Second favorite organization tool: The labelmaker

I have written in the past about the ScanSnap, my favorite organization tool. Today, I want to talk about the item that runs a very close second on my favorite’s list, which is the labelmaker.

I’m actually a little surprised that I haven’t written about it on Unclutterer before today. Any storage box in my home that isn’t clear gets labeled. Same applies to every file folder in my filing cabinet, the recycling bins, containers in the bathroom, and about 1,000 other items in my home.

Until I had one, I didn’t know what I was missing. Unfortunately, there isn’t much more to say about the labelmaker because it is such a straightforward device. Maybe its simplicity has something to do with why it’s so high on my list of favorite organization tools …

72 Comments for “Second favorite organization tool: The labelmaker”

  1. posted by Colin on

    I must say, I enjoyed the proposition that a label maker is a gateway to Hummer ownership, or reveals a deeper character defect of some kind. Because there’s no difference in the energy required to produce and use those two devices, as well as their pollutive impacts.

    Maybe I’ll just go ahead and get that Hummer after all, since I’m using a moleskine when cut-up paper grocery bags would do the same thing – I must be defective too.

  2. posted by amy on

    “or putting a label on the label-maker itself! Humph!”

    Oh surly none of us would do such a thing…. ahem…. :-D

    Yes I own one! I bought it after reading Getting Things Done (which I havn’t finished yet… ironic?).

    No it’s not something you need every day but, unfortunatly my hand writing SUCKS HAIRY MELLONS! Seriously, I can’t write, but I can type, so this makes my life readable for me and people who are around me.

    Once you have one, you’ll be amazed how often you use it.

    Also… hide it when certain people are around unless you want your entire life labled :-D

  3. posted by debbie on

    My real question is this — is a hand-held, portable version more useful than a specialized, small label printer that I can attach to my laptop? With our in-home wireless internet and laptops for each of the three of us, we share printer, backup disk storage, and scanner, so I was saving for a usb-attached label printer instead of a handheld. Good idea or not?

  4. Avatar of Erin Doland

    posted by Erin Doland on

    @debbie — I think the answer to your question comes down to two factors: 1. Are you self-disciplined enough to be working on a project in your basement and then later follow through with labeling something from your computer? (If you are, I’d use the USB-attached label printer.), and 2. Do you regularly have a need to print shipping labels? (If you do, then again I’d go with the USB-attached label printer.) However, if you’re like me and won’t ever return to my computer and make the labels or have no need to regularly print shipping labels, then I’d go with the handheld device.

  5. posted by Thomas on

    I love my label maker which I bought from DYMO store at very reasonable price…..!

  6. posted by Rae on

    This site is just wonderful! Every time I visit, I go away feeling a bit more organized.

    @ Susan – I’m late to the party, but your comments were harsh and rude. Learn some manners.

  7. posted by Philip Lipton on

    I like this labeler. My hand writing is not as legible as you Sharpie folks.

  8. posted by Amelia Beasley on

    I love label makers. They are wonderful for helping my children go solo in making professional looking poster projects! Thanks so much for this site.

  9. posted by Carolyn on

    Good morning! I must say I am one of those persons who spends endless hours trying to better organize and get rid of clutter. I would love to have one of these label makers and look forward the opportunity of “winning” one. I have 5 children and this little “unitasker” as many have said could virtually provide answers to the confusing task for a mom of five of figuring out whose toys are whose, etc. I like the idea of having labels on the clear boxes; especially in our youngest child’s room. He just started kindergarten and visualizing his toys with the letters will help him to lean to read those labels an dknow exactly where his toys need to go, thus minimizing the time mom must spend doing it or aiding in the process. The thought that post it notes are more professionaly and cleanly makes me chuckle. Professional Organizers and clutter experts alike state the first thing to get rid of are all those sticky note. I for one vote for the Dymo Unitasker and would be proud to own one. Thanks for your consideration.

