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Recently, I interviewed Meredith Sidwell, a devoted wife, mother of two school-aged children, and director of the Rumson School, of Huntington Valley, California. I met Meredith over the phone when she called ID Me Labels about two years ago seeking an effective solution to her growing lost-and-found epidemic. A mountain of unidentifiable and unclaimed clothing, expensive electronics, school gear, sporting equipment, etc. were rapidly accumulating at her school. So, Meredith tasked us to design perfunctory Personalized Name Labels to dramatically reduce or completely eliminate an ever-bulging lost-and-found bin, and to make for much happier parents.
Let’s face it, most of us can relate to losing a valued belonging–a smart phone, iPad, handbag, wallet, backpack, jewelry, toys, you name it–and the sickening realization that it may likely never be returned. One very effective solution involves tagging your personal effects with personalized name labels. My husband’s iTouch was returned three times because he had a name label on it! Most people are honest and will go out of their way to do the right thing.
Because of the I.D. Me solution, Rumson School’s lost-and-found dilemma has been radically reduced. Meredith added, “There has been a tremendous difference in the amount of personal clothing, electronics, and school items that go back to their owners. Prior to I.D. Me Labels, eighty percent of lost items at school were left unclaimed.”
In the following interview, Meredith discusses her position as director of Rumson, and the importance of labeling your childrens’ belongings.
ID Me: Why do you think it’s important to label school items? Meredith: I believe it’s important to label your school items so that your chance of getting that item back increases.
Meredith: I think it really depends on what type, if any, lost-and-found program the school has. If the school has teachers who are trained to look for a name and then return the item to the student then labeling is extremely important. The smaller the school the better chance you have of this happening, such as in a small private school or a day-care/pre-school. In a bigger school this becomes much more difficult for many reasons. A large student body or large campus means loss can happen anywhere, so you have to have full participation from staff and teachers to make a program work like the one I designed for our school. Another important reason to label your stuff is that two people can have the identical item, and labeling eliminates confusion.
ID Me: How many unclaimed items accumulate in your lost-and-found each year?
ID Me: On average, how much do parents spend on back-to-school supplies annually?
Meredith: I’d say several hundred dollars each year, and it varies by grade in the classroom. It ranges from about $40 to $120. I can’t stress enough how important it is to put a name label on all your child’s belongings if possible.
ID Me: Can you name some of the most expensive items that a parent has complained about losing?
Meredith: Once, someone lost a cell phone, and lots of expensive clothes get lost. If there was a label on it, one of our staff members could have easily called and returned it to the owner.
ID Me: What advice would you offer to parents who haven’t committed to labeling?
Meredith: I would say take the time to label your school clothes, jackets, anything worn for layering, lunch boxes, water bottles, food containers, sports equipment, shoes, books etc., using your first initial and last name. Permanent markers don’t work very well because they fade over time, which is why I.D. Me Name Labels are so great. They are highly durable, waterproof, and dishwasher safe.
ID Me: What has been your experience with ID Me Name labels?
Meredith: I’ve had a great experience with your labels. They are super easy to use and I keep them in the kitchen drawer so they’re handy in the morning when I may need them. I find they do great in the washer and dryer so they’re really dependable.
ID Me: Since using ID Me labels have you seen a decrease in lost, unclaimed items?
Meredith: I’ve seen a tremendous decrease in the number of items that get placed in the lost-and-found bins because I think teachers are able to return items themselves.
ID Me: What’s the most common item that students lose?
Meredith: Sweatshirts, lunch boxes, and electronics.
ID Me: Which items should parents label?
Meredith: Everything!!!! Jackets, sweaters, sweatshirts, shorts, button-down shirts, lunch boxes, shoes, shorts, paperback books, text books, pencil bags, purses, thermos products, water bottles, blankets, costumes, stuff worn on pajama day.
ID Me: Should labeling be mandated by schools?
Meredith: Yes, for sure! It’s a simple but an overlooked task that gets forgotten every year.
ID Me: What are the most difficult items to label?
Meredith: Jackets and sweatshirts that have dark care and use tags, and T-shirts with no tags at all. For these items labels are a must. Some items have tiny tags and you can write on or they’re too dark and nothing will show up. That’s why I.D. Me laundry-safe labels are so great!
To view or purchase I.D. Me Labels visit www.idmelabels.com