Why you need to label your stuff even though you think you don’t

label your stuff 2
label your stuff 1

Humans are incredibly optimistic. We think we will remember. We don’t. And even if we do, our memory is rarely as immediate and stress-free as reading a label.

That’s why you need to label your stuff. For future you. Also for your housemates, helpers and friends.

Label Your Stuff – Macro Organising

Label your stuff and your areas. If you are sorting things into keep/donate/discard piles, label the piles with a sticky note or a bit of scrap paper. Otherwise you keep asking yourself “which is this pile again?” and it’s even harder if you have helpers. Free up your brain space, save your sanity and your relationships and label the hell outta your zones.

Label Your Stuff – Micro organising

You have painstakingly categorised and decluttered the pantry, just like they do on television. It’s obvious at a glance that all the spices are on the left and the sauces are on the right.

But when our partner unloads the groceries, when our friends help us cook, when we are tired and can’t think in a straight line – these things are less obvious. Products are just plonked. One jar ends up in the wrong spot and then more follow like lemmings off a cliff. Before you know it, the pantry is messed up again and there are nuts on top of artichoke hearts and spilled flour fraternising with soy sauce.

This could have been avoided by labels on shelves or containers. Even a sticky note on the adjacent pantry wall stating spices here! (smiley face) will do the job.

Labels keep us all accountable, including our tired, fallible, time-poor, decision-fatigued selves. Even if we think we’ll remember. Because we don’t.

Don’t get me started on canisters of mysterious powders. Anyone who bakes knows their sugar from their icing sugar but why not save yourself the hassle of having to open the lid and grab a taste. And it’s surprisingly common for punters to decant flour, not label it and then down the track have no idea whether it is plain, self-raising or rice flour. It ends up in the bin. Equally important to include the best-before date of the product.

Even for non-edibles, label your stuff before your throw it in a cupboard. Cables that came with your computer, Allen keys that came with your bed, house keys for your mum’s place. One day you will be glad you did.

If you find a pile of unknown cables, mysterious screws or unidentified keys, pop them in a ziplock bag and label them with the date, and even a cheeky use-by date. Whatever remains in the bag in 5 years, 1 year, 10 years (take your pick) can be comfortably discarded. At least you’ll know how long the items have been sitting there untouched. Aah the power of labelling. Not only does it help you find what you need, it helps you declutter what you don’t.

Shifting house

Yes, of course it makes sense that the kitchen items are in the bigger boxes, because kitchen items are big. No need to label, right?

Naturally you will remember that the red shoebox contains all the appliance instructions. It’s red which means important, right?

You told the moving company that all the boxes on the left side of the porch go in the laundry. They’ll remember, it’s their job, right?

Wrong. If you want a smooth transition, spend an extra few minutes now to save hours and your sanity later. A big Sharpie in your pocket is all you need. Your future self with thank you.


I don’t know how many times I have told them who gets which colour lunchbox, they still mess it up. This means carrot-hating Miss 9 gets a kilo of carrot sticks and vegemite-loving Mr 12 gets peanut butter instead. Label your stuff. Label your kids’ stuff as well, via colour coding. It works a treat.

Having lists and chore-charts for kids is also a great idea. Again it doesn’t need to be fancy. Once there is a labelled record, there are no excuses.

How do I label my stuff?

  • Fancy labels you order online
  • Label machine from the office supply shop
  • Sticky labels from the post office
  • Clear tape and Sharpie
  • Masking tape and pen
  • Sticky notes
  • Anything really, you get the gist.

Label your stuff! And if you need help reach out and get in touch. We are great at labelling.

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