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5 Tips On How To Store Seasonal Clothing
5 Tips On How To Store Seasonal Clothing

It will soon be time for changing of the seasons, which means changing up those closets and wardrobes. Unless you have the closet space of Paris Hilton, you’re on the constant rotating loop of sorting and packing your clothes each Spring and Fall. While you think about what you are going to do with all those new leggings you got this winter, here are some great tips for storing off-season clothing:

  1. Use old comforter bags: Store clothes in comforter packages. Not only do they keep your clothes dust-free, these can be found at the dollar store. Thrift and convenience all in one!
  2. Suitcases: Have a few of vintage or old suitcases around. Store your clothes in these vessels for an easy hideaway.
  3. Sliding Roof Storage: Out of sight, out of mind. Build some tracks at the top of your garage and slide storage containers in the tracks to keep your clothes fresh and free from dust.
  4. Stylish Bins/Baskets: Take a trip to your local super store for cute baskets and bins. Get creative!
  5. Under the Bed: Not just for dust bunnies and monsters. You can purchase long, flat plastic containers that can be stored under your bed. This also makes those clothes easier to access for when it gets a little chillier or warmer than anticipated.
5 Tips To Declutter Your Child’s Playroom
5 Tips To Declutter Your Child’s Playroom

It seems like an insurmountable task, your child’s playroom.  Every time you pass it, you may think a bomb went off, your anxiety rises and you sigh in defeat.  Here are some quick tips that will help get back control!

  1. 80/20 Rule: The more your kids have, the less they play with, let’s be real. So, set the stage so your children will actually play with more. I’ve learned that there’s an 80/20 rule for kids’ toys: If they aren’t organized well, kids end up spending 80 percent of their time playing with 20 percent of their toys while the other 80 percent go unused.
  2. Keep it Simple: When it comes to toy room organization, simplicity rules. It’s calming and easy to maintain. If the toy room stresses you out, then it will stress the kids out so keep it simple and decluttered. Go through the toy room every change of season to get rid of old, broken items that they no longer play with. Getting in the habit of regularly decluttering will save you time, space and a lot of headaches
  3. Ditch the toy box: Sure, that toy box might sound like a good idea, but in reality, toy boxes are a guaranteed way for kids not to play with all their toys. Even worse, they’ll make a huge mess to play with one specific toy. Toy boxes are just a dumping ground, usually full of broken bits and lost pieces and the child will dump out the whole collection to find something,
  4. Labeling: Labeling storage containers is always a good idea, but what if your kids are too young to read? Just use what they can identify: Pictures. If you have really young children, use clip art to include a picture in addition to the word. You can print the labels on address label stickers (available at all office supply stores) or on plain paper that you stick to the container using clear packing tape. This is also an amazing learning opportunity.
  5. Clear Bins: Instead of the typical toy box, invest in some clear bins to sort toys. Sort toys into see-through bins and place on shelves that the child can reach. The see-through bins allow your children to find what they’re looking for, so the Legos, or the Barbies, or the plastic farm animals can come out without them rooting through everything else.
Back To School Sleep Tips

BACK TO SCHOOL SLEEP TIPS

Guest Contributor: Ronee Welch of Sleeptastic Solutions

MORGANSI don’t know about you, but back-to-school time is my favorite time of the year! After a summer of running kids to camps, parks, play dates, amusement parks, vacations, sporting practices, and trying to keep them entertained 24/7, I am beyond done. At this point, I don’t even mind the pile of paperwork I’ll be getting, or the homework I’ll be checking, when the kids do return to school. I just want to get back to my “normal” and be back on schedule! And do you know who else is looking forward to having a schedule again? My kids! They wake up every morning and ask me what’s on the schedule for today. They are used to having their lives be very consistent, and it works well for them too.

Kids of all ages love schedules and routines! Never shy away from creating one for them because you don’t want to be “that mom”. Believe me, they want you to be “that mom”! That Mom knows the exact time they need to be out of the house to catch the bus on time, That Mom knows where their favorite shirt is, That Mom knows what time they need to be at soccer or dance practice, That Mom knows what’s for dinner tonight, That Mom will help them with their homework, and That Mom will make sure they’re in bed on time so they can do it all over again tomorrow! Routines help with their daytime schedule, and they certainly help with their nighttime one. Predictability works well for children and adults of all ages!

But after more than 2 months of chaos, life on the go, and late nights, your normal school year schedule may seem like a distant memory. Now that we’re just weeks away (or even days for some of you) from the start of school, it’s a good time to begin making some changes to your summer schedule in preparation for what’s ahead.

