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80 of the Best Tips for Working Moms

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Whether you are a new mom just heading back to the work force or a mom that has been back for years, you probably have found that it’s difficult to balance your work and home life. Finding ways to fit in all the things you have to do while still being able to enjoy all the things you want to do isn’t easy. However, there are ways you can reduce the time you spend tackling things on your to-do list. With the help of these 80 blogs you’ll find you have more time during the evenings, you’re better dressed during the day and you and your family are happy and healthy.

Meal Preparation

After a long day at work the last thing you probably want to do is stand over a hot stove and fix dinner, especially on the nights that one or more people in the house have evening activities to attend. While ordering a pizza or swinging through the drive-thru may seem like the most efficient way to get everyone fed, you can actually save both time and money by fixing up a quick meal at home. These 10 blogs are stocked full of ideas for quick, easy, healthy dinners that you can get on the table in no time on even the craziest of nights.

Choosing Childcare

Deciding who is going to take care of your child is not something you should take lightly. After all, whoever you decide on will be spending eight to 10 hours a day with your child. Before making a decision, consider your unique family situation and what kind of childcare would work best for you. If you want your child to spend his days with kids his age, daycare might be the best option. However, if you want your child to have one-on-one attention throughout the day, you might consider hiring a nanny. Take a look at these 10 blogs for tips on what to look for as you investigate different childcare options.

Self-Care

When it comes to priorities, moms often find that their own hover somewhere near the bottom of the list. However, while you’re busy taking care of everyone else, who’s taking care of you? It’s important to exercise some self-care as you go through your days, and these 10 blogs can help you find the time to take care of yourself. You’ll find that once you start making time for you, you’re able to better take care of everyone else.

Breastfeeding Tips

Choosing to continue breastfeeding once you go back to work is something that is both admirable and difficult to accomplish. Before you go on maternity leave, talk to your Human Resources department to find out the logistics of pumping at work. You’ll want to plan ahead in the weeks prior to going back to work by shifting the baby’s feeding schedule to one that will match the times you are able to pump. For more tips on breastfeeding after going back to work, read these 10 blogs.

Versatile Wardrobe

You’ll likely notice that your body has gone through some changes after giving birth. Even after you’ve lost the baby weight, it’s unlikely that your body will go back to being exactly the same as it was pre-baby. To compensate for this, you may find you need a new wardrobe. For ideas on how to put together a kid-friendly wardrobe, check out these 10 blog posts.

Travel Tips

Not every working mom has to travel for work, but many do from time to time. Being separated from your child for even a few days can be emotionally stressful for you and your child. There are ways to prepare both you and your child for a trip, though, even if you are still breastfeeding. If your kids are older, involve them in the planning and packing for the trip. Plan something fun for them to do while you’re away. These 10 blogs will share more tips on how to travel for work while the kids stay home.

Organization

Being organized can help you streamline your life, whether you are a working mom or not. However, for working moms, organization can help you get everything done and reduce the stress on everyone. Utilize the many apps that are available for your smart phone to help keep track of appointments and other commitments. Do as much preparation as you can the night before to reduce morning stress. Find these and other organizational ideas for working moms in the following 10 blogs.

Housework

Face it; most people don’t relish the idea of doing housework. It’s one of those necessary evils of life. The trick is to make it as painless as possible for all involved. Find ways to save time and still get everything done by reading through the tips on these 10 blogs.

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Dividing and Conquering: How to Delegate Household Chores

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If cleaning the windows, washing the laundry and scrubbing the floors are getting in the way of your family bonding time, there’s no need to worry. It is possible to get your home whipped into shape while spending quality time with your children. Household responsibilities should not be isolated to mom, dad or the nanny. Instead, get your children involved to promote responsibility and development, says Shannon Battle, a licensed therapist and CEO for Family Services of America in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

“When you have children in the house, a mother or father should not have to be overwhelmed with minor chores,” says Battle. “Kids can learn to pick up behind themselves.”

With a joint effort and cooperation from the kids, the nanny and both parents, your family will be all smiles and your home will be sparkling clean.

Create Incentives

In order to obtain a clean home and a happy household, consider motivating family members with chore charts. Age-appropriate charts with stickers, privileges or points for allowance can help show your children that they must earn rewards by chipping in and helping out when needed.

