All of us would like to live in a house like Donna Reed’s, a spic-and-span domicile with nary a spec of
dirt or a couch cushion out of place. But the reality of most modern homes is that both parents work
(or there is only one parent in attendance) and between jobs, kids, pets, and everything else that life
throws at you, keeping your home clean and organized is the least of your worries. So you let things go
until suddenly you start to wonder if your house could be featured on an episode of Hoarders! Okay, it’s
probably not that bad, but if you’re facing some serious clutter and you’re not sure how to get it under
control, one of the best ways to organize your space is to create a system of labeling that ensures every
last thing has a place to go.
You’ll want to start, of course, with a massive decluttering. Sift through “stuff” in the living room,
dining room, bedrooms, bathrooms, home office, and even cupboards and closets. Clear out everything
that you don’t need and won’t use. Donate usable items to charity thrift stores (they often pick up),
including extra furnishings that are just taking up space, and toss anything that is broken, worn, or no
longer functional. Now that you’ve figured out what you’re going to keep, it’s time to decide where it’s
going to go; and storage space can be a problem.
If it quickly becomes clear that you really don’t have adequate storage to accommodate all of your stuff,
you need to see what you can do to expand your storage solutions. Cabinets and shelves can both be
helpful as long as they are appropriately sized for your space. Modular furniture stores like IKEA can
help you here with pieces that are moderately sized, but easily expandable. You’ll want cabinets with
doors and drawers to hide items like media (CDs, DVDs, video games, etc.) while shelving units and even
free-floating shelves can help you find a spot for books and curios that then to pile up around the house.
You may also want to get tasteful bins for common spaces (office, living room) and colorful ones to place
in cubbies in the kids’ rooms. And organizing units are great for small items like office supplies (pens,
pencils, paperclips, etc.) and toiletries.
Finally, it’s time to start labeling. Of course, you may not want to slap labels all over shelving in areas
that guests may frequent, but there are many spaces that can benefit from easy-to-make stick-on
labels. In the office you can put them on bins and even shelves so that when kids come in to grab office
supplies for a school project they know just where leftovers should be returned. Labeling file folders is
also a must to ensure that everything is in order come tax time. Hidden storage can also get the label
treatment, so set up alphabetized shelves in your media cabinet so that you can always find the movie
you’re looking for without having to search through hundreds of DVDs that are in no particular order.
Even kitchen shelves can benefit from labels, with areas for dry goods, canned food, pasta, cereal, and
more. And when it comes to the kids, label cubbies for toys, books, stuffed animals, and so on (you may
even want to consider see tamper proof labels www.assettags.co.uk for this one).