Mommy, what can we label?

So my 3 year old came up to me holding my labeler today and said “Mommy, what can we label?” A kid after my own heart, I tell ya.

Labeling (1)

Well, mini-me organizer, I’ll tell you what we can label…everything!

Here are just a few things I label around here:

Bathroom organizers:

Labeling (2)File Folders:

Labeling (3)Spice Jars:

Labeling (4)Fridge organizers:

labeling (5)

Jars for pantry items:

Pantry Jars (3)

Labeling obviously helps me keep things organized. But it has a few added benefits:

-It keeps my family organized. When we are all on the same page about what goes where, it makes it easier for us to put thing where they belong.

-The labels help my older son learn to read. He loves typing out the word and hitting the ‘print’ button on the labeler. And he loves being able to put his own belonging where they go. As my younger son grows, I have no doubt he will love to read and learn just as much!

-It helps house guests keep your house the way you want it. I have to admit, I sometimes stealthily follow guests around making sure things are in their right places. I try not to, but I can’t help it! When things are labeled, I tend to ease up a little because my systems tend to stay in place.

-It helps to unclutter my mind. When I don’t have to think about where things go, I don’t spend time worrying about it nearly as much. I just put things where the labels tell me to put them!

-It takes less time to clean a room when everything has a designated space. It also takes less time to put away groceries, do laundry, file papers, pay bills and countless other tasks. And who doesn’t want more time???

~Erin

 

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Closet labels – gone right or wrong?

I recently made some clothes dividers for my kid’s closet. I was inspired by a few different versions from Pinterest and blog land. As I searched I realized how popular these are becoming. Most of the one’s I found have sizes for baby clothes, such as Newborn, 3-6 months, etc. However, I decided this was not the direction to go (even though I have a baby) because I don’t have more than one size hanging in the closet at any one time. So I decided to go by type of clothes. Here are the categories:

-Short Sleeve, Long Sleeve, Pants, Jackets

Since I have 2 boys, I wanted a set for each of them, so I needed 8 total dividers. First I bought some wooden O’s at Hobby Lobby and got out some craft paint I already had:

I painted the backside of the O’s, which didn’t go quite as planned. I have mentioned before that my craft skills leave something to be desired and I have actually had these craft paints in a ‘craft supply drawer’ for about 5 years. So some of the paint was a little dry and didn’t cover well. I figured that was ok because they would be the backside of the labels. However, it still looks like my 3 year old did this part of the project.

Then I traced the O’s onto scrapbook paper and cut out the paper.

Then the plan was to Mod Podge the scrapbook paper onto the O’s, sand down the edges, and put a coat of Mod Podge on top. Easy right? Well, not so much. When I tried to cut out the paper with an exacto knife, the paper was a little rough around the edges. Sanding will take care of that, I said to myself. Well, I just started sanding away more and more of the paper so I threw my hands up in disgust at my sandpaper and left it on the floor of the garage.

When I put the Mod Podge over the top to seal it a little bit, it just left visible streaks on the paper instead of drying clear and smoth. Maybe it’s my Mod Podge naivety and I just don’t know what I am doing, but I definitely did not like the finished result at all. It looked sloppy and jagged.

Luckily I had only done 4 O’s in the first round, so I made some tweaks for round two. First off, I decided not to paint the backs of the 2nd set.

After I had traced out the O’s, I Mod Podged them on and LIGHTLY sanded the edges. Then I just used a clear coat spray on top. This added a little protection but there were no brush strokes.

Time for the labels! I just made the labels in Word. I did some on transparent paper and some on cardstock, so I could see how each style looked.

You can see how I did labels for the 4 sections, but I also did the letters ‘E’ and ‘O’ because I was making a set of each kid.After I had glued almost all of the transparent letters on (just using a VERY light layer of Mod Podge), I realized I liked the cardstock on Evan’s better. Too late! I had already done 3 out of 4, so one of E’s got the cardstock and is now mismatched. Then I did a quick once over with the spray sealer.

You’ll notice that the ‘short sleeve’ label is on the left side while all the others are on the right. This is because the short sleeves are on the right side of the closet and everything else is on the left, so I wanted to make them as easy as possible to read.

You can definitely see the rough edges, but I do like the overall look. When I first started this project, I was daydreaming about how I would write my blog post on it. I would leave you with all sorts of encouraging words and inspirations like “These turned out better than I imagined” or  “This was so easy and fun” or “I love how quickly it came together”. Buuuuuutttt…..they didn’t turn out nearly as good as I thought they would, it was not an easy project and it took FOREVER! But I”m still proud of myself for pushing through the project and again, I learned a lot from my mistakes. And I actually have some great ideas and lessons on how to improve them for next time. Yes, I am already plotting a project redo!

