EVERYTHING needs a place in a labeled box - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 16 Old 08-16-2013, 09:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It seems like the number one tip is always " a place for everything and everything in it's place". I feel like this is good in theory, but the thought of having everything contained in a labeled container is overwhelming. I saw a vacation home and literally everything was boxed and labeled, but that makes sense because guests come and go. It was almost as though it was like a model home, which everyone loves because it's clean and streamlined, but when you have a family life is anything but clean and streamlined. Anyone else feel like this?

 

I'm trying to think of EVERYTHING we have....books, toys, plates, cups, utensils, craft supplies, etc. Seriously, does anyone here have their home set up like this? My husband laughed when I said I was going to label everything in the house, he thinks it will take me forever and end up being a waste of time. I'm not sure whether he's right or not.

 

I feel like I am spinning my tires here! I'd love to be organized once and for all but I accept it's an ongoing process and it's never ever done. I truly love organizing and enjoying the results that come with making progress but maintaining order is the tricky part in a way.

 

Can we form a list together here or something of all the things that we should have a place for? Just typing out the few things below, I can already see myself wanting to hyper organize the categories, like toys for instance, which toys should get broken down by type (lego, cars.....).

 

toys 

books

kitchen wares

toiletries

linens

clothing


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#2 of 16 Old 08-16-2013, 09:53 AM
 
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I never took that to mean everything in a labeled container. My house is in no way how you describe, but here is what we try to do with those items:

 

* Books on bookshelves; library books in a basket in kids' room (DH's and mine on our nightstands) - falling down a bit on the library books right now!

 

* Toys - kids are older now, but basically in plastic bins by type. You can see them, so no labels. When they were younger, they were in simple wooden chests in the living room. We also have an art cabinet for the kids, and those things are in labeled boxes for ease of use, because they are not out where they can be seen.

 

* Kitchen wares - we pared down first, then organized as many foods as possible into glass jars. The rest on the shelves and in cabinets. We have a small kitchen, so I don't create huge stockpiles. No need to label. New wire shelf contains appliances, large dishes, and pots and pans on hooks.

 

* Toiletries - limited to each bathroom's drawers. These wander a bit in the bathroom, get left out, etc. We just re-organize once in a while. Small stuff for trips is kept in the carrying case under the sink. Again, our toiletries are fairly limited.

 

* Linens - in a closet in the bathroom

 

* Clothing - sorted each season to weed stuff out. Off seasons kept in basement (the basement is a whole other organizing story - ugh). Again, small apt. so each person has one dresser/wardrobe, and that's where our clothes go.

 

All of these things have a place, but it's not a labeled box necessarily.
 

PS I just noticed how messy my desk is - need to get some order here, definitely! redface.gif


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#3 of 16 Old 08-16-2013, 09:56 AM
 
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Another PS - Again, my house is no paragon of organization, but single tip that I have noticed has helped the most to keep areas tidy is REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF STUFF. It works every time!


Mom "D" to DD1 "Z" (14) and DD2 "I" (11) DH "M"

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#4 of 16 Old 08-17-2013, 11:00 PM
 
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I think organization is about finding what works for you!  I agree with Ragana that having LESS is key. 

I am also learning that what is the perfect system this year may not be the perfect system next year and that is OK!  It seems especially with little ones needs change quickly and we have to adapt to that. 


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#5 of 16 Old 08-18-2013, 12:13 AM
 
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I like having specific places for things, like a basket for lone socks or library books always go on the red end table, but having everything labeled would drive me crazy.  I tend to streamline my areas periodically, and I'll combine things different ways.  I would have having to re-label boxes just because my system changed.  I've noticed once I've gotten rid of all the needless things I have an easier time remembering where I've stuck everything useful.


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#6 of 16 Old 08-18-2013, 06:31 PM
 
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#7 of 16 Old 08-22-2013, 07:32 AM
 
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A couple years ago, after getting frustrated with the constant disorganization of the various dressers we have around the house, I grabbed some masking tape & a sharpie and labelled each drawer on the inner right side. Now when you open the drawer, it's easy to see at a glance what ought to be in there. I started this mostly for the dresser that's full of bed linens, one that has small electronics and related gear, and the other one we use for kitchen/dining linens as well as toiletries. Then I expanded it to my own clothes dresser, so that I could depend on DP putting away my laundry in a way that allowed me to find it again. Unfortunately, while she's been great at maintaining the system everywhere else in the house, she's not interested in applying it to her own clothes dresser... Which also isn't organized by any system that I understand... So I'm still just guessing when it comes to her personal stuff. But! The rest of the dressers are full of things that are now easy to access! (And I didn't have to label everything, tempting as it was.)

 

Of course, like the previous posters said, everything changes all the time... With a baby arriving soon-ish, I'm busy strategizing what drawers can be reorganized for holding our new stash of tiny clothes, diapers, blankets, etc.: Another good reason to simplify and purge.