Designate a portion of the chart for daily tasks, such as feeding pets, making beds and keeping rooms picked up. The primary portion of the chart should include minor tasks that need to be completed on a regular basis, such as taking out the trash, dusting the furniture and washing laundry.

Battle says she uses star charts for her younger children, and the stars they receive can accumulate to earn allowances. If they complete extra tasks, they have the ability to earn additional allowance.

“On top of having an allowance, they are required to put money into a savings account in which I manage for them,” she says. “The savings incentive is that by the end of the year, the child that saved the most money, mom and dad will double that money to promote financial wisdom for my six, nine and 10-year old.”

 Stray from Gender Specific Roles

Many times stereotypes influence a resistance to household chores. If you have subscribed to the belief that men take out the trash and women cook the meals, you could be turning your family off to the idea of keeping the home and family intact.

“As the wife and mother of five children, I used to believe that chores were assigned gender specific roles relative to physical demands,” says Battle. “In this day and age, it’s no longer realistic.”

Instead of assigning and delegating duties based on gender, Battle recommends discussing how all members of the family are capable of doing the most chores. “Whoever sees that something needs to be done and if they have the capability of doing it, then that should be their responsibility,” says Battle.

Ask for Preferences

No one likes being told what to do, especially adolescents who are trying to establish their own identity and freedom. Instead of taking an authoritative approach when delegating household chores, ask for preferences from everyone in the home. Providing choices is key, says Yaelle Shaphir, mother of three and licensed acupuncturist in Los Angeles, Calif.

“It is not a question of are you going to help out or not, but rather how,” she says. When it’s time for chores, use phrases, such as “do you want to dust the furniture or sort the clutter under your bed?”

When children are given a choice, they feel more invested in both the activity and the outcome. In other words, they feel more in control and may put forth more effort to complete the chores.

Make it Fun

“What is most important is the attitude in which the parent introduces the concept of a shared household,” says Shaphir. “Make it fun and it will get done.”

Try energizing cleaning day with these activities:

  • Shake It: Turn on dance music to motivate everyone to shake their groove thing while folding laundry or dusting the furniture.
  • Squirt and Spray: Toddlers will feel empowered and overjoyed to be responsible for their very own spray bottle. Add a little water and vinegar to a bottle and allow your child to spray down counter tops and then wipe it away on his own.
  • Race to Clean: If your children are dreading cleaning tasks, make it a game. Set the timer and see who can clean up their room the fastest or rake the leaves in the yard.

Even if you don’t have a magic wand or a full-time house cleaner on the job, there are still ample ways to enroll all the members of the household – no matter what age – to participate in weekly household duties. Make it fun, provide choices and get your home in tip-top shape.

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70 Tips for Getting Your Home Organized before the Holidays

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There’s nothing like hosting a holiday get together to get you motivated to clean and organize your home. For some people, this will mean hiring a sitter so they can get the cleaning and organizing done. With your children in the hands of a capable caregiver, you can turn your focus onto getting holiday ready. For 70 great tips on getting your home organized for the holidays, whether you need an additional helping hand or not, read on.

Cleaning Checklist for Parties

Cleaning for parties is a little different than typical daily surface cleaning. To get your home squeaky clean and festive, you’ll need to start cleaning about a week before the party. Try to do a little deep cleaning every day to avoid getting overwhelmed. You’ll also want to use checklists to keep track of what you’ve done and what you still need to do. Check out these 10 blogs to get some cleaning ideas and downloadable checklists.

Getting Junk Mail and Paperwork under Control

What do you see when you look at the surfaces in your home? If the answer is stacks of paper, you’re not alone. You are in luck though, because eliminating paper clutter is relatively simple to do. Start by going through each stack of paper in your home and sort it into piles. If it’s junk mail, throw it out. Now, decide which school papers you want to save and which need to go. Store the ones that you are saving in a designated box for each child. Once you do that you should be seeing a light at the end of the paper clutter tunnel. Go on to file the rest into appropriate files. These 10 blogs will help you determine how to file, what you need to hang on to and what needs to be shredded.

Organize Your DIY Projects

Do enjoy the occasional DIY project? The holidays tend to bring out the crafty, creative side of people, whether it’s baking a batch of cookies or fixing the broken latch in the bathroom. If you are expecting guests this holiday season, you may want to do a few tasks around the house that you have been putting off, like touching up the paint or fixing a squeaky door. Start a list of the things you need to do and organize a repair kit for touch-ups around the house. You can also organize your decorations to make them simpler to find when it’s time to decorate. For tips on organizing your projects, take a look at these 10 blog posts.

