Labelling School Clothes

It’s that time of the year where many parents in England and Wales (too late if you’re in Scotland, and I don’t know about Northern Ireland) are frantically ordering last minute school uniform and dreading all the sewing and ironing on of labels.

When Mighty-Girl was a baby I bought a set of sew-on labels for nursery, and diligently sewed them on her clothes for about two days before giving up. Two years ago when she was about to start school full-time I bought a set of iron-on labels, which was utterly pointless as I don’t iron any more than I sew. It appeared the only option for me was biro scrawled in labels and I really hate that option because although it is the cheapest, it completely destroys any potential resale value of clothes.

Then someone suggested easy tags, and I wrote a review about them a while back. This year as I was searching for the applicator to change tags on two school girls’ clothes (and failing to find it, don’t forget I live in utter chaos) I also knew I needed to buy more backs and saw that there’s now a new system for sale: ‘crocodile’ instead of ‘dolphin’.

I cheekily asked to test the new system and they very kindly have posted some to me, which I’ll write a proper review and compare once I’ve received. But because I work last minute, by the time I write that review the new term will have started and at the moment it’s not too late to buy the tags so I want to tell you about them.

I’ve used the dolphin system for two years and the tags look as good as new. They really are so simple to attach and remove, are completely unobtrusive (they probably won’t work for children with sensory processing issues who don’t even like labels, but then nothing would…) and don’t come off no matter how many trees climbed, rugby tackles made or washing machine cycles done. I wouldn’t use anything else now.

There is only one thing that may come as a sticking point, and that’s the starting price. It costs about £19.95 for 25 tags+backs and an applicator (crocodile system), or £14.95 for 25 tags+backs alone. This may seem huge but you only need one set of labels per child, and one applicator per family, for an entire school career. The only thing that will need replacing are the backs.

For us, 25 tags are enough for an entire school year. That will label:
5 polo shirts
5 winter dresses or trousers
5 summer dresses or shorts
3 sweaters / jumpers / cardigans
1 jogging trousers for PE
1 shorts for PE
1 polo top for PE
1 PE sweatshirt
1 coat
1 pair waterproof trousers
1 other item

I even managed to label a pair of plimsoles with them, and have used them on pencil cases and school bags, plus they’d work on swimming costumes and towels. The number of tags you need will depend but for the average primary school, 25 is probably enough.

After that, the only thing you need to buy is replacement backs when a child moves up a clothes size. These are £7.95 for 50 (which should cover two years, or £4.95 for 25).

In comparison, iron-on and sew-on labels appear to be much cheaper. But sew-on labels involve sewing (looking for the needle and thread every year), and fray so will wear out, and can tear out of clothes. Iron-on labels wash out regularly, and fade quickly. It’s unlikely an iron-on label will last an entire year, and definitely cannot be re-used. Plus thin labels are even easier to lose!

For me the extra expense is more than worth it. Sewing and ironing are not my forte and the thought of having to spend hours labelling clothes every term makes me feel quite ill. Easy tags are so quick, easy and fun that children will fight you to can label their own clothes.

I thoroughly recommend budgeting to get easy tags if you can, and this recommendation comes entirely unsolicited. If you order now, they will arrive in time for the start of term. Even if they arrive the day before it’s not a chore to label because it’s so quick.

When I have the crocodile tags I’ll write a proper comparison review and delete this one, but I wanted to get this up in time for the new school year. I am being sent an applicator and one set of tags to review (I paid for a second set on top), but I have not got them yet and I would have written this review regardless.

Why did I get another 25 tags if I think 25 is enough? Well, I really wanted to test the new system to compare. And, um, have you seen how messy my house is? I currently can’t find my applicator and spare tags / backs. Oops. When I find them, I’ll just have more than enough tags for both children for the rest of their lives ;-)

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