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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.
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.  

A Dozen New Things Consignors Should Know
A Dozen New Things Consignors Should Know

A Dozen New Things Consignors Should Know

It sure does not feel like our spring consignment season is about to begin with the record setting snow fall we had in the last 24 hours!  Many of you know that I just love the snow…really I do!  Today we dug out to our chicken coop to make sure they had unfrozen water (I forgot I put an egg in my coat pocket and found it running down the leg of my snow pants), shoveled a bit, tried to have a snowball fight and dig a tunnel, made some homemade sticky buns, and now I am taking some time to reflect on our upcoming consignment season and all the new things we are working on!  I would like to just give you a brief overview of the changes for consignors and as the season approaches we will send out more detailed information. 

  • Untitled design (8)NEW QUAKERTOWN LOCATION  We will be hosting our events at the YMCA in Quakertown at 401 Fairview Ave.  Please help us to get this word out!
  • NEW WEBSITE – Check it out!  We think you will love the new look and easy features.
  • CONSIGNOR REGISTRATION FEE – Change in the structure of the fee.  There will now be a $9.50 Registration Fee and a $10 Consignor Fee.  (The $10 Consignor Fee is for unlimited items and will be waived upon completion of your first 2 hour Team Member shift.)
  • CHILDCARE FOR TEAM MEMBERS – Although our insurance prohibits us from allowing our Team Members to have children with them, we are working with both of our facilities that already have daycare.  Watch for details on this low cost option and to sign up.
  • INCREASED BENEFITS FOR TAGGING SERVICE CONSIGNORS  We are going to offer our optional tagging service consignors new seasonal benefits such as storage prior to the event.  Keep an eye out for details and sign up early!
  • ITEM PREPARATION CHANGES – please note the following:
    • We are no longer accepting VHS tapes. 
    • Please do NOT put onesies and sleepers in baggies, hang them on a hanger (you can use one hanger to hang multiple items, check out this video).
    • Crib sets must be 4 or more pieces
  • Minimum pricing is $2 (group items together for a value of $2 or more)
  • CONSIGNOR SORT & PICK-UP – We will now have two separate blocks of time for consignors to sort and pick-up items on Sunday.
  • ITEM ENTRY DEADLINE – Will now be on a Friday night at midnight for both locations (previously it was on a Saturday).
  • FASTER CONSIGNOR PAYMENTS – In order for consignors to receive their funds more quickly and efficiently, commission will now be issued via Paypal.  (A check payment will still be an option, please see policy listed in the Consignor Agreement.) Make you’re your correct email address is showing in your Consignor Portal because it is like your “account number” for Paypal to issue funds.  Check your portal in BOTH locations to verify, you need to change each location separately.
  • NEW TEAM MEMBER PERKS – Level 1 and above will have the $10 Consignor Fee waived (previously this was part of the overall Consignor Registration Fee and never reimbursed).  Level 2 and above will shop the ½ price sale 30 minutes early.
  • DAD’S HELPER SHIFT – Dads will now receive a $15 Lowe’s or Home Depot gift card for helping each 2 hour shift during our set-up and break-down.
  • CONSIGNOR RESTOCK – On Friday evening at each location from 6-7pm we will be allowing registered consignors to add additional non-clothing items.  We will also use this time to accept new consignors who were not able to be registered prior to reaching our maximum number of consignors.  This will add a shopping incentive for those who cannot shop with us until Saturday morning and therefore bring us more customers to help increase your sales!  Watch for details….

We look forward to all the changes our spring season will be blooming with and hope you can share in the excitement!  See you soon.  -Dawn

Working With My Sales Manager When Consigning With The Clothing Tree

( Thanks for this wonderful information to my friend and fellow sale owner:  Elizabeth Renfroe coordinator of Children’s Market at First United Methodist Church in Jacksonville, Alabama. )