Create a Holiday Task List

Do you love to look at creative ideas on Pinterest? Have you got big plans for this holiday season? If you answered yes, it’s time to create a task list of everything you’d like to accomplish during the holidays. The sooner you can get started on your list the better. Take this opportunity to cross a few things off your list, too. Removing a few items from your To Do list will reduce your stress and hopefully allow you to enjoy the holidays more. Find some sample checklists on these 10 blogs to help you get started.

Decluttering Tips

Clutter makes everything more difficult to manage, and often is comprised of things you don’t need or want. Decluttering is different from organizing because once you remove clutter you can organize what is left. What better time to clear out the clutter than before the holidays? These blogs will help you get started decluttering your home.

Create a Command Center

By creating a command center in your home you will have a central space to keep important information. There’s always a calendar at the command center, and often storage baskets to contain papers and mail. You may also like to keep your coupons at the command center or your menu planning supplies. This spot should serve a purpose for you and your family. If you can’t visualize what a command center should look like, take a look at these 10 blogs.        

Get Organized for Guests

Are you expecting guests this holiday season? One idea to help you always be prepared is to create a basket full of fresh linens and other items guests can use that you can grab at moment’s notice. You can also reduce the stress of unexpected guests by making up some appetizers, cookies or meals ahead of time and storing them in the freezer. For more ideas on how to prepare for guests read these blogs.

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10 Chemicals to Be Cautious of When Cleaning Around Kids

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Keeping your house spotless, shining and most of all, clean, with kids around can be a challenge. Somehow, a small handprint appears before you are even finished cleaning the windows. Even with gallant efforts to keep your abode sparkling, know that there can be dangers lurking if you are using products and chemicals that are harmful to your children.

Know which chemicals to avoid when cleaning areas in your home that little hands and mouths tread frequently.

1. Triclosan

The past 10 years or so have seen an explosion in the prevalence of household anti-microbial products, previously used only in clinical and industrial settings, according to Joe Walsh, founder of Green Clean Maine in Portland. As the most common consumer anti-bacterial agent, triclosan containing benzalkonium cloride may be leading to strains of bacteria that are resistant both to disinfectants and prescription antibiotics.

“Before you reach for the bottle of anti-bacterial hand soap or kitchen counter cleaner, consider plain old soap and water as an alternative,” says Walsh. “It’s often cheaper and is all you need to get the job done.”

2. Benzalkonium Chloride

Also found in many anti-bacterial products, benzalkonium chloride offers many of the same risks as triclosan. Although antibacterial products promote clean health, a growing chorus of researchers and medical professionals are raising concerns about the health effects of the widespread use of anti-microbial agents in the home, says Walsh.

“The idea is that highly disinfected household environments prevent children from developing strong immune systems early in life,” says Walsh. “Without the challenge of bacteria exposure, the immune system gets lazy and underdeveloped.”

3. Alkylphenol Ethoxylates

Chemicals that end in “-phenolethoxylate” are commonly used in surfactants, such as those found in all-purpose cleaners. “They are estrogen mimickers, which makes them particularly harmful to women and especially children,” says Walsh. “They do not break down in the environment, but persist and bioacumulate, meaning they build up in human tissue over time.”

The most reliable way to find out if your household cleaning products have this family of chemicals is to look the product up in the U.S. Department Health and Human Services’ National Household Products Database.

4. Chlorine Bleach

Danger is lurking when a child is exposed to chlorine bleach. Keeping bleach around increases the risk of a child ingesting it, spilling it or touching a surface that has been cleaned with bleach. In addition to being highly toxic on its own, chlorine bleach also forms carcinogenic compounds, including chloroform, when it mixes with organic materials in the general environment, says Walsh.

Luckily, there are great alternatives to bleach that can whiten without the dangerous side-effects. Walsh suggests non-chlorine bleach, such as hydrogen peroxide, or oxygen bleaches and sodium percaronate. “The use of the detergent booster, washing soda, will also help to keep clothes bright and white without bleach,” says Walsh.

5. Ammonia

Although ammonia may make your glass surfaces shine, the harmful chemical is not advised as kid-friendly. “Ammonia can be toxic to the skin, eyes and lungs and like bleach, it’s far too easy to mix it with other things unknowingly,” says Walsh. Many household cleaners contain ammonia, but as a rule, it is in the traditional glass bottle cleaners, as well as metal and oven cleaners.

