A Professional Organizer’s secret
“If you want to find something again, then label, label, label!”
Ask any Professional Organizer what is the most frequent statement we hear from our clients, and the answer is:
I was looking for that, but had no idea where it was.
Good labels make a huge difference in finding what you want when you want it — the mainstay of getting and staying organized.
Why sort, purge, simplify and organize if you cannot find the needed item when you need it. Labeling is the most essential step when putting items into closed containers. Something left unlabeled or labeled incorrectly is a guarantee that the item will disappear off the radar — invisible, missing in action. After a period of time, your memory will fail you. You will not know what is inside that closed box, container or file folder without tearing it apart for a quick peek.
I’ve heard this statement over and over again. You, too, probably used it multiple times in your life because it is easier to locate the item yourself than try to explain to someone else where to look.
“Never mind, I’ll find it.”
Label as a noun: a item to inscribe and affix to something for identification. Labels come in all sizes, shapes and texture. To the right are Chalkboard labels with markers which can be used for a variety of labeling tasks throughout your home and office.
Or, for printing labels on a computer, search for Avery labels that come in a variety of styles. I especially love the Print to the Edge label shown here.
Most professional organizers have a label maker in their tool bag. I own the Brothers P-Touch. It is a quick and easy way to create a wide variety of durable labels to be used everywhere.
Label as a verb: an action word to describe, designate, distinguish. When you label something you give it a name. Using label as a verb extends far beyond boxes, bins and file drawers. Names are powerful and provide a point of reference. We label the kitchen drawer as a junk drawer, a cabinet for games storage is the games area, or the give-away box is for donations…
This week’s task – The To-File Box
Since January is decluttering and organizing the home office, let’s tackle the To-Do box from last week and the file drawers. Filing seems to be a task most people tend to push aside for another time — someday, whenever that may be. Yet, by using concise meaningful labels the process of filing is so much easier. But more important, labeling accelerates the retrieval process. Filing is all about retrieval. The file drawers are not simply for storage but a means of maintaining information until needed.
Ask yourself what you would think about when looking for a particular document. Throw away those preprinted labels and create your own wording. You can use verbs, nouns or full sentences — whatever works for you. My mom used the following label: Things I just want to remember.
The same principle applies to boxes in storage, food in the freezer, out-of-season clothes bins, tool cabinets… Labels come in all sizes, shapes and material. Browse Amazon.com for a variety of useful labels.
Being organized can save you time, money and energy, but only if you can find what you want when you want it. Simply put, labeling is a life management skill.
You might be interested in learning more about Managing Your Files. CLICK HERE to access a 14-page instruction e-booklet for $5.00. There is so much to learn and do. Take it one-step-at-a-time.