Here are 4 things you can do to ensure your child’s sleep isn’t affected when heading back to school:

  1. Have a good bedtime routine – If your child likes to watch TV, play on your phone or on a tablet, or play video games before bed, you need to curb when that viewing/playing happens. All electronic devices should be turned off at least 30 minutes prior to bedtime. A good routine might include pajamas, brushing teeth, using the potty, and reading some stories before turning in for the night.
  2. Get them to bed early – An earlier bedtime is often the answer to many bedtime questions. Many parents believe that if they keep their child up later than usual, then they’ll wake up later in the morning but this isn’t the case! Keeping them up later can cause night terrors, night wakings, restlessness, and then they’ll usually wake up at the same time or earlier the next morning. Stick to a bedtime somewhere between 7-8pm and you should be good. Your child might even need an earlier than normal bedtime once school resumes, thanks to earlier wake-up times and long days of physical and mental activities. And if your child is currently going to bed later than 8pm, then you should think about slowly moving this time up to a more reasonable hour now, so they’re ready when school starts.
  3. Get them up earlier – On the flipside, if you have a child who’s been enjoying sleeping in late (ie tweens and teens), it’s time to start moving that awake time earlier every few days. Let’s say your child is currently waking up at 9 or 10am. Well, needing to suddenly be up at 6:30 or 7am is going to be quite the culture shock! A week or two before school starts it’s helpful to gradually begin moving bedtime earlier and waking them up earlier in the morning. Yes, they’ll likely grumble, but they will get used to it over that week or two, and it will make the first day back to school more bearable on everyone.
  4. Allowing a short nap – If you have a younger child going to preschool, kindergarten, or first grade, they are likely to be more tired than usual. They might not be napping anymore normally, but going to school part of or the whole day can be exhausting for them. If they come home and fall asleep on the couch after school, it might be tempting to leave them be. Well, if your child is in preschool or half-day kindergarten, where they’re home by lunch each day, then allowing a small nap would probably be helpful for them to make it through the remainder. It can keep them from going to bed too tired, which can cause night terrors and restlessness. However, if you have an older child who is attending school all day and not getting home until 3 or 4pm, then that’s a different story. A late day nap like that could really throw off your child’s bedtime. You might get a bedtime battle or even a middle of the night wake up where your child is just wide awake. So instead of allowing the late day nap, try to encourage your child to stay up after school, but then put them to bed earlier. In fact, they may need an earlier-than-usual bedtime for a while until their little body adjusts to the long school days.

So go ahead and get in those last few playdates, swim lessons, and let’s not forget about back-to-school shopping, because before long it will all be over. Then we’ll be complaining about the mounds of homework, projects, sports, and other things they’ve got going on during the school year, and we’ll be counting down the days until their first holiday break!

The Sleeptastic Solutions mission is to educate adults and children on the importance of sleep, breastfeeding, and infant massage. Ronee works closely with parents-to-be and parents of children aged 0-12yrs, creating custom sleep plans and providing support. For teens and adults, she takes a holistic approach to lifestyle and sleeping issues, providing realistic and attainable action steps. And she’s recently added a new Infant Massage service! This is a parent education service, where she will teach you how to massage your child, which has so many benefits! Contact Ronee for more information on all of her services

Clean Up: A Personal Story

This post is a very personal one for me.  I do not typically share my personal life or problems with very many people…but as I was going through a particular struggle the last few weeks, it occurred to me that I have a unique position to try and help other moms and remind them that they are not alone.  Maybe it seems obvious to think that we all have struggles, but it was someone pointing the obvious out to me that motivates this blog.  I hope some of you will take me up on the challenge and offer at the end.

Like many families, it seems that life has handed us one thing after the next for quite a while now…family members who have died, a child who needed brain surgery, a special needs child, my own injury that causes chronic pain and difficulty with many tasks…it seems there is always something in high priority and it was not usually in my control what that was.  THINGS started to collect around my house…we have too much stuff, much of it being kids stuff.  

Garage 1 v2We are clean people….we dust, vacuum, clean the bathrooms weekly (ok, well almost weekly). Dishes and laundry are done daily.  But truth be told, despite my OCD nature to want everything put back in its place and be cleaned in particular ways, I have trouble getting rid of things.  I would like to give it to someone who wants it, needs it, keep it for sentimental value… or maybe it is in good condition and I could sell it and make some money to help out the family budget.  After all, I am the owner of a successful consignment sale…I certainly know how to prepare and tag my own items, right?  Wrong…I might know how to, but I never seem to get to it.  So the stuff keeps piling up….until about 2 weeks ago thanks to someone stating the obvious.

