

  • Feel-good shopping

According to Forbes, 87% of consumers feel that businesses should place at least as much weight on society’s interests as they do on business interests. Supporting local artisans and their eco-conscious business practices certainly ticks that box. Handmade pieces may cost more than mass produced goods or take longer to arrive, but when you spend money with a small, local business, you can feel good about your purchase.

 

If you are making items to contribute to the handmade market, make sure your branding is clear and present so your items don’t get lost in the fray. When you have finished your item, you can add a personalized fabric label to give it a professional look. You can customize your own woven labels here! You can also label your supply organizer, such as bins and drawers, to make your crafting process simpler and more streamlined using helpful stick-on name labels.

 

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Summer Camp Essentials: Everything that isn’t on your packing list

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Whatever essentials your child takes to summer camp, don’t forget this

packing for summer camp

When sending your child off to summer camp – whether sleepaway or day camp – we all know the standard items to pack – socks, underwear, toiletries, shoes, etc. Beyond the basics, there are several items that can make your child’s experience away at camp even better:

  1. Clip fan – Being out all day in the hot summer sun can wipe out even the most energetic child, so make sure they return to a bunk that will help them cool off with a clip-on fan. These fans come with a stand as well in case there is an extra surface to place it on.
  2. Instax or film camera – Pictures are worth a 1000 words – sending your child with an instant camera helps them remember the best memories from the summer. This is also perfect for camps that have a ‘no electronics policy’.
  3. Journal – Some kids enjoy taking time at the end of the day to write down their feelings and activities that they’ve enjoyed. If they’ve taken pictures on a camera that prints instantly, they can add in photos making a scrapbook of their time at camp.
  4. Book(s) – Camp is jam-packed with fun activities for engaging your child. Even so, there will be times where there’s a lull in the action and everyone can chill out and take a break. A good book will entertain your kids as well as keep them engaged over school break. Rather than taking a pen to identify the book as belonging to your child, use a custom stick-on name label on the inside cover!
  5. Refillable water bottle – Make sure your child stays hydrated by sending them with a refillable water bottle. Most camps have fountains where they can fill up a bottle with fresh, cool water. For those inevitable days when they forget their bottle in the food hall, make sure you attach a custom waterproof name label to the bottle so it finds its way back to them.
  6. Day bag/backpack – For sleepaway camps, while you’re packing all your kid’s items in a suitcase or trunk, don’t forget to grab a small bag they can take around camp with them. A tote, sling bag, or backpack is essential for taking around everything they need for the day. Using a fun, custom bag tag will help them identify their items amongst a sea of other kids’ bags, and will help ensure no one else runs off with their stuff. Our personalized shoe bags also make great day bags for summer camp!

To make sure everything that went to camp with your child comes home with them when camp is over, make sure you stock up with our labels!

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Helping Adults Make the Transition to Senior Living

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happy senior man with a nurse for assistance

Helping a family member or loved one make the transition to an independent living or assisted living facility, or to a nursing home, can be both emotional and overwhelming. When faced with this new stage in life, there are worries that vary from complex – finding, applying and paying for an appropriate residence – to seemingly simple things that make a big difference to the individual – such as making sure that their personal possessions are safe and identifiable.

The first important thing to remember is that the place will be their new home. If the individual has memory issues or dementia, it can be very traumatic to be separated from much loved objects and surroundings.

Check to see whether the new home can accommodate some cherished personal objects, or even pieces of small furniture, etc. If the family member is sharing a room, this may not be possible but there will always be a place for personal items such as clothing, shoes, slippers, and toiletries, as well as those special unique items which will bring comfort: Perhaps a beloved blanket or shawl, a photograph of grandchildren, or special and meaningful ornaments.

Reassuring seniors that they will not lose their possessions

It is a great kindness to the individual to help them make decisions about what to take with them. At this point, it is even more helpful to label all the personal possessions. Once an individual arrives at a new home, all these items will be unpacked and put away, allowing the resident to settle in and get used to their new surroundings. Until they have adjusted to the new routine, things can be quite confusing. Appropriately customized labels on his or her possessions are a source of security to your loved one.

A few days after arrival, the routine of regular laundry will begin. Once the process starts, there is a huge risk for loss unless items are clearly labeled. Laundry services may be dealing with 100 or more residents and will not be able to keep track of which item belongs to which resident unless it can be quickly and easily identified.

caring for seniors in assisted living

Labels are the difference between losing and finding valued items

Unmarked clothing and shoes are often put into a large “Lost and Found” area so that visiting families can go through items to try and identify their belongings. This can sometimes mean that valuable clothing is actually mistakenly taken by another family, or even another resident who may have memory issues.

Although some facilities will have a labeling service, the majority of labeling will usually take place at home before the move, so that everything can be packed up with a label attached to it. It’s also important to remember to label clothes, shoes and jackets that are going to be worn on move-in day. (It might also be a good idea to photograph groups of items that are being packed, just in case there is a need to go hunting for missing items at some point.)
It is both helpful and reassuring to understand and discuss laundry procedures with any facility. They will appreciate any assistance that a family is willing to give to make their job easier, with the knowledge that it will also reduce any anxiety that comes with lost belongings.

labeling clothing for seniors in nursing homes

Choosing the label type that works best for you

Luckily there are many simple and convenient ways to label virtually everything that will be moved into a facility.