6. VOCs

This type of chemical includes ethylene glycol, propylene glycol, butyl cellusolve and anything under the heading of petroleum distillates. According to Walsh, the acute effects of exposure are eye, skin and mucus membrane irritation. The long-term risks include nervous system damage and liver, blood, lung and kidney damage.

“Daily VOC exposure in children has been directly linked to asthma, and in mothers has been directly linked to diarrhea, earaches and even depression,” says Walsh. To avoid VOCs, look for products that contain a warning label that the product is “combustible” or “flammable.” Many products with VOCs also offer precautionary statements that the product can cause respiratory irritation or recommend using in a well-ventilated area.

7. Perchlorethylene

While trying to keep your carpets clean, avoid products with perchlorethylene, a common agent in carpet and upholstery shampoos. This carcinogen against animals is claimed to be harmful for the liver, kidneys and nervous system, according to Kris Koenig, CEO of Natura Clean, a residential and commercial cleaning company in Middleton, Wisconsin.

According to Koenig, the effects of exposure to perchlorethylene can include dizziness, fatigue, headaches and irritation to skin, eyes, nose and throat.

8. Nitrobenzene

Your children are frequent loungers on the couch, chairs and furniture within the home. Ensure they are not at risk while watching their favorite TV show by avoiding use of nitrobenzene, a common chemical found in furniture and floor polishes. “Small amounts can cause minor skin irritation,” says Koenig, “but regular exposure to high concentrations can reduce the blood’s ability to carry oxygen.”

9. Formaldehyde

Mold and mildew poses risk for your family as it is, but disinfectants with formaldehyde are just as harmful, says Koenig. Formaldehyde is used as a disinfectant in mold and mildew removers and some dishwashing liquid. Check your labels to ensure that you are not posing more risk when cleaning.

Exposure to high doses of this chemical can affect the mucous membranes, with some people developing sensitivity and triggers to asthma attacks, says Koenig.

10. Phosphates

Even though you may think you are providing a sanitary and clean environment for your children when tossing dirty laundry into the washer, there may be harmful chemicals that will pose a risk for the family’s health. Phosphates, commonly found in laundry and dishwashing detergents, are also fertilizers, which means that they can cause rapid algae growth after washed away into rivers and lakes, says Koenig. Ensure you are keeping your household healthy and the environment safe by straying from products with these chemicals.

Alternatives

If you’re concerned that all of your household cleaning products pose risks to your children, there are plenty of eco-friendly alternatives to keep your home sparkling clean. According to Leslie Reichert, cleaning expert and author of “The Joy of Green Cleaning,” you should only use items you could eat when cleaning around children.

“You can do a fabulous job cleaning with things like white vinegar, baking soda, salt and lemon juice,” she says. “If you feel like you have to disinfect things, you can use hydrogen peroxide (which is safe enough to use as a mouth wash) or conquer stains on sinks and counters with toothpaste. We really don’t need to use any toxic chemicals around our children.”

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New Mom’s Guide to Buying a Crib

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As you anxiously await the arrival of your baby, it is common to immerse yourself in decorating the baby’s room and purchasing diapers, bottles and pink or blue booties, but in the midst of your planning one of the biggest responsibilities you have as a parent is purchasing a crib.

Adhering to the revised federal guidelines about cribs, considering the comfort and well-being of your child and taking your personal preferences into consideration makes it a challenge to select the perfect crib for your baby. New parents need to consider price, style, safety and versatility when shopping.

Safety First

First and foremost, safety is a key factor when shopping for a new crib. Before venturing to the store or shopping online, learn about the federal safety standards for cribs to ensure you will be purchasing a crib that is in compliance. According to Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2011 federal regulations banned drop-side rails and mandated that all cribs have slats and hardware that are more durable for mattress support. It’s essential when buying a used crib that you contact the manufacturer to make sure the crib complies with 16 CFR 1219 full-size crib standards.

Standard vs. Convertible

Determining the flexibility and use of your baby’s crib is also a factor when buying a bed for your expected arrival. Many parents are opting for a convertible option that allows you to convert from a standard crib to a toddler or day bed as your child grows. Many convertible cribs also are equipped to convert into a full-size bed complete with a headboard. Some styles also feature built-in changing tables, adjustable mattress heights or bottom drawers.