I knew keeping the stuff was not making me happy.  In fact, DAILY I was quite stressed over everything that I could never seem to sort through and move out.  However, life was happening.  The last couple of months has been especially stressful with our special needs child who was going through medication changes and having many “episodes”.  During one particularly bad day, I sat reviewing notes from his various therapists.  One of the providers, who I will call BXT, has the unique position of being home-based and pointed out that we had lost our ability to manage our son with the things that are important to him because those things were everywhere in our house….we had no control.  Although I had read this message previously and thought “yeah, I know…we have a lot of stuff and we need to get rid of it and organize it”, the message did not profoundly hit me until that day as I sat re-reading, trying to figure out what I was missing or what I could do to improve things for my son and our family.  Although the message was worded in a kind way, suggesting a “summer project”, and was only intended to help I suddenly got rather peeved at BXT….because he was right.  So, I decided to stay peeved…because being Type A personality I did not like the suggestion that I lacked control because of my own failing…it was motivational to be annoyed.

Organizing It v2I wish I had thought to take a picture before we started cleaning out our garage, it was quite an avalanche waiting to happen with some furniture, older sale equipment, bins of clothing and toys, even empty cardboard boxes waiting to go to the burn pile….this is about 2 days into the project.  

With our son safely in a special needs day camp for 2 weeks, my husband took off work and we embarked on what we thought was going to take about a week of purging stuff in our garage.  We started with the safety issues of installing locked cabinets for power tools and chemicals.  Then after that week, we got to the STUFF…you know, all the stuff we had packed up in bins to store for the sale.  Friends, it was ugly….most of the clothing, toys, and books I had packed up with the determination to tag it myself had sat.  It sat too long…elastic was dried out, yellow staining had developed on the clothing, mice had made a couple of nests, some styles of clothing were dated.  We went through it all…being peeved about the obvious situation that had boldly but tactfully pointed out, I was determined to let go of things and also to be realistic about what I could accomplish.  I decided that I needed to throw away, donate, and use the TCT Tagging Service (and yes, I do pay 20% of my total sales plus the fees for supplies and storage, the same as all consignors).

Kathy v2So far I have delivered 14 bins of clothing, outerwear and shoes, 4 boxes of books, and 4 bins of toys to Kathy, our Tagging Service Coordinator.   Here she is getting to work on my items. Thankfully, she said she found the funniest shirt she has tagged for anyone….I hope she keeps her sense of humor because I’m still sending more items her way.  

The garbage man is probably not happy.  The local thrift store has a lot of sorting to do.  My son is rather upset that we have locking cabinets in our garage.  The mice have lost their home.  But my house is returning back to order, I think I may even feel some sanity returning…I may be able to park my car in the garage this winter!  I am beginning to find some calm in the storm.  With the epic project of the garage being cleaned out, I can now clean out the smaller areas inside our home and I will have a place to put those bins that are going to the next sale season…directly to our Tagging Service preparers.  I never, ever, want to be in a garage for almost 2 weeks in 90-degree heat…ever!

I challenge each of you to consider realistically…do you have things you want to free yourself from, things you need to get rid of to clear the clutter out of your home and mind?  Will you actually have time to prepare your items, hold a yard sale, or post and meet on Facebook groups?  Please don’t make my mistake.  Don’t hang on to things hoping to maximize your earnings or think you will make the time to do it.  BXT said the obvious to me, he called me out.  Now I’m saying that to you…let it go (insert Frozen song here…lol).  Seriously, being moms we tend to take on more than is reasonable.  We want to do it all!  I am so happy I have cleared a lot of clutter, I’m thankful that I was motivated by someone to make THIS the priority…I’m starting to feeling like I can function again.  Yes, I will “lose” some money to our Tagging Service preparer, but that is far better than leaving it sit and causing both physical and mental clutter…not to mention how much we ended up throwing away (please remember our Tagging Service is not a cleaning service and clothing should be freshly laundered and delivered in bins so we can keep your items clean).  

So, if you need to, you can be peeved at me…but it’s time to get rid of stuff!  Please join me this season in getting Paid to Purge.  If this post connects with you, I encourage you to sign up for our Tagging Service NOW!  Make the commitment to clear it out…make it a summer project.  