  1. Make sure you know how your items need to be prepared, what’s accepted, and what you can’t bring.  Don’t forget to find out how everything needs to be sorted or grouped for drop-off.  There’s nothing worse than putting a lot of work into entering and tagging your items, only to have them rejected.  If you don’t understand something you read, ask your organizer!
  2. Sort your items by size and category and put them into manageable stacks or groups before you start entering items online.  If you put all of your boys’ size six items together, you’ll save time when entering your items.  Within your groups or stacks, separate the items you want to discount and donate.  Those boxes will stay checked or unchecked on the form until you change them.  By entering all of your boys’ size six discounted or donated items at once, you won’t accidentally donate or discount something you wanted to sell for full-price or pick up.  (If you’re donating items, discount them!)
  3. Your consignor homepage or log-in page is important.  Bookmark it in your favorites.  You’ll be able to double-check your consignor agreement, schedule your drop-off appointment, sign up to volunteer, work with your items, check your sales, print donation reports, and change old inventory to active inventory for the upcoming sale.
  4. Take a moment to explore the inventory input choices under Work with Active Inventory, like categories and sizes.  Every sale can customize their category descriptions and size ranges.  You need to select the best descriptions and sizes for the items you are consigning. 
  5. Be logical about your descriptions.  One of the great things about Sale Manager is ability for sales to search active inventory when tags are lost.  If your shirt only has “shirt” in the description on the tag, they won’t be able to find it in the system to sell. Try putting the brand name and item type in the first description line (Old Navy t-shirt), then descriptive words in the second, like blue/green plaid.  Use common terms in your region for your descriptions.  For example, we would look up rain boots, but never think to look for galoshes.  Cute words like jammies won’t help someone trying to find pajamas in the system.
  6. Move leftover items from past sales into your active inventory.  From your consignor homepage, select Work with Consigned Inventory, and then Work with Inactive Inventory.  In that window, check all leftover items that you’ll be bringing to the current sale.  Don’t forget to remove anything that you’ve sold or passed on to someone else since the last sale, too. 
  7. Use Internet Explorer as your browser when printing your tags.  It’s the best browser to print your tags correctly.  You can use other browsers, like Chrome, to enter your items, but always print using Internet Explorer.  Reminder:  Turn off your pop-up blocker.  It’s under Internet Options:  Tools:  Pop-Up Blocker.  If your tags still aren’t opening in a new window, check the bottom of your IE window.  You may see a symbol on the lower right side.  Right-click on it and allow pop-ups on that page.  Either of these steps should resolve an issue if your tags aren’t opening in a new window. 
  8. You can print a few tags at a time or enter all of your items and print your tags at one time.  Make sure you do what is manageable for you, so you don’t get frustrated and quit.  Tagging is just like eating the proverbial elephant.  Do it one bite (or task) at a time.
  9. Align the print cartridge and even consider replacing it before you print your tags.  Print a test tag and make sure it prints clearly, with straight lines and empty space between the bars and lines.  Your barcode should look like this one:  download (3)
  10. When attaching your tags with tape, do not tape over the barcode or use an excessive amount of it to secure the tag.  The barcode needs to be clear and easy for cashiers to access, but not so loose that it will fall off.    One piece at the top and one across the bottom below the barcode should be plenty to keep the tag secure and easy to read.  We have found that our scanners can read through ONE SMOOTH layer of packing tape, you may cover the barcode with one layer if necessary.
Think Spring and Spring Clean

Spring-into-Spring-Cleaning-400x225I love the snow….I know, it’s not a popular opinion!  But it’s finally been above 40 degrees here in PA and the snow is melting.  I can’t say that I’m sad to see my spring flowers starting to peek through the ground.  It’s officially time to think of Spring and Spring Cleaning!  We have some tips for you to help you get organized to consign as you clean out those closets and garages.

As I sort my own items at home I have a system that might prove useful to you.  I get a couple of bins with lids for the clothing. One bin will be labeled “TCT Spring” and the other “TCT Fall” (and while you are labeling go ahead and put your consignor number on the bin and lid just in case you leave it with us by mistake.)

Anything that I have checked for stains or damage that is acceptable according to TCT guidelines for consigning go into the bins.  If it is toys, books, or games, I will wipe or clean it before I put it in the bin.  Other items that I wish to donate or pass to others goes into a trash bag.  This is my visual way of sorting and keeping my piles straight.

As you sort your clothing and jackets from winter remember we do accept light weight long sleeved items and jeans year round at The Clothing Tree.  We also accept unlined hoodies.  These items can be placed in your spring consigning bin for this season.  We also suggest keeping items sorted by size as you pack up your clothing, it will make your item entry into our tagging software go much quicker.  If you want to read other tips about entering your items into our tagging program see this information.

Once your bin is full place a fabric softener sheet in each clothing bin to keep it smelling fresh.  Here is a list of Acceptable Items.