  • Iron-on Clothing labels:  Often printed in easy-to-read and waterproof ink, and quick to apply for anyone handy with an iron.  These are best applied to smooth fabrics, such as cotton shirts and pants. “Tagless” iron-on labels are ideal for anyone with sensitive skin.
  • Sewing labels: These can often look more elegant than a printed label, and are recommended for anything with a “fuzzy” finish, such as knitted or fleece items.  Applied with a few quick stitches, they can also be removed easily.
  • Snap-on clothing tags: Labeling clothes and linens can be a time-consuming chore but snap-on clothing tags apply in seconds and there is no need for sewing or ironing. This labeling system is also portable – label items while visiting.
  • Laundry marker packages: Don’t have time to decide what your labels need to say? Perhaps your loved one moves rooms frequently? A laundry marker package comes with blank iron-on labels and/or stick on labels, giving you the flexibility to write what you like on each label. Make sure they are easily readable as frequent laundry is a hallmark of a good senior living facility
  • Stick-on clothing labels: Another solution for someone who is not able to iron or sew on labels. Simply press these labels onto the satin care tags of any clothing or linens.
  • Waterproof stick-on labels: Use stick on labels to keep track of any special toiletries, eyeglass cases, photo frames, walkers, hairbrushes, books, and more.

Keeping track of a host of personal items will be much easier and less stressful if all belongings are clearly labeled.  With the wide range of labeling options these days, there is an option to suit every taste and skill level. Plan ahead and keep the loss of precious items to a minimum!

 

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Why Send Your Child to Summer Camp?

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The summer months are fast approaching, and parents around the country will be starting to think about summer camps for their children.  Some families will have seasoned campers in the household, while others may have children who are heading off on their first experience. Depending on the child’s personality, this could be an exciting or daunting prospect.  Or perhaps a combination of both!

FOR THE CHILD:

Whether your child is going to a day or sleepaway camp, there are benefits that will be common to both since they will:

  • Interact with new people – fellow campers, counselors, and staff. This will enhance their social skills as they learn to communicate with different personalities on a daily basis.
  • Grow more independent and confident, as they navigate their way in a safe and non-judgemental environment.
  • Understand clear parameters within which to act, and help them understand the need for boundaries, especially when part of a large group.
  • Explore new activities, which will enhance their risk-taking skills and sense of achievement.
  • Learn to advocate for themselves and their friends.
  • Discover the benefits of teamwork to achieve group goals.

There have been numerous studies to show how the unique experience of attending a summer camp can benefit children throughout their lives into adulthood.

Perhaps the most important reason of all to send your child to summer camp is that in our increasingly structured and scheduled lives, it provides precious time to play, to be silly, and to relax after a day of physical exercise and fun.

FOR THE PARENTS/CAREGIVERS:

Once a child is signed up for summer camp, the practical task of getting ready can be a daunting prospect for many parents.  Most camps usually provide a suggested packing list for parents which will include items such as swimwear, casual clothes, water bottles, etc.  For sleepaway camp, there can be as many as 90-100 soft items and 30-40 items with hard surfaces. Virtually all day and sleepaway camps require that clothing and other personal belongings be labeled clearly so that if they are lost or mislaid – and you can be sure they will be lost or mislaid – they can be returned to their rightful owner.  This not only helps the staff keep the camp tidy and organized, but reduces the anxiety which a child might feel if they lose something.

Items on a typical shopping list can include:

  • T-shirts, shorts, sweatshirts, etc.
  • Swimwear
  • Towels and bed linens
  • Cleats, sneakers, sandals, etc.
  • Backpacks, music cases, etc.
  • Sports equipment
  • Shampoo, toothpaste, sunscreen bottles, etc.
  • Flashlights, personal electronic devices, etc.
  • Books, journals, etc.

For soft items, such as clothing and linens, the type of customized label will depend on how a parent would like to apply them:

  • For smooth fabrics, iron-on labels are quick to apply, and easy to read.
  • For soft fabric with a texture, such as fleece, sew-on labels can be stitched on in a couple of minutes.
  • For sportswear, such as swimsuits and polyester short shirts, iron-on tagless labels, or stick-on clothing labels are a great solution.
  • For sports bags, music cases, and backpacks, customized bag tags make these items easy to identify.
  • For toiletries, water bottles, flashlights, sports equipment, etc. waterproof stick-on name labels apply in seconds, and come in a range of colors and designs.

A sleepaway summer camp, or well-planned day camp program, is designed to give children a feeling of freedom far from the responsibilities and discipline found at home and school. Where every day is about having fun, making friends, and savoring new experiences. The Summer days of childhood seem to last forever, and so do the memories.

 

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