Monday, December 13, 2010

'Tis the Season for Fun Labels!

I once had an organizing colleague declare to me, "You can't be organized without a label maker!" To each their own, but I disagree entirely with this comment. I could be more organized with nothing more than a bike, the clothes on my back and no label maker in site - but that's for a longer rant. To be honest, I hate the things. My colleague's helpful comment came from the fact that I was always leaving the device at home on jobs. Looking back, I think that my forgetfulness was subconsciously deliberate, if that's not too much of an oxymoron.

Granted, label makers have their place in the world - plastic bins in garages, attics and closets, filing systems - general places where aesthetic is less of a priority and function leads the decisions. As a minimalist, I am all about form following function, but the goal is for all things to be beautiful - not function=ugly. And I am sorry, but those little ticker tape labels are Ugly (notice the capital U). If you have some beautiful examples of Brother label tape in all its glory, please do send them my way via email and I will post. Perhaps I am being too harsh.

I am actually against labeling things for myself all together. I have lived either alone or with one other roommate for the past five years and I have so few possessions that there's no need to label anything (I did break down and label my five file tabs recently...oh the day when those are all digital). I do understand how living in a home with more than one or two people can generate a need for some sort of labeling system. Everyone needs to be on the same page about things like the sock drawer, or the extra toiletry categories in the linen closet, for example. If you have extra storage space like an attic or garage, labeling becomes pretty essential. Most people simply aren't going to memorize where everything belongs.

So let's make these necessary labels fun! I recently worked with an organizing client to purge, sort and store her clothing. Because she has ADD and a husband who needs to be on the same page, we knew a labeling system was necessary. I left her with temporary Post-It notes on each drawer/closet to get used to the new system, but when I go back later this week, I'm excited to suggest some more elegant and permanent options. Brother tape on a dresser? No no. My inspiration started while flipping through the latest 2011 IKEA catalog:

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Page 15, foldable NĂ„SUM Basket - $14.99, with handmade tied paper label

What a good idea that can be easily customized to fit anyone's style and would like great on a dresser handle as well! If you don't like your handwriting or want a more polished look, you could print out the labels on cardstock in a color or pattern of your choice. Other ideas include writing or printing on fabric or cutting up an old picture book with images and textures you enjoy. You could even get fancy and add trimmings, like lace. Options for the tie are just as endless - ribbon, twine, tinsel, thick velvet bows! Those sorts of details are so not me, but for some reason I could go on on and on. The same concepts can be used to make attractive face-applied labels. Just get some double-sided tape and you're ready to go! Word to the wise - any labels that might be exposed to a lot of moisture should be sealed (one benefit of label tape). Feel free to use pre-made gift tags as well, especially with all the current holiday options. Not feeling crafty and want someone to make it for you? Do an Etsy search for the labels of your dreams. Check out these vintage ones I found!

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French Cartouche Vintage Style Tag, set of 25 by Lazy Day Cottage on Etsy - $16.95

Have a labeling dilemma? Get in touch - details are one of my specialties. I'm sure we can come up with the perfect custom solution together.

Kristen Ziegler

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