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#8 of 16 Old 08-22-2013, 12:28 PM
 
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Yeah, I don't think things have to be labeled as long as everyone knows what goes where, it might be helpful to label some things (like seasonal decorations or clothing that is being stored), but mostly stuff just needs a home and only things that are really used all the time should be kept out on counters (like in the bathroom, only hand soap on the counter, maybe toothbrushes/toothpaste, everything else should be in a drawer so it is easier to clean). And if you have way too much stuff (we did until recently when we did several large give-away/donation/trash purges) there is no way to store it all. Labels could be useful in drawers or shelves that are used by a lot of different people infrequently so it is hard to remember where stuff goes.

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#9 of 16 Old 08-22-2013, 01:05 PM
 
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I would settle for everything having a place! And for us actually putting the things that have places in their places. Labeling would be a distant third.


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#10 of 16 Old 08-22-2013, 06:24 PM
 
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Agree there's no need to label *everything *and stick it all in boxes.

 

For example, the plates go on the plate shelf, no need for labels or boxes. Same w/ wine glasses vs. coffee mugs.

 

However, in the linen closet, I do find it helpful to put a label on some of the shelves "single bed sheets" "Queen bed sheets" - because it helps to remind me & the rest of the family where things should go and where to look for them. In the same closet there is no need to label the towel shelf "towels" because they are very obviously there.

 

Out of season clothes - yes, boxes & labels, so we can quickly put the right boxes in the right room for the right owner to sort.

 

Also, I find it helpful to put labels on the jars of beans and some spices, because at a glance fennel and cumin seeds can look similar.

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#11 of 16 Old 08-27-2013, 05:44 PM
 
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Some people put a chart on the door showing what goes on each shelf.
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#12 of 16 Old 08-27-2013, 07:59 PM
 
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Having a place or everything doesn't mean it has to be labeled.  Basically, it means knowing what you have and where it goes, and then keeping everything where it belongs when not in use.  The storage should also make some kind of sense, but it only needs to make sense to you and your family.  You don't have to do it exactly the way anyone else does.  And you don't need to label everything.  I label plastic totes that aren't see-through (generally stuff that's in storage in basement and not used frequently) so I know what's in them without having to open them.  But other than that, everything is not labeled or in containers.  I do use some small containers for storing small items like small kids' toys, my cake decorating tools, etc.  But I don't have "containers" for everything.  

 

Having a "home" for everything means everyone knows where to put those things away when they're done with them.  In theory, you wouldn't have things laying around cluttering up your space that way.

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#13 of 16 Old 08-27-2013, 08:04 PM
 
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I have been implementing this. After I brush my teeth the brush always goes back in the drawer. After I make coffee the cup goes in the dishwasher. After I dry dishes the towel gets hung up. After I use the phone it goes back on the base. It's amazing how many things get out of place if you don't put them back, and how messy a house can get. I know because I am a recovering very messy house person. And most days now my house look great. Picking up and putting things away every time you walk though the house can have an amazing effect.
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#14 of 16 Old 08-27-2013, 08:18 PM
 
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Springshowers, I am totally a work in progress with this, too.  I also find it amazing that me (and the kids) do tend to leave things out thinking it's "so much work" to put things away.  But when you actually take the time to do it, it's really no time at all.  So instead of taking 20 seconds to put stuff away right after using them, we end up spending an hour putting away everything that's been left out since last time we cleaned everything up.  I'm still not perfect with it, but I'm definitely getting better.

 

I fell off the wagon with dishwashing the past few days.  We don't have a dishwasher so I handwash.  It was a busy week and I made excuses to put it off alternately telling myself it was OK because there were only a few items from that meal or there was too much too wash and didn't have time right then.  Finally had to do it when (embarrassed to say this) we had no glasses to use for lunch today.  So filled one sink with soapy water, the other with cold water for rinsing.  And 12 minutes later, all the dishes were clean and ready.  That's it, 12 minutes.  And I kept putting it off thinking it was too huge a job.  3 days of looking at the dirty dishes on my counter and worrying that someone might drop by unannounced and see them and all over nothing really.  It was a good reminder of why I'm trying to get better at staying on top of things and organized.  When I feel like it's overwhelming to do something, I can remind myself that it's probably not going to be as bad as I'm making it out to be.

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#15 of 16 Old 08-27-2013, 08:21 PM
 
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Ha! My house is pretty clean right now but there is a stack of dishes. I have been doing the same thing. Good on you for taking care of it!
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#16 of 16 Old 08-29-2013, 05:17 AM
 
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If everything has a place it makes a huge difference.  We had a house we built to our needs and everything had a place.  Cleaning was simple.  Then we moved into a very old house.  Think no useable basement for example and limited closets.  Suddenly our life was a cluttered mess.  Same stuff (actually less), same square footage, but nowhere for things to go.  I have spent so much time trying to develop spaces for things.  Not to mention de-cluttering.  

 

I try and label to some extent, only because I want the kids to know where to put things or where to find things.  Linen shelves are labeled for example just because it is not always obvious what goes where.  But I do not bother with more obvious things.

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