When thinking long-term, a convertible crib may be a wise investment, but many parents must also think about the style they prefer. Do you plan to stick with the same type of wood or bedroom outfit style well into your son or daughter’s teen years? If so, a convertible bed may be the best choice. If you like to change up your style or furniture often, think standard.

Assembly

As you pick out colors, paint the baby’s room and pack dressers with pink or blue onesies, think about the time you want to invest in assembling a crib. To ensure safety, it may be worth the cost to pay delivery personnel to assemble the crib or invite a handy friend over to help. Regardless of how the crib is assembled, put instructions in a safe place so you know how to adjust the mattress, convert to a toddler bed or disassemble when necessary.

Sleep Safety Tips

Although you may breathe a sigh of relief once the crib is in place, it’s important to be prepared and on your toes about how a baby should sleep in the crib. According to Hiren Muzumdar, attending physician at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in New York, your baby’s crib should have a firm mattress with smooth, flat sheets. Avoid putting pillows or loose sheets on the bed, as these can pose a safety risk for babies, he says.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Back to Sleep campaign recommends the following tips to keep your baby safe and sound, while also reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

  • Use a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress covered by a fitted sheet
  • Do not put pillows, blankets, crib bumpers or toys in your baby’s crib
  • Keep loose objects and loose bedding out of your child’s crib
  • Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night
  • Dress your baby in light clothing, such as a one-piece sleeper – do not use a blanket
  • Make sure nothing covers the baby’s head

It’s also important to adjust the crib mattress as your child grows, according to Dr. Katherine O’Connor, attending pediatrician at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in New York. “Babies should be placed on their backs in a crib with the mattress at the right height for their skill level,” she says. “Once they can roll, the mattress is lowered and then lowered again when they can pull to stand.”

Even though it takes time and effort to find, assemble and care for the best crib, the reward of watching your baby sleep comfortably and safely will be well worth it.

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15 Blogs with Instructions for Creating a Spooktacular Yard

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Halloween is one of the few times during the year that you can really go crazy with yard decorations. Your yard essentially becomes a stage where you can tell a story, whether it’s a cemetery, the Headless Horseman or some other spooky tale. However, since it’s only one day out of the year, you probably don’t want to spend a fortune on decorations. These 15 blogs are packed with outdoor decorating ideas you can use to create a spooktacular Halloween set up, and even supply you with some budget-friendly ideas for making your own props. Happy spooking!

Budget-Friendly

The tutorials in these five blogs show different ways you can inexpensively make your own spooky props instead of spending a fortune at the Halloween store. You can make everything from faux dead bodies to grave markers to flying bats, and all without breaking the bank!

Front Yard Fun

The front yard is the area that welcomes your party guests or trick-or-treaters on Halloween. Create a slightly creepy front yard or a truly frightening one using some of the ideas in these five blog posts. Whether you want to tackle a big Halloween project, like a life-size Halloween tree, or something less involved like headstones, you’ll find the instructions to help here.

Backyard Party Décor

Are you having a Halloween party this year? If so, you’ll need to dress up the inside and the outside of your home. Depending on the size of your yard, you may want to scale up your decorating or scale it down for a more intimate gathering. The ideas in these five blogs will help you set the mood for a spooktacular party.

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21 Blogs Featuring the Best Tips for Decorating Your Outdoor Living Areas

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Outdoor living spaces allow you to expand your home’s square footage and enjoy the outdoors at the same time. Spending time on your front porch visiting with neighbors used to be the norm, but as people’s lives have gotten busier that practice has fallen by the wayside. There has been a resurgence for the simpler things in life in recent years, though, and outdoor living spaces have been making a comeback. However, instead of relaxing on a porch swing, people are creating entire living room spaces outdoors.  In these 21 blogs you’ll find inspiration for decorating any of your outdoor living spaces.

Back Patio

The patio is often an extension of the house, and this is especially true when you try some of these tips for dressing up your patio with furniture and an area rug. Make sure that everything you take outside is weather resistant. Consider buying neutral colors for the furniture and adding pops of color with accent pillows and accessories. Take a look at these seven blogs for more inspiration.

Front Porch

Creating a cozy sitting area on your porch can prove to be a challenge because it’s in the front of your home. You can give the area privacy by screening off the ends of the porch with lattice and climbing plants. If your porch is covered, the items you place out there will be a bit more sheltered than if they were sitting out in the open, so you may have a few more design options there as well. Take a look at more design ideas in these seven blogs.