  10. posted by R. Wyse on

    Love them! Makes life a little easier.

  11. posted by R. Wyse on

    Great and useful product!

  12. posted by Michael on

    I have suffered for years with hand written labels and the label maker is a massive improvement because it’s actually more LEGIBLE at any given distance than the equivalent-sized handwriting. You can actually read it from further away! For me that’s the clincher. I couldn’t care less about how professional it looks. Also, if you need to label really small items with 2mm height font then the label maker can (again) print much more legibly than you could ever hope to write by hand.

  13. posted by Chelsea on

    Understandable, the sharpie and tape crowd are correct in that their way is simpler.

    However, I absolutely HATE my handwriting for labeling. I’m -just- cool enough with it that it works for me but just OCD enough that I will rewrite the label a few times to get it right, mess it up, then have to redo it. How much paper and ink does that waste?

    The label maker is worth it to me.

  14. posted by Laura on

    I use the masking tape + Sharpie solution for temporary labels (like containers that are going into the freezer) and the label-maker labels for more permanent labels (like boxes used to store stuff). Since I live with other people I find the labeling helps them understand where to find something when I’m not there and where to put it back. (We are still working on putting it back. Ahem.) I can’t really defend the label-maker except to say that it makes organizing more fun for me and thus I am more organized. As with many things in life, YMMV.

  15. posted by anonymous on

    65 comments, and not a single Seinfeld reference!?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Label_Maker

    “‘The Label Maker’ is the 98th episode of NBC sitcom Seinfeld. This was the 12th episode for the 6th season. It aired on January 19, 1995″

  16. posted by J.T. on

    For speed, efficiency, and convenience, I prefer to write directly on the item itself, usually not even bothering to put down a piece of tape first. For something I can’t write directly on, I use a strip of duct tape, or masking tape if I wan to be able to remove it later. Why use a labeler when I can jot a name on a folder and move on that much faster?

    I use printed labels, however, on “outward facing” materials that I plan to give someone that needs to be pre-labeled. For pure professionalism, though, I don’t think anything beats a completely blank manila folder.

  17. posted by Angie on

    I use my label maker for committee files and organization around the house. But for personal files and my craft organization, I like to practice a consistent calligraphy font.

  18. posted by How Do You Mark Your Passover Kitchen? | The Jew and the Carrot on

    [...] you use those handy (but ugly) stickers you can buy at Judaica stores? Do you have handwritten or homemade labels? Do you buy things in two or three different colors in order to make it obvious if something is one [...]

  19. posted by 1 Thing Done » In Praise of Unitaskers on

    [...] I don’t have a big problem with Unclutterer’s “Unitasker Wednesday.” For many of the items featured I’d be happy to just label them “stupidtaskers” and leave it at that. For a more telling look into dogmatic anti-unitasker sentiment read through the comments to this old Unclutterer post on labelmakers. [...]

  20. posted by A year ago on Unclutterer on

    [...] Second favorite organization tool: The labelmakerThe labelmaker is such a simple device that it belongs on my all-time list of favorite organization tools. [...]

  21. posted by Charity on

    I put off getting a label maker due to my reluctance…what an idiot I was! I am an avid EVERYTHING hobbiest so this has made everything MUCH more streamlined. I used to stick to the masking tape/sharpie, yellow sticky note crap, but frankly I ended up “redoing” things too much due to how sloppy it looked. I am anything but a MINIMALIST so in an effort to streamline, this helps the looks of everything.

  22. posted by Denise on

    I LOVE my Brother P-Touch label maker, my handwriting is horrible because I started typing when I was about 6-7 yrs old, and from then on, every school paper/report was typed. I’m used to seeing NEAT, CLEAN, TYPED lettering…My labeler makes little icons, pictures & borders…makes my file cabinet look much nicer having all of the tabs printed instead of good handwriting one day, then ugly scribbles on a more stressed out day.

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