If you want to organize your home and keep it organized (and I know you do), I have two words for you. Label everything.
Labeling is one of the simplest, yet most effective organizing tricks. Why? Because it creates a visual cue to put things where they belong. Start labeling and watch as things practically put themselves away!
There are other benefits of labeling as well.
Years ago, I rented a home that had a linen closet and in that linen closet, all the shelves were labeled: queen sheets – fitted, queen sheets – flat, pillowcases, etc. You might prefer to label by family member names.
Either way, family members won’t be able to get away with the old “But I don’t know where stuff goes” excuse when you ask for help putting away or retrieving clean linens.
Label shelves in your pantry and you’ll find it easier to maintain an organized pantry – and maybe get some help putting away groceries as well. Simply sort pantry items by type such as baking, cereals, snacks, canned goods, and grains. Create zones in your pantry for these categories and then label the shelves accordingly.
When I was a kid, I loved my Dymo Embossing Label Maker. Remember those? You can still get them! But my favorite labelmaker today is my Brother P-Touch Labeler, a very handy and inexpensive tool that I use often. In the photo at the left, you can see how I labeled some plastic bins in one of the pantry areas in our motorhome. (This way, if I ever start losing my mind, at least I can still find the snacks.)
One of my dreaded tasks used to be creating file folder labels. I don’t know about you, but it seems that as soon as I label a file folder, I wish I had called it something different. Making matters worse, I also re-organize my filing system periodically to meet my ever-changing needs. (Yeah, I know. It’s a sickness…I’m an organizing addict.)
I finally committed awhile back to using just hanging files folders – not interior file folders. I was pretty psyched when I discovered a way to quickly and easily label my files with dry-erase tabs made specially for hanging files. I love, love, love Filertek Hanging File Dry-Erase Reusable Tabs and really wish I had invented them. They come with a dry-erase pen that you use to write on the plastic tab. If you want to change the label at any time, simply erase it. If you’re a perfectionist like me, these filing tabs might be just what you needed to finally set up a new filing system.
Of course, you can just use a black felt tip marker to label boxes or plastic bins and do the same to label folders. But I prefer to have a labeling system that is not so permanent.
Oh, the joys of labeling! Who knew a person could get so excited about labels?
At the annual conference of the National Association of Professional Organizers this past spring, I picked up a sample pack of identa-label Reusable Label Holders. These label holders stick to all sorts of materials including bins, baskets, boxes, and freezer containers and can be moved or even removed to another container. They come with paper label inserts for quick and easy labeling. Just grab a marker or pen. Or you can download their free printer templates. I am using them to label bins for holiday decorations, photos, and beach/pool stuff that we have stored in the “basement” of our motorhome.
If you’ve got kids, you’re going to love this idea – label their backpacks, lunch boxes, and anything else they are likely to lose. Label their clothing, too, especially jackets, hats and boots. With Mabel’s Labels, you can create personalized labels for just about anything. They even have labels that wash away for things like potluck dishes, leftover containers, and canning jars. Don’t forget to create a label for your eyeglass cases, umbrellas, and anything else that could get accidentally left behind.
Got any favorite stories about how labeling has saved you time – or saved the day? Do tell!
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