Living Wall

You can create a living wall anywhere in your yard. If you need a privacy fence, you can use a living wall instead. Unlike a board fence, however, the living wall takes a while to mature. Living walls can help define spaces in the yard and make the area seem cozier. To see photos of living walls and examples of how they can be used, check out these seven blogs.

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15 Blogs with the Best Tips for Organizing Your Bookshelves

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Bookshelves have a knack for attracting more than just books, and over time you may find that your bookshelves are overflowing with stuff and in need of a good cleaning. To begin your bookshelf organization project, clear off anything and everything that’s accumulated on the shelves and give the whole structure a thorough cleaning. Then, decide what you want to put back onto the shelves and what you’re ready to get rid of. As you restock the shelves, try mixing it up by using both decorative items and books. These 15 blogs explain options for each step of the organization process and offer up inspiration with examples of well-organized bookshelves.

Whittling Your Book Collection

To begin your project, gather all of the books in your house and put them in a central location. Bring in two boxes to separate books into; use one for donations and one for recycling. Try to only keep and organize your favorite books. If you find that you have books that you want to keep for sentimental reasons, you may want a third box that you can fill and keep in storage. These five blogs will help you determine which books will stay and which will go.

Adding Decorative Elements

A well styled bookshelf has open spaces and is free from clutter. It’s important to balance the look of the shelves, and you can do so by stacking the books on the left side of the shelf in one area and the right side of the shelf in another area. You will want to stand some books up and lay other books down to add interest to your bookshelf. Examples of these and other ideas can be found in these five blogs entries.

Organizing Your Shelves

How you organize the books in your bookcase will be dictated by how you want to find your books. You can organize them by genre or in alphabetical order. Some people organize their books by size or color. The important thing is that you are able to find the book you are looking for with ease while still having the bookshelf look neat and organized. The various methods of organizing books are described in these five blogs.

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Clothes that Reveal You’re From the ‘80s

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It’s often been said that fashion is cyclical, which means that every decade or so brings with it a resurgence of interest in the trends and fads of the previous generation. While it doesn’t seem like that long ago that ‘80s fashion was enjoying its own revival, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the ‘90s are coming back in a big way. That means that, once again, the clothes of the first MTV generation are falling out of favor and making those who wear them tend to look dated for a second time. If you have any of these items in your own wardrobe on heavy rotation, you’re probably doing a great job of revealing your age.

  • Parachute Pants – If you owned a pair of parachute pants in the ‘80s, you were simply riding the trend wave with flair. Those same pants in your closet today, however, mark you as a product of the excess generation. Bonus points if you have a matching windbreaker jacket.
  • Acid Washed Jeans – Plenty of denim styles from the glory days of the 1980s have found their way back into the mainstream, but one fad that hasn’t really enjoyed a resurgence is the old-fashioned acid wash. If you’re rocking a pair of acid washed jeans, not only is there a good chance that they sport zippers at the cuffs, but also that you’re still holding on to them from your own glory days.
  • Scrunchies – Back in the day, scrunchies were far more than a simple tool to keep long hair out of the wearer’s face. They were an opportunity to accessorize, doubled as wrist wear and just had to compliment the color scheme of your outfit. These days, you can still find them in the hair product aisle of your local drugstore, but the only people who tend to wear them are those who remember when they first became all the rage.
  • Banana Clips – If your permed hair is pulled back with a frightening contraption called a banana clip, there’s no denying that you’re a product of the ‘80s generation. You’re even more conspicuous as a holdover from those days if you’re pairing the clip with sky-high, heavily hairsprayed bangs.
  • Slogan T-Shirts – From “Frankie says relax” to “choose life,” there was no shortage of gimmicky slogan t-shirts in the 1980s. It’s not enough to still have one of these gems lurking in the back of your closet, though. It needs to be at least two sizes too large and paired with bicycle shorts or tights for full effect.
  • Members Only Jackets – Once upon a time, you were no one if you didn’t belong to the exclusive “members only” club. To be fair, all you had to do to become a member was purchase one of these beauties, but they were the height of fashion for a single, shining moment in time. These days, however, you’re either a hipster wearing ironic thrift store finds or a determined holdover from the ‘80s who refuses to surrender your Members Only cred.
  • Rhinestones – There was such a fever for brightly colored, plastic stones in the ‘80s that there was even a tool designed to allow easy application of these faux gems in the comfort of your own home. A few rhinestones here and there may not be too dated, but if they’re adorning the lapels of your denim jacket, you’re definitely from the ‘80s.
  • Shirt Slides – What was a girl to do when she wanted to be on-trend with huge t-shirts in the ‘80s but still show off her rockin’ bod? Snag a shirt slide, of course! These little contraptions are next to impossible to find now, but there was a time when every shirt as far as the eye could see was bound up with bits of Dayglo plastic.
  • Stirrup Pants – One surefire way to keep your pants tucked securely into your leg warmers while proudly proclaiming your status as a lover of all things ‘80s is to slip on a pair of stirrup pants. Unlike so many other trend elements from the era that have made their way back into circulation, stirrup pants just haven’t come back around as an on-trend style.
  • Leg Warmers – Maybe it was the aerobics craze of the 1980s, or maybe it was just that Olivia Newton-John video. Either way, leg warmers were a must-have item a few decades ago, and just haven’t become cool again since.
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10 Great Things You Can Find at Consignment Shops

