I was once quoted in the Washington Post saying: “We don’t want to label our children. But let’s label everything else.” Why? Because labels create the order we crave, and will save you time and effort.
Labeling your belongings streamlines the processes of both finding and storing them. It is much easier to grab a band-aid in an emergency from a box clearly labeled “first aid” than it is rummage through your bathroom cupboard. Additionally, very few people will open a container already labeled “cookies” and store extra gum in there.
We should always choose our words wisely, especially when it comes to labeling. The words we use to label boxes and files should personally resonate with us and our families.
For example, do you use the word “auto,” “car,” “vehicle,” or “Maserati” to describe your ride? Whichever word YOU use is the word you will think of when you’re looking for a file on your car. That word should be on the label you create.
I had a client who HATED paying bills. When I asked him what to call the bills-to-pay file on his desk, he said “pay the *bleep*ing crooks.” So I made a label with those exact words and stuck it on the file. Seeing such salty language in print made him laugh, and the chore went by easier. He still enjoys and uses that file name to this day!
Or label with the words that your children use when labeling their things. I had a client whose son had many army men, football players, and Power Rangers. The mom wanted to separate them (as that made sense to her) but he played with all interchangeably. So we tossed them all in a lidded box and called them “ACTION GUYS” because that was the son’s term for them.
Finally, if you are lucky enough to have legible handwriting you don’t HAVE to use a label maker. You can just get out masking tape and a sharpie marker, although you may find, like me, that uniform label tape labels are most pleasing to the eye.