For my first ever blog post (eek!) I thought I’d start off with something that most organizers are obsessed with…labeling!
A few years ago, a family member walked into my closet and asked, “Where do you keep your small bags and wallets?” I was about to point out to him that they were obviously located in the box that was clearly labeled “Small Bags and Wallets,” when I looked at his face and realized he was making fun of me and my obsessive labeling.
Yes, I might go a little overboard with labeling sometimes, but it does serve a greater purpose than simply making things look neat and pretty. When we start organizing we usually assign a specific purpose to each drawer or cabinet, but over time we start to get lazy, and somehow, your missing phone charger mysteriously turns up in your sock drawer. When you have a label on the container, you are more likely to stop and think, “Does my phone charger belong in a drawer that says socks?” as opposed to simply throwing it in the first open drawer because you need to get it off of the floor.
That being said, this isn’t really going to be a post about why it’s important to label things, but rather, different ideas about how to use labels creatively. (Look for another post about what to label and when).
The Label Maker
Perhaps the first thing you thought of when you read the title of this post, the ever-popular label maker is a long time favorite among obsessive organizers. It is probably the least creative/original option, but nothing beats the label maker for a clean and professional look.
It can create multiple identical labels for a clean, uniform look
You can customize the font and add fun symbols
Pretty labels for those who do not consider themselves to be “artistically inclined”
The label maker itself can be pricey. I have the DYMO LetraTag, but there are tons of options out there! (see what Staples has to offer)
The refill tape can also be pricey (and can run out pretty quickly)
An example of the labels I made for my curriculum binders.
White Office Labels
A personal favorite of mine, I use these white sticker labels constantly in my classroom. They are available in a variety of sizes and shapes and can be found at any office supply store (and usually in the office supply section of Target, grocery stores, and pharmacies).
Great for file folders.
Similar to office labels, some company make sticker labels with creative designs. Teacher supply stores, such as Lakeshore Learning, carry tons of great options, including the colorful stickers I use on my classroom storage bins.
Washi tape (a paper-based crafting tape) has taken the Internet by storm, and for good reason. Washi tape comes in a million different colors and patterns and can be used in a million different ways, like trimming, decorating, scrapbooking, and of course, labeling! Scotch has also jumped on the craft tape bandwagon with their patterned masking tapes (below).
A fun, colorful alternative to white sticker labels
Can cut strips as long or as short as you want
Can color code and color-coordinate (!!)
Certain brands of tape can get a little pricey
Some tapes have a waxy coating that can be difficult to write on
Some tapes don’t adhere well to various surfaces
Click here to see the many varieties of craft tape sold at Michael's Arts and Crafts.
Plain yellow Scotch Expressions tape on plastic drawers in my closet.
If you are looking for something a little more “polished,” gift tags are a great alternative. I found these rustic chalkboard labels that I found at Target, and I used them to label baskets in my living room. I bought a permanent chalk marker (gives the appearance of chalk, but won’t rub off), and used twine string to secure the label to the basket.
*UPDATE: I recently visited a family friend who just moved into a beautiful new home. I was so surprised (and flattered) to see that she had read this post and used the chalkboard tag idea in her new closet! Check out the picture of her awesome organization below:
Michael’s Arts and Crafts store is also a great place to find gift tags. I got a large pack of plain white labels, which are versatile and easy to customize. My bedroom has a color scheme of navy, white, yellow, and gray, so I wanted my labels to coordinate with those colors. I used gray marker on the white labels and tied them to the bins using yellow yarn.
Of course, these are only a few of the many different options available for label-lovers. I focused this post mainly on cheap and DIY options (with the exception of the label maker), but check out my Pinterest board to see other ideas!