Some years ago, I found myself facing down a messy house. Naturally, my first reaction was to grab a cup of coffee and sit down at the computer to peruse organizing websites. I am nothing if not an expert procrastinator! One site I visited that day swore by the use of a label machine. I rushed right out to buy one, which also had the happy effect of delaying the moment I’d actually have to, you know, clean up.
Okay. Maybe the label machine isn’t quite that powerful, but, when used in combination with a trash bag and a goodwill box, it can be a pretty useful little thing.
I use mine to label our books with the grade they are used in our homeschool curriculum. I have them sorted onto their own bookshelves now, but when they are mingled with the rest of the library, it’s easy to pick out the needed books without reading every single spine.
I use it to label the five gallon buckets of bulk grains I keep in my pantry, one on the top and one on the side, so they can be identified from either angle. One wouldn’t want to confuse the cane sugar with the kosher salt!
I use it to organize the contents of my baking cupboard. Shared kitchens get messy when no one else recognizes or cares for your organizing scheme. (I also took the doors off this cupboard so I could spot violations of order right away!)
I use it to label my milk fridge so our shareholders know which milk is theirs.
I use it to label shelves, so people know where certain items get stored. I use it to label the boxes in the attic, the binders on my desk, and the mason jars I send to the fair. In short, if it’s not nailed down, it’s fair game for a label!
This is the one I have, but there are many others to choose from. I’m sure there are other brands, too, but I only know about this one. The tape sticks well, even going through the canner and the dishwasher without coming off, but it removes easily when you want it to, without leaving any residue, no matter how long it’s been there. It sticks through cold and it sticks through heat. It is unaffected by moisture or dirt. And it comes in several different color schemes, though I’m partial to black on white. (I accidentally ordered a clear tape once and it drove me crazy!)
One caveat, though: Other people will see your neatly labeled world and attempt to “borrow” your label machine in hopes of achieving the same results. That long ago website cautioned against this. This is your personal label machine, and it must not be shared. They will misplace it so it is not available when you need it. They will use up all your tape and not buy more. Never share your label machine. Trust me on this.
(Side note: We watched Downton Abbey last night, and Mary came in, then announced, “I’m going to go upstairs to take off my hat.” My people, they scoffed! But do you notice, I said, that there are no messes? No random things lying around on the flat surfaces? And it is NOT because they have an army of staff. It’s because they go upstairs to take off their hats, because that’s where the hats go. )