I’m getting clutter free…I hope my family and others will help me be accountable to what we accomplished in the last 2 weeks and give me kind reminders, if or when needed, of where we were and where we do not want to be again. It may not solve all of our life problems, but it sure has been a great place to start.  I challenge you to join me!

Summer Fun In The Lehigh Valley

We’re Thrilled at Lehigh Valley Find and Go Seek to be guest blogging for The Clothing Tree to share our favorite summer fun ideas for summer 2016 and some great ways you can plan out your summer and make sure you don’t miss anything!!

Make your bucket list!

We’ve created a super cool Printable Summer Bucket List, which includes a number of awesome local ideas to keep the kids busy all summer long.  Use it to explore somewhere new or check back in on a local spot you haven’t been to in a while. We have copies here to print and ours or blank copy to fill in your own. 

Printable copies of our Bucket Lists lists are available here at this link!

Untitled design (6)Catch a Movie!

We’re so lucky in the Lehigh Valley to have a number of cities, and municipalities that offer FREE movies nights throughout the summer. These are some of my favorite events to attend during the summer months and our kids love them! Pop some Popcorn or pack a picnic dinner and snugggle in on your pop up chair for some great open air entertainment!

Bethlehem Movies in the Park
Allentown Movies in the Park
Forks Township Movies in the Park
Steel Stacks Family Movie Night
Lower Macungie Movies in the Park

Additionally a number of theaters are offering affordable summer movies for children and their parents this summer each week, both Carmike and Regal Cinemas have summer movie programs. for a few dollars you can cool off for the morning and enjoy a family friendly movie with the kids.

Carmike Summer Movie Series – Catasauqua Road
Carmike Summer Movie Series – Promenade Shops
Regal Summer Movie Express – Easton/Nazareth and Quakertown

 

Untitled design (5)Find a Great Summer Camp

Theres plenty to choose from on our huge list of local options here. Make sure to sort the list for day camps or overnights to find exactly what you’re looking for!

A Camp for your Adventurer!

Get exploring with Blue Mountain’s Adventure Camp! A rough and adventurous camp that allows your little camper to explore and experience all that nature has to offer! Their programs offer weekly or multiple week day or overnight camp experiences and featuring bussing from central locations for day campers.

Camps for Staying Active!

Elite Sports Academy is offering a full summer of programming that allows working parents a great option for their kids who need somewhere to be during the work day that isn’t a day care setting. Their Elite Kids Summer Camp includes a variety of sports, games and more to keep kids busy. Elite Sports Academy is also offering specialty sports camps for soccer, softball and baseball.

Active Learning Centers is one the Lehigh Valley’s premiere child care facilities, and their popular summer camp features day trips, water play, martial arts programs and more. The program runs all summer long to assist working parents with school age children.

Kids can get a chance to develop their baseball skills at IronPigs Baseball Camps Get coached by professionals and enjoy a meet and greet with the players. Kids also receive the opportunity to attend and get introduced on field at a home game.

Specialty Camps

As a former educator it is always exciting what I see camp options for children who have different needs. Valley Family Therapeutics is offering summer enrichment programs that include on site therapists. Their highly trained staff is present to work on social skills, speech, fine motor skills and more.

Get Rocking with a music camp with School of Rock Kids can hone their instrumental skills and vocal skills using their 3 camps options. Their rebound “Beatles” camps offers an amazing opportunity to explore their history and perform live.

An international Experience

Compass USA offers Lehigh Valley families the opportunity to host an international student for 3 weeks in July! This is the perfect opportunity to build friendships, immerse your children in a new culture and offers the opportunity to build their foreign language skills. Local host families just rave about this program.

5 GreatPack your bags for a day trip!

The Lehigh Valley is close to so many amazing attractions, and cities so take advantage. Take a look at some of our favorite ideas for local-ish day trips! All of these options are less than a 2 hour drive from most points in the Lehigh Valley. If these ideas don’t pique your interest see our full list of day trip ideas here!

 

Knoebles – This gem offers free admission to their amusement park! Rides of course must be paid for using a all day ride pass or tickets but, this offers a huge cost savings for parents and grandparents who just want to watch and not ride along. The park’s food is seriously amazing and couldn’t have more options to pick from, its almost worth the drive just to go eat. The park is shady, offers free parking and has a giant pool with a few water slides and a splash park to cool off at. If you’re interested in extending your stay on site camping is also available.

