The Cost of Not Labeling


The last step of any project is exciting, it’s the home stretch.  If you’ve ever run a marathon, you know how that last mile feels.  I’ve only ever run a half marathon and know how that last mile feels so imagine a full marathon the last mile feels even greater.  The last step of any […]

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The last step of any project is exciting, it’s the home stretch.  If you’ve ever run a marathon, you know how that last mile feels.  I’ve only ever run a half marathon and know how that last mile feels so imagine a full marathon the last mile feels even greater.  The last step of any organizing project is labeling.  This step is often missed because you just want to be done.  Skipping the last step of labeling will cost you in the long run.  If you are going to do it, do it right.
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I heart labels.  So much that my husband gave me a label maker when we were dating, that’s how I knew he was the one ;). Labels give you a clean, organized look and feel and makes sure things go back to the right places.

What Labeling Is Costing You

There is nothing that pains me more than not being able to find something I know I have or running late because we can’t find something.  As a neurodivergent, we need the labels, they are the roadmap to our success.  Recently, I was running into a situation where I couldn’t find the kitchen scissors, they miraculously kept disappearing.  If you have kids, you understand the struggle.

I decided to take the kitchen scissors and labeled them in bright orange “KITCHEN”.  In the gift wrap organizer, I placed a pair there and labeled them “GIFT WRAP” and guess what?!  They both have been there now for weeks!

Your Time

Time is a gift.  The older you get, the more you realize it.  Wasting time because you can’t find something is beyond frustrating.  On average, Americans spend 2.5 days a year looking for items.  Let’s break that down:
  • 2.5 days = 60 hours
  • Average workweek – 40 hours

Two and a half days a year doesn’t seem like a long time but when you break it down into hours it equates to 60 hours.  A standard workout week is 40 hours.  When you think about a week’s worth of work just LOOKING for something that’s a lot.  Who wants to waste a weeks work of time doing that? Nobody.

Labeling spaces tells your brain it belongs there and the frantic search ends.

Your Money

There are two times of people in this world.  Savers and spenders.  If you are a saver, you’re not saving money because you’re buying what you already have.  If you are a spender, you’re spending more money on the things you already have.
We’ve organized a lot of homes and have come across a number of gift cards, money and items with tags still on them!  I’ve also done it myself where I’ve bought something I already had and going back to the store to return it was too much effort.
If you’re anything like me, you work hard for your money.  The last thing I want to do is not take care of it properly.

Your Sanity

How many times have you known you have something but can’t find it? More than you care to admit.  It’s frustrating and you question your sanity.  There have been times where I’ve changed a label and didn’t re-label it because “I knew what’s in there” when in reality I was guessing. Labeling eliminates guessing.

Where To Start Labeling

There are a handful of areas of your home to label, these are the top areas to label based on usage.


The first place to start labeling is the pantry.  Chances are you grocery shop at least once a week, knowing what to buy and where to put it will make your shopping trips more efficient.



Having a refrigerator without labels is like walking into a dungeon without lights on.  You have no idea where you are going or what is there.  Tossing out food will become a thing of the past when your refrigerator has labels.



Labeling drawer organizers will help keep your drawer organized and things won’t pile up.  Office drawer organizers are a great example.  Add a label on the inside bin toward the top to easily store paper clips, pens, etc.



Kids thrive on order and structure.  Having their clothes labels makes it easier to get ready for school in the morning vs. “Mom I can’t find my shirt!”

If your kids are like mine, they dread putting away clothes.  It’s like asking them to run two marathons with no bathroom break.  When their spaces have labels, it prevents everything from being shoved into one drawer.

Less stress for you and them, a win-win.



Labeling the medicine cabinet gives you easy access.  You can quickly find what is need and when.  Nobody goes to the medicine cabinet to see what they have like the pantry, you go to it when you need it.

Adding labels identifies what you have and what is needed.



Paper still exists and labeling it is the best way to manage it.  It prevents important documents from being lost and eliminates the overwhelm of managing paper.

  • File Folders– This will help you organize papers. Use broad categories so you don’t get confused on where to file certain papers. For example, keep all of the Explanation of Benefits for Insurance in a folder versus creating a folder for each doctor or individual. Your mind will go to the broad category first. Your mind gets over-confused when too many options are involved, keep it simple.
  • Folder Trays– If you work full-time, the chances of you dealing with paper on a day-to-day basis are pretty high.  Using folder trays will keep the papers organized, label them to sort through them quicker.  Some examples would be “To Read” “To Do” “To Send”.  Put the label on the tray where you can easily see it, most paper trays have extra room for a label.
  • Mail– Designate an area for mail.  Label the area for mail to open, to file, and to send.  Keep stamps in the to send area so it’s easier to send mail.
  • Binder Spines or Covers–  Most binders are stored vertically, label them so they are easier to access.  Making the label vertical versus horizontal, this will make it easier to read and allow for more font to be on the label.  You can also dress it up by adding some washi tape to it and then adding a label.
  • Baskets- Baskets are great storage options because they are a bit homier than plastic storage bins.  Most baskets don’t come with labels so you usually have to create your own.  Michaels is a great place to get some string and secure label to add to the basket.


Labeling bins in the playroom will without a doubt save you your sanity.  The amount of toys you accumulate is mind-blowing.  Toys come in many different shapes and sizes along with with a thousand tiny pieces.  Creating a structured system will not only keep the playroom organized, your kids will be able to find their toys and a crisis will be diverted.


Now you know you need to label, how should you do it?  There are three ways to label things:

  1. Label Maker – A machine prints out a label for you based on the text written.
  2. Handwriting – Your handwriting is written directly on the label or the container.
  3. Circut Machine – Another machine that makes customized labels.

The P-Touch Cube Plus is the label maker I recommend.  I held off buying it for quite some time because of the price.  It is one of those purchases that you wished you would’ve made years ago.  I loved this one I had, had it for 10 years!  The biggest difference for me was not having to cut the label tape, it has saved SO much time.  The other thing I love about the P-Touch cube plus is the flexibility of the label size accommodating more sizes.

Whichever label maker you go with, be sure to get a case or make sure it’s stored safely in a container.

Making your own labels with your handwriting or a circut machine will take longer than a standard label maker.  We typically use a label maker on project, occasionally we’ll use my handwriting.

I do not have a cricut machine.  We visited my sister last May and she was adamant on showing me how to use it.  I can see how people really like it, the customization and flexibility is off the charts.  Maybe one day…

Final Thoughts

Labeling is something for the longest time I would skip over because it would take too long.  I have learned the hard way of not having a label, forgetting what was in there, buying unnecessary things, and wasting time searching for things.

When you do something, you want to do it right.  Do it right by adding labels, it will ultimately save you time and money which is something we are all striving to do.


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