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When the seasons change and it’s time to spruce up a wardrobe, most people head to the nearest department store in hopes of scoring a few decent deals on clothing that’s largely overpriced and likely to be out of style by the time the weather changes again, forgetting about the wealth of goods that may be found in a local consignment shop. From vintage steals to impressive deals, consignment shops can be a veritable gold mine when it comes to scoring new and new to you clothes. Before you make a dent in your wallet for a handful of items at a department store, consider this list of amazing things you may find at a consignment shop in your neighborhood.

  • Bargain Prices – In addition to a wide selection of apparel, one of the most common finds at a consignment shop is great prices. You should be able to find amazing deals on clothing that’s gently worn or even new, meaning you’ll be able to score great finds at a fraction of department store prices.
  • Kids’ Clothes – Kids grow so quickly that it seems like no time at all before a brand new garment is hopelessly outgrown. Instead of breaking the bank to completely replace your child’s wardrobe every few months, why not scout out fashionable finds at low prices in local consignment stores? Not only do most shops stock a selection of kid’s clothes, some stores even specialize in threads for the smaller set.
  • Vintage Items – If your fashion sense leans more towards the quirky and creative than the clean cut department store end of the spectrum, consignment stores may be your new best friend. In addition to almost new, on-trend items from the latest season, you may also be able to find classic pieces from years gone by in your local shop.
  • Accessories – The savings don’t stop with clothing at most consignment stores. In fact, many stock a selection of shoes and even jewelry to help you accessorize your latest secondhand find. Just be sure that you thoroughly clean the posts of any earrings you find to ensure good hygiene.
  • Unique Garments – When you walk into a department store or boutique, you’ll find entire racks of the exact same garment. It’s hard to be a trendsetter when you’re wearing the same clothes that everyone else in your neighborhood is buying, but a trip to the consignment shop in your area can turn up a few pieces that no one else will be wearing.
  • Designer Products – There’s a fairly common misconception that the only clothing to be found at consignment shops is off-brand or no label fare, which simply isn’t true. Not only are you likely to find at least a few name brand, designer products at your consignment store, but you may even be able to find shops that specialize in these items.
  • Brand New Items – How many times have you donated a piece of clothing to charity or given something away that still had tags hanging from the sleeve? Not all of the garments at a consignment shop will be used. You may very well find a wide selection of clothing that’s used only in the sense that someone else purchased the item new and let it take up space in their closet for a while.
  • Formal Wear – Shelling out top dollar for formal and special occasion items that you’ll only wear once is not only expensive, it’s also a bit wasteful when you consider the fact that there are probably racks full of great items at your local consignment shop for a fraction of the price.
  • School Uniforms – Some schools supply uniforms for their students, but others set a uniform and expect parents to purchase the items wherever they can find them. That’s where a consignment shop can come in handy. Other kids who attend your kids’ school will have the same dress code, and their parents may very well be sending gently used items to the consignment shop in your neighborhood.
  • Extra Cash – There’s no denying the fact that you can save big bucks by shopping consignment, but what you may not realize is that you can also find a bit of extra cash by selling your own used items. Talk to the management staff at your favorite shop to determine their policies for accepting new garments and you may walk out with a few extra bucks in your wallet.
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