Mauch Chunk Lake – A bit closer to home, just north in Carbon County, is Mauch Chunk Lake. This park offers boating, swimming, camping, hiking and more. With a sand beach for children to play at, this location offers a picturesque option for a day at the beach without fighting traffic or booking an expensive place to stay overnight!

Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle – Step back in time when you visit these two incredible attractions in Doylestown. The Mercer Museum – filled with artifacts and objects gathered from 1850 – 1930 represent the time prior to the industrialization of america. The Fonthill Castle’s architecture is stunning and featuring works of art in a variety of styles, including a famed collection of Moravian tiles. They offer number of kids activities including printable scavengers hunts with a variety of themes (Harry Potter, Lord of the the Rings and more). Family friendly events are scheduled throughout the summer so check out what they have happening and make a visit.

Bushkill Falls – Even on the hottest of days walking through Bushkill Falls you will feel cool! This awesome attraction – less than 30 minutes North for most of the Valley, offers breathtaking views of waterfalls with only a short drive.

Crystal Cave or Lost River Caverns – Visit an underground caves at one of these super close day trip options. Crystal Cave- in Kutztown and Lost River Caverns in Hellertown offer an awesome both educational and entertaining experience for kids. This trip is probably best for children 7 and older but is breathtaking and completely worth the visit.

The Safest Seat?

The Safest Seat?

by Abbie Patterson, CPST

SCSG_Both_small_RGB-01Choosing a car seat can be a very stressful and daunting task for parents and parents-to-be.  You want your child to be as safe as possible, but which style of car seat should you be looking at?  Which car seat is “the safest”?  Which car seat is “the best”? 

Chances are, you’ll start by surveying your friends and trying to search for reviews and/or safety ratings online.  But guess what?  There are actually no such things as “safety ratings” for car seats.  All car seats are required to pass the same stringent tests in order to be sold on the U.S. market, and those standards are strictly pass/fail.  Data has shown that a properly used car seat will dramatically reduce a child’s risk for injury or death in a crash.  So why are there so many seats to choose from?  Why are there so many price points?  Which one is the right one to choose?!  Car seats are not one-size-fits-all.

The safest seat is the seat which fits your child, your vehicle, and your budget, and that can be installed and used correctly every single time.  That’s where it gets tricky.  Studies have shown that approximately 80% of children are in the wrong child safety seat!  Just because your best friend swears by one particular seat or even an entire “brand” of the seat, doesn’t mean that their preference will be a good choice for your particular situation.  Looking at the weight or height limits alone really doesn’t help as much as you think it would either.  Different seats are outgrown at different rates by different children.  Believe it or not, not all car seats which are rated to 5 pounds will fit a newborn baby safely.

Thankfully, Super Car Seat Geek is here to rescue you from the stressful selection process of choosing a car seat.  Our exclusive Concierge Service will help you select the very best seat for your individual needs and desires.  We will meet you at a store of your choosing* and, after gathering some basic information, go over in detail the best options available. Because of this, you can be confident that your selection will fit well in your vehicle, and will provide a safe, long lasting fit for your child.  We have been told time and time again that our (very modest) fee is not only money well-spent, but in fact has helped to save parents at least that much money! 


Of course, selection is only part of the equation.—You’ll want to ensure that your seat is installed and used correctly.  Studies have shown that as many as 93% of parents are making at least 1 critical error with their car seat.  Our private seat checks are extremely thorough.  Not only will we teach you how to correctly install your car seat, but we will teach you proper use of it and discuss when it will be outgrown, what your next steps will be, and so forth. 

Don’t waste your time, money, and energy worrying!  Contact Super Car Seat Geek today and let us help you keep your most precious cargo safer!

*(Not local to the Lehigh Valley?  Ask us about our Virtual Concierge Service)

www.facebook.com/SuperCarSeatGeek
www.SuperCarSeatGeek.wordpress.com
SuperCarSeatGeek@gmail.com

Reflections of Sunflowers and Swiss Chard

Reflections of

The 2015 growing season was the first time our family joined a CSA. I had wanted to join a local CSA for a few years to have more control over where our food comes from and to support our local farmers.  A “CSA” is Community Share Agriculture…we buy a “share of the harvest” in advance and then enjoy weekly pick-ups of produce from the farm picked fresh that morning.  I do have my own vegetable garden but….well, let’s just say some years are not as successful as others (life happens and weeds take over or I forget that we didn’t fertilize properly)!  We chose Blooming Glen Farms as our farm of choice, not just because of location but also because of pricing, guaranteed quantity of items per weeks, and that it is a certified organic farm.  We liked that it included fruit, herbs, and flowers as well.  