GOT PRINT postcard-4inx6in template with graphics FRONT FINALOutdoor toys are very popular items at a consignment sale!  It is a nice safe way for you to sell your items at top dollar without risk of meeting strangers.  (Have you read some of the terrible news articles lately?  Some even local!)  Some sun fading on these items is acceptable.  Items that are cracked, mildewed, or peeling are not accepted.  Remember to clean the pedals and tires of bikes, the bottoms of outdoor toys, and flip scooters over to see if there are cobwebs or dirt underneath….eeewww!!  Magic Erasers are my favorite item to clean the plastic of all toys, but especially outdoor toys and the type of bumpy plastic they have.  You will be amazed at how much cleaner it gets than just using a scrub brush!  (Do yourself a favor and just buy the brand name…the generic ones seem to fall apart easily.)

To register to consign with The Clothing Tree all you need to do is click here!  New consignors earn up to 70% and Loyal Consignors earn up to 80%.

Making It Easy For Moms To Participate In 2 Locations Each Season

This season The Clothing Tree is excited to announce that for the first time ever, we will be offering discounted consignor registration fees to any consignor who registers for both events at the same time!  If you click here to register NOW for both locations with our Early Bird Discount you will receive the lowest registration fee we have EVER offered in 6 years, just $7.75 per location ($15.50 total or single location of $9.50)!  We have also done a few things to try to make it very simple for the busy mom to take advantage of both of our sale locations.  Let me explain….

The No-Fuss, No-Muss Transfer Service – We will be offering our Transfer Service again this season but even better!  Consignors registered at both locations will be able to pay an additional $20 fee in advance or a $25 fee on location to utilize our full service transfer option.  You will come to the facility of our first sale this season for your drop off appointment AND THAT IS ALL YOU NEED TO DO!  We will take care of collecting your unsold items at the end of the sale and storing them in our UNIT storage container.  We will get them to the second sale location for you.  Here are the Pros and Cons of this service:

Cons – 

1)  You cannot change pricing of items between sales (you will be able to change discount though…read on for details).  Remember to use our Pricing Guide to select the best price for your items and eliminate the added time and cost of ink and paper to re-price and re-tag items.

2)  You MUST use green cardstock for this service (you can buy it on your own or we will sell it at our cost on our website if you want a smaller quantity than a full package).

Pros –

1)   NEW this season!  We will allow those consignors who do NOT wish to discount at our first location to do so.  Simply select the option in the tagging program for “No” to discount.  Then at our first location there will be no discount on your items.  When we have our discount sale at our second location ALL green tags will be offered at discount regardless of the indication on the price tag.  This way you will not need to worry about taking your items home to re-tag just to mark the discount for the second sale!  (The ONLY exception will be that we will NOT automatically discount non-clothing items with a price higher than $20.)

2)  You can still add other items to your inventory in between sales if you chose to do so.  You will only need to schedule a drop off for your newly added items to be inspected, so your appointment time should be less than normal since we will already have your other items.

3)  Save gas money and time!  You will not need to drive to the first location and spend time sorting for your unsold items.  If you are not entering any additional items for the second location you will not have to drive there to bring your items to us….saving that much time and gas should definitely be worth the $20 advanced payment fee we hope!

4)  Make sure you price your items right by using our new Pricing Guide.  Price your items well and again you can enjoy saving yourself extra time and not having to take your items home.  Save ink, paper, and time by pricing right and taking advantage of 2 locations.

5)  Save even MORE gas and time!  Since your items will have been at 2 events, if you have things that remain unsold, we would strongly encourage you to allow them to go to donation.  Chances are that if they go through 2 events (that’s 8 selling days) and are unsold that it may not be a “popular” item any longer, the item maybe a little too worn or faded, or that your pricing was a bit too high.  We can provide a donation receipt for your items and you can use it for tax purposes.  (Please let us know BEFORE the second location if you did not donate items at the first location, but would like to for the second location so that we can update your donation report correctly.)   We are affiliated with multiple local charities that pick up our remaining items.  We try to only use charities that will directly donate items to those families locally who are in need (and not to organizations that resell items).  Take a look at our Giving Back to the Community Page to see some ways we have been doing a bit extra to help the local community.

We hope our consignors find that these benefits will help you to save time, gas, paper, and ink and most importantly provide you TWO opportunities to sell your items all for the time investment that you would normally have for one location.  You put lots of great work into preparing your items and making money for your family…we hope this can help you further.

Reasons To Consign At A Consignment Sale Event

This time of year the weather is nice, we see lots of yard/garage sales popping up and it’s a great place for many moms and consignors to buy or sell items. Below we will highlight some of the reasons why Consigning is the obvious choice vs. Yard Sales or online marketplaces (Craigslist).

11010307_10153020680181760_7302105146743325613_n Exposure of your items to a larger pool of potential customers. Most Consignment events can pull in many more people and potential customers than the average yard sale.