Bin there, done that

What a horribly cheesy post title, I know! However, I do want to show you my quick bin labeling I did in the kid’s room. It wasn’t fancy, it wasn’t hard, and it didn’t take long….my kind of project!

I have pretty much everything that belongs to the kids in either baskets or bins. Even their books are in bins because it is easy to clean them up and then it doesn’t matter if the books are upside down or backwards. And it’s really easy for even a 3 year old to organize and clean up this way. Funny side story, Evan was all ready for bed, head on the pillow, lights out and he says “mommy, I need to get out of bed”. “Why?” I asked. He said “I need to put my dinosaur away”. He had spotted one plastic dinosaur on the floor, so he got up, went into the closet and put the rogue dinosaur in the ‘Animal Bin.’ I’m seeing the organizing gene getting passed on!

Anyways, the bins were all separated and organized, but not labeled. I wanted to label them for 2 reasons:

-If I had it my way, every item in my house would be labeled.

-It makes things a lot easier for when the grandparents come to stay and are looking for something specific.

A lot of my bins have little clear pockets for labels, so that made life easier. I wanted to add just a teensy tiny bit of dimension to the labels so I printed all the wording on translucent paper and then just cut out plain cardstock to go behind the wording.

I just created the labels in Powerpoint after measuring the actual size of the clear pockets. Then you just create a shape in PPT and can double click on the shape outline and size it correctly. Someday, I will get one of those glorious label machines that you can do all sorts of fancy stuff with, but for now I love my Powerpoint.

Then I just cut out the labels and slipped them in the pockets:

They are not cutesy or intricate or even pretty. But they are functional and will do for now.  Now, I have seen some adorable labels in blogland with photos of the items in the bins for kids. I chose not to use photos of the contents though, for right now. My 3 year old has an insatiable love of words, letters and books. He is quickly learning how to spell various words and having his stuff labeled this way will just encourage his love of reading (I am hoping). That being said, I think photo labeling is adorable, colorful, creative and I might go this route as the boys get older and the toys get more intricate with more pieces. I might end up with 400 bins and a cute, colorful picture might serve us better. I found a great source of inspiration for photo labels at The Cottage Home:

How cute are these labels that just Velcro on to the storage bins?!

For now, my bins are blandly labeled, but easy to organize. It’s all about the process until I have more time to make it pretty!

~Erin

What’s in a Name?

So here is a secret obsession of mine just waiting to burst forth into the world…labeling. I love labels! They make things so much more organized, easy to find and easy to store. For years I have had an automatic label machine that I could use to print labels for all kinds of things. However, the look of them was a little sterile, boring, blah. I have recently jumped into the world of customizing my labels and am starting with my pantry. I have been working on organizing the pantry for a while because it bothers me. It’s one of the few places that even when it’s actually organized, it can look cluttered. So I have been shifting things around, buying bins, baskets and shelves and rearranging like a crazy woman.

I am nowhere near finished, but I have it to a manageable state now. Someday in the future, when the pantry is pretty as a picture, I’ll do a post on the total transformation. For now, let’s focus on the labels…

So far I have 12 bins and canisters which I have organized and labeled. I used the 2″ round labels from Avery (whose products I love, but that’s a different story). These are print to the edge labels and you can use one of their existing designs on the Avery website or you can design your own from scratch. I don’t pride myself on my graphic design capabilities so I used an existing template. Here are my canisters before the labels:

Pantry Storage Jars: Before

And here are the canisters after I added the labels:

Pantry Storage Jars: After

 

Pantry Storage Jar: Close up

I LOVE THEM! I also added labels to 8 storage bins to help keep things organized.

Pantry Bin Labels

Now I know what your thinking, why in the world do you need to label food when you can already see what it is? Good question!!! Here’s why:

-It helps the whole family ensure that everything has a proper place

-It makes groceries easy to put away and ingredients easy to find

-It looks so darn pretty

Ooh! A quick tip for the canisters…since the packaging for these items is thrown away, I write the expiration date on a small piece of paper and tape it to the bottom of the canisters so I never have to worry about things expiring.

I can’t wait to expand on my ever increasing obsession with labels! (I can hear the universal groans of you all who think I’m crazy for being so excited about labels). But…it’s the little things in life people. 🙂

Happy Labeling!

~Erin