IMG_7951As the season started you could be sure that if it was our Tuesday pick up day, it would be raining…it became a joke among the Tuesday shareholders.  You see, each week of the CSA a member usually had one or maybe two items that were “pick your own” in addition to the already harvested and washed crops that are in the pick-up room.  The farm would let us know how many pints or quarts and out we would go to the field to pick.  I loved going to the field to pick my crops, it brought out my inner farmer! My son would often join too.  CSA members were always welcome back any day of the week except Sunday to gather your “pick your own” crops…but I’m a busy mom and a camper, so the rain did not deter me from the mission at hand…

On many a rainy day my son was along…he enjoyed the adventure of going out to the field in the rain.  Our first strawberry picking was in the rain…our first green beans picking was in the rain…oh and a thunderstorm too! (We hurried out of the field that time…the medical side of me reasoned it was not good to be the tallest thing in a field of several acres with lightning and thunder.)

IMG_7952My son especially enjoyed the tall sunflower field from which he could pick flowers.  One particular Tuesday was just a downpour.  I stood waiting for my son to emerge from the sunflowers (which were so tight together I could not get in the row).  I figured we were already soaking wet and could not be anymore drenched than we were, so there was no need to hurry along…I just let him search out his flower.  Finally, he emerges from the sunflowers with a mammoth sunflower which he cut at ground level, holding it at least 3 feet taller than himself!  He proudly proclaims, “I thought I would cut a BEAUTIFUL flower to help us remember this lovely day!” I could not help but to stand there and laugh…what a great little guy I have! 

IMG_7949We were pleased with our first season’s experience.  My mother had also joined last season, but was not as favorable to the experience…she had selected a full share which proved to be way more produce than she needed for 2 people and she felt a bit overwhelmed and shared much with her neighbor, so this year she joined as a “half-share” holder.  (If you are a vegetarian I image a full share would be perfect for 2 people, though.). When you join you need to be prepared that you will likely need to adjust your menu and cooking style slightly as well as your shopping list.  You will have a variety of locally grown produce items that you may not have even heard of before.  I grew up in a “food family”…we preserve our homegrown food, canned fruit, and jam, and even prepared large quantities of food for big groups (as in 100s of people)..but I never heard of Kohlrabi.  

Kohlrabi was my personal new favorite…we like to shred it with some garlic powder, salt and pepper, added our own fresh backyard eggs and then cooked it in the mornings for breakfast.  You will receive a lot of leafy greens, Swiss Chard and Kale were fairly new to me and we received it often in our share…I’ve heard of them but never really experimented.  You will want to have some ideas on what to do with them all because salad will get boring.  We sautéed our kale and Swiss chard with garlic or garlic scapes (that is a little shot from the top of a garlic plant that will show up in your share some weeks as the farm needs to trim them in order for our garlic to grow properly underground). We also roasted our kale for a crispy kale chip treat.  One of my favorite things to do is to sauté some Swiss Chard along with a few other fresh veggies like tomato or zucchini and make it into an omelet with my Kohlrabi “fritter”.  Towards the end of the growing season, you will receive a lot of radish varieties…these are the size of turnips.  I’m honestly not a fan of radish, but I found that if I roasted them with the potatoes and carrots we received that it really mellowed the flavor of the radish and I found it quite enjoyable.  

IMG_7950If you are considering a CSA be prepared to experience new things, it is a bit different than shopping at the grocery store’s produce aisle.  Have some recipes on hand for the anticipated harvest or do what I often did…just ask other CSA members during pick up what they do with the item of produce in question…this is where most of these ideas came from.

A CSA may not be for everyone, but it is for me and my family….I look forward to our first pick up today when I know one of our family favorites will be on the farm…STRAWBERRIES! If this article has inspired you to check out the Blooming Glen Farm CSA, please list us as your reference.  I do get a credit for referrals which I use to purchase additional items that I preserve for our family for the winter time.  

How do I get paid? How do I know how much I will get?

How do I get paid- How do I know how much I will get-When you register as a consignor you will pay an “upfront” fee called the Registration Fee.  This fee reserves your place as a consignor and is non-refundable and non-transferrable.

