It's time to tag your way to a peaceful coexistence with your family's cluttered chaos!
So it probably comes as no surprise that this slightly obsessive label-happy tendency might carry over to one's family home. In the same way that the vague notion of a group of preschoolers neatly organizing their classroom warms my educator heart, so does the thought of my lovely but disorganized family utilizing a creatively created set of ID tags to clean up after themselves and consequentially make me a very happy mom and decorator. So how do we go about stylishly and fabulously introducing labels into our homes? A few thoughts to consider:
1. Try Your Best Not to Go Overboard. Growing up, one of my brothers got a hold of my dad's office label maker and felt the need to label everything...I think at one point even the family dog had a tag, and I'm not talking about the traditional one around the collar. There is the danger of going over the top with your markers and labels, and that ends up defeating the purpose, because a label on absolutely everything not only is annoying, but for those who did not make them, easier to ignore. Pick and choose what you decide to organize in this manner, and it will blend into the rest of your aesthetic better and be easier for your family to conform and adhere to.
1. Create a "Help Me...Help You" Scenario. Involve your messiest inhabitants in your label-making--and that investment will help to make your new system work more effectively. My handsome and incredibly hoarder-like 7 year old son helped me organize all of the toys and collectibles in his room, and even decided what labels went where, and I'm proud to say that a year later, he still can go in his room and clean it relatively well with the system he helped to create. Of course if only the same logic worked with my husband and his stuff...
1. Apply Your Design Sensibilities to Your Utilitarian Needs. Dad's old plastic strip label maker is not your only option when it comes to making labels and tags to compliment your home organization...the sky is really the limit when it comes to a way to mark your stuff. Hit the scrapbooking section of your local craft store, use your computer to get fun and funky lettering for your labels, or forgo words altogether and use another form of communication when marking your materials--a particularly creative fellow teacher of mine who's students are only 2 years old (and inevitably not avid readers just yet) got out her camera and made labels using actual photos of toys and supplies in her room--and this type of classroom system would translate perfectly to your home playroom, pantry, etc.
1. Keep it Simple. If you get too fancy with your labeling and marking, it will again not only be too easy to ignore, but also will not translate to those individuals who do not reside on a daily basis with your super-organized self. Create a system that is simple enough for your guests to find the extra toothbrushes and your visiting aunt to empty the dishwasher independently, in a manner that you won't be searching for your favorite ladle 6 months later. Keeping it simple and logical makes organization easier to stick to--simple as that (no pun intended...).
So dare to label away--marking your territory with tags and labels can not only help you make sense of the plethora of stuff that makes a house a home for an active family, but it can also enhance your décor in the process. Best of luck in your battle for order amongst the chaos...with the right tools, you too can conquer the clutter!