Having a place for everything, every single thing, is not a new idea. But implementing this concept, which is the cornerstone of the hugely popular KonMari method and the fundamental step in having a house that will stay in order, is a major undertaking. Labeling helps me designate a place for each thing — and make sure everything gets back to its place.
Labeling also helps others in my home (husband, house guests) know where and what things are, and most importantly, encourages them to put them back in the right place. I make labels like crazy, usually with a label maker or chalk labels. Here's where and how I use labels at home.
In the kitchen:
- In the pantry, to label my Oxo containers and my bottom-shelf jar lids.
- Above hooks where I hang rags: one each for wiping Counters, Table, and Kids' Hands.
- On the refrigerator shelves: Leftovers, Condiments, Leafy Vegetables, Other Fruits and Vegetables, Sweet Condiments, Savory Condiments, Bread, Eggs, etc.
- To label the contents of small shoebox-sized bins under our bathroom sink. The labels read things like: Travel, Refills, Nails, Summer, Feet, Teeth. (These labels tickle my funny bone, I admit.)
- On the shelves of the linen closet to designate which linens are for which rooms.
- To label the contents of large plastic bins in the attic that contain hand-me-downs for future use, baby items that could get used again, and old school papers. The labels read things like, Girl 3-6 Months, Boy 2 Years Winter, Senior Year Papers, etc. (I'm re-thinking hanging on to some of these things...but at least they are clearly labeled!)
- To label the contents of bins that hold the kids' art supplies: Stickers, Workbooks, Blank Paper, Tools, etc.
To sort laundry:
- The four-section laundry sorter we have in our closet is labeled Lights, Darks, Whites, and Hand (as in hand wash). My poor husband is still (maybe more?) confused.
- You know how you re-fill your travel-size containers with shampoo, conditioner, body-wash, and lotion, really believing that you'll remember what's in what? And then you don't remember and you somehow can't tell what's what from sniffing and you have to empty them all and start over? Yeah. Labeling the containers has saved me from repeating this rigamarole.