Clutter Control: How To Label Items for Easy Storage Solutions

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Clutter Control—As part of this clutter control series, we’ll be discussing ways to free yourself from a cluttered home and uncover simple organization tips that you can follow to live in a more organized and functional home. Today’s rule is all about labeling items in your house.

Clutter Control Rule # 12: Label Items.

We're not talking about putting a label just on the kids' gym shorts, although that's a prudent idea. We're talking about labeling things around the house—things that people don't label because they don't think of it or because they think it isn't necessary.

How often have you gone to a storage closet to retrieve something from a cardboard box you had stored there yourself, only to find that there are now six cardboard boxes there and they all look the same? You start by muscling down what you think is the correct box and taking off the tape with which you so carefully sealed it. After you discover that an item isn't in that box, you halfway reseal it with the used tape and start on the next box. Let's say you do eventually find the item you're looking for—it's just that it's forty-five minutes and six boxes later. That's the kind of problem that labeling can avoid.

Label Storage Boxes

Label all storage boxes to avoid the grief outlined above. Get a good marking pen and, at least on cardboard boxes, write on the box itself. Try hard to avoid the label "Miscellaneous." Other examples of labels that may come back to haunt you are "Garage Sale" or "Charity." Even if your label ends up listing everything in the box, doing so is still simpler than looking through your entire collection of boxes.

Usually you can get away with a label such as "Books" or "Summer Clothes"—as long as you don't have more than one box with that same label. Use a label just complete enough so you can tell what's in the box without actually opening it. When you add or remove items from a box, change the label accordingly.

Label Frozen Food

Everything starts to look alike after a few days in the freezer. That's understandable if you wrap items in aluminum foil, of course, but food stored even in plastic wrap turns white and crystalline and becomes disguised quickly enough.

Put a roll of inch-wide masking tape and a pen in a drawer next to the portable food vacuum sealer with bags of your choice. Use a length of the tape to make a label for everything you freeze. Also add the date to the label. If you have more than one package of chicken, you'll know which one to use first.

How do you label items in your home to keep everything organized and easy to find? What types of items do you label?

To follow along in this series, please be sure to check out the previous clutter control tips and tricks:

Debbie Sardone Debbie Sardone is the founder of Cleaning For a Reason which provides free cleaning services to women who are touched by cancer. She also owns a Dallas cleaning service.

Her long-time passion for teaching cleaning and organizational has lead her to continue the legacy of Speed Cleaning and the use of green cleaning products.

She can be followed as @DebbieSardone on Twitter.

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