Specific shoppers for your items. People that attend yard sales could be looking for anything, at consignment events for children they are very specific buyers. They are coming to purchase merchandise for their kids/families.

Organization of the sale. A Consignment sale is normally much more organized than having a table of clothing or having a box full of onesies. Everything is organized for people to see properly, which means an easier sale.

Your pricing at a Consignment Event is much higher than at a yard sale. People at Yard Sales are looking for those $1 items, even when an item is new. Consignment events allow you to price your items strategically to get you the best return.

Money, your return is going to be great. Our average consignor earns $300 from one sale.

Many days, vs. 1 or 2 days. A Consignment Sale Event is over many days and is strategically located in an area that is accessible to many. Your home could be off the beaten path for people to get to.

Marketing. Consignment Sale Events takes marketing very seriously and is dedicated to marketing their sale to their customer base. Find a sale that’s been around for a season or two as well, they already have a following.

Safety. Yep, Safety. Safety at a Consignment Sale Event is priority. Meeting someone that you found an item on Craigslist is not very safe. You’re coming to a safe environment at our Consignment Sale Event. For more on this specifically, check out this blog, it breaks it down.

10599429_10153102447121760_327659515176030128_nQuality of Merchandise. Most Consignment Sale Events take pride in the quality of goods they allow in their Sale. The Clothing Tree takes every piece of merchandise and inspects all items for damage, stains etc.

Safety of products. Another Safety issue is RECALLS. The Clothing Tree Consignors check their merchandise against the Recall List.

Variety. At a yard sale the Smith family has two twin boys, so you’re options are going to be boy items and that were specific to the Smith family’s tastes. At a Consignment Sale Event you will have many options and variety of goods. From clothing to outdoor and larger toy/accessory items.

Cost. Especially for those new moms, a one stop shop for you to get what you need at reasonable prices.

If you’re thinking about that Yard Sale this summer to dispose of your unwanted children’s clothing, toys and accessories, this may make you rethink it. The Clothing Tree is already planning our next event. Contact us if you’re interested in selling your items with us. Buyers, if you’re not on our mailing list, please signup to get the latest updates on our up and coming sales.

What is a Children’s Consignment EVENT? Why is it different than a store?

What is a Children’s Consignment EVENT?  Why is it different than a store? 

The craze of seasonal consignment “events” or “sales” has spread from their origin in the southern states to our area.  Savvy families want to know more!   This post gives the top 5 reasons of how an event is different than a store.

  • Seasonal events ONLY – A “Sale” or “Event” does NOT have a regular store.  We only host big events twice per year in the spring and fall.  We are not open for business in between those months.  Spring sales carry spring and summer items; fall sales carry fall and winter items.  So swimsuits would not be accepted in winter and snow pants would not be accepted in spring.
  • Inventory – Our events are big with tons of inventory (25,000+ items) and draw oodles of shoppers who will be happy to buy your consigned items!  Shoppers enjoy the mega selection of clothing, toys, baby gear, games, books, and even furniture.  Shoppers can expect to pay 75-90% LESS than new retail value of items.
  • Commission for consignors – Average consignors will earn about $300 and sell 60-70% of their items, some go-getters are even earning over $1,000!  We issue your check (NOT a shopping credit) within 14 days paying at least 60% of your total sales; Stores usually pay 40-50% and often will not issue you a payment until your account reaches a specific dollar amount or until the end of the season (often 2 months or more).  Many stores pay a lower commission if you request a check instead of taking store credit.
  • Consigning and want to earn more? – Be a Team Member during the event.  Not only will this increase your commission, but you will get to shop before regular consignors and the public.  Shopping first allows you to find top notch items at bottom dollar prices, plus it’s FUN!
  • Preparing Your Items – Consignors need internet access because they prepare and tag their own items for our event.  This allows you to set your own price and control whether you will offer the item at a discount or donate near the end of the event.  We provide information regarding our super easy online the tagging system.  You will enter your items and print your tags from the convenience of your own home computer and apply to your items.  You will be able to go online each day to see what has sold.  (No time to do your own item preparation?  The Clothing Tree offers a Busy Mom’s Tagging Service, additional fees will apply for the tagging service.)

Check out The Clothing Tree – Your Seasonal Consignment Event Specialists offering two locations in Upper Bucks County and the Lehigh Valley.    Earn money, clean out the closets, reclaim the garage…recycling your gently used items help our environment and support your local community by providing a way to lower the cost of raising a family.  See how we are helping you to maximize the value of your gently used children’s items by saving you time and money.