I hear you; you don’t want to use labels because you don’t want your home looking like a kindergarten classroom. The good news is that there are ways to make the labels less in your face. See below for how to use labels in every area of your home:
Kitchen – In most homes, the kitchen is the most high-trafficked area and therefore the area most likely to become disorganized. If you’d like items to go back where they came from, label them. Example: make a ‘snack’ label for a bin and every time your family members ask where the snacks are, direct them towards that bin.
Will they catch on right away? No. Is it a habit that has to be formed? Yes. Give it time and have a family meeting to explain where things are.
Bathroom – Often there is a number of items not for of everyday use in the bathroom. There is moisturizer you haven’t started using, extra makeup that you use when you go somewhere fancy, etc. In clear drawers or bins under the sink (or perhaps a linen closet), categorize and label items. That way when you finish your current moisturizer and you’re looking for your next one, you’ll know where to search.
Dresser drawers – Label the lip of the drawer rather than the outside to show which clothing items go where. This helps if you have a housekeeper or if your family members shove items in random drawers rather than putting them back ‘where they belong.’
Bonus: if you have a housekeeper who doesn’t read English well, put the labels in a language they can read, which will make everyone’s life easier.
Home Office – Label your files so that you can easily see which folder you’re looking for in a filing cabinet. What if you don’t have a filing cabinet? Think about getting one, or at least a file box. From my experience, clients without one or the other end up stuffing paperwork here, there and everywhere.
Miscellaneous - Items that you use once a year often get forgotten and you end up buying new ones. Do yourself a favo(u)r and label the inside of the cabinet where they’re stored in order to remind yourself what you’ve stowed away. Often there are items at the back of a cabinet that you can’t see and won’t remember without a reminder.
Kid’s Room - If there’s one room in your house that should look like a kindergarten classroom, it is a kid’s room. Labeling items not only helps with reading, it also helps your child to remember what goes where.
Do you need labels everywhere? No. In my home the only things I have labeled are my husband’s t-shirts (sport, nice, crappy and long sleeved) and items like batteries, tools misc., etc.
Try my tips above and let me know how it goes! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow me on Instagram @toritheorganizer.