Most consignors chose to help out during the event.  We call them Team Members.  A consignor who chooses not to be a Team Member will have a fee called the Consignor Fee deducted from your commission at the conclusion of the event.  The Registration Fee and the Consignor Fee are two separate fees, one is paid upfront and the other is deducted from your commission if you are not a Team Member.  Since most consignors will help out during the event as a Team Member for a minimum of two hours, we wanted to give them an added benefit beyond shopping early…so we will waive the Consignor Fee and it will not be deducted from commission. 

Team Members help from 2 – 16 hours.  This is OPTIONAL as a consignor.  But most consignors like to shop early and have the Consignor Fee waived and even earn other stuff…plus it’s fun to hang with other moms!  Each 2 hour shift has an added “perk”, so take a look at our Team Member perks chart here to see how many hours you need to achieve your personal goals.  Do you want to shop early, earn more commission, or even get your money more quickly?  See how many hours are needed for your personal goal and then sign up in the Consignor Portal. 

As the sale progresses you should look at your Sold Items Report and multiple the dollar total by your anticipated commission percentage.  Next deduct any fees (like the Consignor Fee if you are not a Team Member) or optional services (like 20% for our Tagging Service) to find out what you have earned.  The “Estimated Earnings” report is an approximate number based on the average consignor…truly an “estimate” and not your personal accurate amount, so please do not use it if it is visible in your account.

Our 10-16 hour Team Members can receive a printed check on the final night of our sale.  All other consignors will have their commission sent to PayPal at the email address you registered with as a consignor…please note that the email address we have on file MIGHT be different than an email you used to pay your upfront Registration Fee.  We will always use the email you entered when you entered your consignor information…this email is kind of like your bank account number.  Please make sure it is correct or your money may be delayed in arriving.  (Note that PayPal does have an option to connect more than one email address to a single PayPal account.  Please see their website for details on how to do that.)  You can confirm your correct email address by logging into your Consignor Portal and updating your Consignor Information.  You must do this for BOTH of our sale locations (one does NOT automatically update the other).

Once we finalize the sale data, we will send money to PayPal and PayPal will then send you a notice to your consignor’s email address that you have money to be claimed.  You follow the directions in the email to obtain your money.  PayPal can also link your checking account to your PayPal account so that you can make a free transfer of your commission to your own bank.  Please see PayPal’s website for directions on how to do that…the process of PayPal confirming your bank account information will take a few business days, so make sure you start early if you chose this as an option.  PayPal will hold your funds for 30 days to see if you “claim” the money.  Once you claim it, it goes into your PayPal account immediately and you can transfer to your bank from there, if desired.  After 30 days have passed, PayPal will notify us that you did not claim your money and they will send back to us any money that was not claimed.  Once we receive your unclaimed money back from PayPal, we will issue you a printed check minus a $2 processing fee.  This happens automatically and you do NOT have to request a paper check.  Again, paper checks cannot be issued until the 30 day waiting period has expired since PayPal is retaining the money until that time.  If you would like a printed check and do not wish to wait that long you always have the option of being a 10-16 hour Team Member to receive your check on the final sale day.

We are excited to be offering PayPal payments so that consignors can receive their money more quickly and securely!  Please let us know if you have any questions by emailing info@theclothingtree.com

Consignor Portal Reports Are Awesome

Quakertown ConsignorsCLICK HEREA few of you have asked some questions about the differences in the reports of the Consignor Portal so I want to share this guide for you to reference.

To follow each description you might want to log into your Portal and look at the grid where these items are listed.

ESTIMATED EARNINGS – You will see a row for “Estimated Earings” …this line especially causes some confustion.  It is important to note that this is indeed just an “estimate”.  It is based on our base commission of 60%.  Most consignors will have a difference in this estimate compared to actual since it is only determined on that base of 60%.  Consignors who are Team Members can expect a higher earnings.  Consignors who do not help as a Team Member will have the $10 Consignor Fee deducted from this amount.  Additionally,  for those that use our optional Tagging Service your actual earnings will be 20% less to pay for the tagging services.

SOLD ITEMS – This section is usually updated in the evening after each selling day.  (We officially ask that you allow us until the next morning, but we are all excited to see our daily sales, so we almost always upload at the end of the sale each day before we go home.)  Remember this is not a “live” report…we have to upload it which we do once daily.

