Why You NEED to Label Your Stuff… And How!

Have you ever spent a weekend organizing a space, only to find it in shambles a week later? Ahhh! Sounds like a nightmare, doesn’t it? I’ll answer that. Yes. As Beyonce once said, “If you liked it, then you shoulda put a [label] on it.” (It was something like that, anyway…)

Organizing your things is just the first step to a tidy home. In order to keep it tidy, you need to something to hold you and your family accountable to the system. This, my friends, is where labels come in.

I am one to have thought that labels were superfluous, or just a little obsessive. Now, however, with a husband and four kids, I see the glory of labels more clearly. Labels are a great way of holding not only you, but everyone else in your home, accountable to systems that you laboriously set up through your organizing efforts. Don’t let your efforts go to waste! Listen to Beyonce, and put a label on every organized system you like!

If you’ve never labeled a thing in your life, no worries. There are so many easy, cheap, and creative ways to label your things that there is literally a label for everyone! (This post contains affiliate links, all opinions are my own!)

The Sharpie Method

My go-to labeling method is using plain ol’ Sharpie on clear Sterilite drawers or bins. When something changes, simply wipe it off with isoproplyl alcohol wipes (or a little on a paper towel) and it’s gone! I will note that if it is something that you use frequently (or where the Sharpie will come in contact with hands frequently), it will likely rub off over time. (Such was the case for my flour and baking bins in my kitchen.) If this is the case, consider an alternative label.

Label Maker

This is another one that I have not yet invested in, but label makers can make labeling a breeze (obviously). You can go nuts with those things and might even accidentally label the dog! When you buy a label maker, you’ll need to also buy and replenish your label-making supplies as you go. There are a lot of ways to use these puppies, so look for designs and supplies that suit your taste. Since they are stickers that cannot be erased, you’ll want to commit to these labels for some time. If you do need to change them, apply heat and carefully remove in order to avoid leaving adhesive residue behind.

Stickers

Have you seen the labels in the office section at Walmart or Target? There are SO many cute options. They have dry-erase, chalkboard, or even waterproof printable labels. Pay attention to the material to ensure it will be suitable for your use. Paper labels are suitable for labeling paper or cardboard, but, obviously, they wouldn’t be a good choice for labeling anything in a kitchen or bathroom where your containers may get dirty or wet. It’s best to go with erasable labels so that you can easily change the label as needed. If you need to remove your sticker labels, simply blow on the label with a hot hairdryer until the sticker comes off easily and without residue. (You’re welcome.)

Vinyl Decals

If you are a crafter, or if you have a weak spot for beautiful things, you may enjoy indulging in a Cricut to create fancy vinyl labels. (I’m drooling just a lil’ right now.) These are super classy and are so customizable! This would be great for a flat plastic, glass, or wood container. Be aware that there are many different types of vinyl (some even suited for fabric!), so do your research to find one that will work well for you.

Hanging Tags

Some surfaces are just not made for sticker labels of any kind. That’s where tags come in! Tags are ideal for fabric or surfaces that are not flat. Cardstock tags come CHEAP and black tags are super cute when paired with a chalkboard marker! Wooden chalkboard tags are great for places where you know the tag won’t get wet, such as a linen or game closet. Or, see below for ideas on DIY-ing your own tags!

DIY Labels

If you’re like me and haven’t invested in some of the above, there is still hope! Buy some cardstock, trace the round part of a cup to form a circle, laminate it, hole-punch it next to the edge, add some string, and write on your new dry-erase label! (If you don’t have a laminator, do it anyway and try carefully “laminating” with packaging tape! It works!) If you want to make sure your writing comes off, use the Sharpie trick above, or a wet erase marker for a semi-permanent label.

Instead of hole-punching your DIY labels, you also can attach them to your plastic or cardboard containers with mounting putty for an easily removable label. We’ve done this with our magazine file labels and it works great (unless you have a curious child who will be in contact with your containers because he or she will pull them off, I promise).

For non-reading children, follow the instructions above, but instead of written or typed words, use a printed or drawn picture of the items. You’ll be amazed to see how even the smallest children can follow your new system if you make it clear enough!

As you can see, there are so many options for label making for everyone. Be creative and find something that works for you!

Happy organizing!

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