SELLER REPORT – This is uploaded when we send you notification that your money is available in PayPal.  This is the final and accurate report of what your total sales were and what percentage you earned.  It also includes every detail of any deductions such as the Consignor Fee for Non-Team Members, Tagging Service, and so on.  If you have a question about how much money you made, take a look here first and then email us with any questions.  An excellent item to look at on this report is the “% of items sold”.  This will help you consider your future growth and earning potential as a consignor.  Your goal should be to sell 75% of what you bring.  We will write a separate blog on this topic, but if you are not that high consider things like 1) Is my pricing too high 2) Did I have a lot of things returned to me during my drop off time (too many stained items, forgot my batteries in toys, wrong season, etc.) 3) Am I keeping my ACTIVE inventory clean?  (If you transfer items between our sales all your items go Active when transferring.  You need to mark items you are not bringing as INACTIVE so that you have an accurate report and that we also have accurate statistics for helping the growth of our events.)

DONATION REPORT – If you marked your items as Donate you will be able to look at this report and print it out for tax purposes.  If your items were not marked as “Donate” but you decided at the end of the sale that you were leaving them behind we did donate those items, but it will not show in the report since it was not marked that way when you entered it. This report is available when we notify you that your commission has been issued following the sale.

UNSOLD ITEMS REPORT – This report is uploaded after we close on the last day of the sale.  You can print it to locate your unsold items if you are choosing to claim your items when the selling days conclude.  If you cannot print this just prior to coming to pick up your items, we will be happy to print it for you when you arrive.  Remember you should also mark off any items that you did not bring to the sale and any items that were returned to you during your drop off appointment. 

Top 10 Consignor Supplies

ARE YOU READY TO CONSIGN?

To help you get organized for consigning we wanted to share the top 10 supplies you will want to have on hand and let you know the cheapest places to find them.

images (2)1) Hangers – Beg, borrow, post…since we do NOT require a specific type of hanger consignors can use whatever they find FREE! Ask department stores and dry cleaners if they have any hangers. Post on social media and ask your friends if they have any unwanted hangers, ask on The Clothing Tree’s private page for consignors if anyone has extra…try not to pay for them! If you end up having more clothing than hangers we suggest buying a box from Uline and picking up at their warehouse just outside of Allentown. You should ask for the white shirt hangers, they are the least expensive and come in a box of 500, share with a friend or save for next season…or sell lots of clothing. :) If you don’t want that size box then the dollar store or Walmart are your best bet for smaller quantities. Sometimes a dry cleaner will sell some of their own stock at cost.

2) Cardstock – Tags must be printed on cardstock (not regular paper). This is 65lb weight paper. All consignors must use white or cream colored cardstock UNLESS you have decided to use our optional Transfer Service. If you are using the Transfer Service then you must use any shade of green cardstock to print your tags. Green cardstock will likely need to be purchased from an office supply store but white cardstock has the best price at Walmart.

3) Safety Pins – This is one item we do NOT recommend you buy at the dollar store…usually the metal of the pin is too flimsy and will bend when trying to push pin through…not fun! If you are going to use a bunch we recommend buying a box from Cleaner Supply…the size 2 is the best all-round size. Use safety pins to attach tags to clothing or clothing to hangers.

4) Zipper Bags – from sandwich bag size to jumbo bags you will need some. Use them to pack small parts to toys, socks, or even large toys or lots of pieces like train sets, Duplo, or dollhouse with parts. The best place to buy the large, XL, and XXL zipper bags is from the dollar store. We also like the 2.5 gallon bags.

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5) Zip Ties – To connect shoes together, items with multiple larger pieces or bags, or poke a hole through your zipper bag (poke hole below the “zipper”) and attach bag to toy with a zip tie rather than tape. Buy zip ties at the Dollar Store or get a large assorted size container at Walmart.

6) Cleaning supplies – Remember to clean your items prior to bringing them to us. Our favorite item for cleaning plastic items is Mr. Clean Magic Erasers…do yourself a favor and buy name brand on this item! It has been our experience that the generic version just crumble very easily. Buy a box of 10 at BJs or just a couple at Walmart. Magic Eraser is great for cleaning scuff marks off items and for cleaning textured plastic items like Little Tikes desks or outdoor playsets.

7) Packing Tape – Use to apply tags to the back of books or videos, seal the top of the zipper bag with toy parts, or put over top of items tagged using safety pins to better secure tag to item. We recommend using Heavy Duty packing tape and you can get a small roll at any department store or office supply store.

8) Plastic Wrap – use this to wrap around wooden puzzles to keep pieces in place

9) Lint remover and sweater “depiller” – We will not accept items with fur or items with “pilling” – a depiller can be bought at Walmart for about $4-5.

10) Miscellaneous supplies – scissors (to cut tags), index cards and a pen or marker (so you can write a note with further information and attach to item), and masking tape.