I don’t know why I didn’t think of this. Perhaps it is because our stationery shop doesn’t have the labels used in this post and I didn’t understand how they could be used. I think this is a great idea and perfect for me. Guess what I’m going to be buying and now I have the perfect template to follow. There are 20 to a package and cost approximately $9.98 in the local Wal Mart. Click here to learn more.
I rolled a few ideas around my head and finally came up with an idea using an old favorite of mine: these single-sided, self-seal laminating sheets. These things are amazing. I originally fell in love with them when I was a teenager. I would cut out photos from magazines, make collages on the front of spiral notebooks, then wrap the cover in one of these sheets. Even though I sometimes still have the hankering to decorate a notebook now and then, over the years I’ve found other handy uses for these sheets – especially when it comes to organizing. You can find them pretty much anywhere office supplies are sold. (In the past I’ve purchased them from Target, Walgreens, Walmart and Staples.) Aside from the laminating sheets, for this labeling project, I also needed paper (card stock is best), scissors, wet erase markers and a printer.
I started off by designing a label that included the contents’ category (Fall Decorations, Christmas Decorations, Keepsakes, etc), a bunch of blank lines to fill in the specific contents and a blank for a “last packaged” date. To design the label, I used Adobe Illustrator, but you can also easily use Word or Pages. I printed the labels on 8.5×11” card stock and then trimmed the edges to a size suitable for our storage containers (which ended up being around 8×5) using a paper cutter for extra-straight edges.
Once I printed out and trimmed down all of the sheets, I slowly placed each piece of card stock, printed side down, onto the middle of the sticky side of the lamenting sheet. I made sure there was plenty of excess around the edges of the card stock to allow the label to stick to the storage container and cut off any unneeded excess using a pair of scissors. Once that was done, I had a large label ready for a storage container.
To make sure the label adheres really well, make sure the storage container is very clean and dust-free (rubbing alcohol works great for this). Once you have the label in place, run your fingernail around the edges of the card stock a few times to release in air bubbles and make sure it’s on there really well.
Once all of the labels were on their respective containers, it was time for the nitty-gritty details. I went through each container and wrote down all of the contents on the label using a wet erase marker. Using a wet erase marker instead of a regular dry erase marker means the labels won’t smudge while you’re moving the boxes around, but you can erase items with a little bit of water.
As I mentioned earlier, I also included a blank for a “packaged date”. By making note of this, I will know how long ago I last went through that particular storage container and purged anything we didn’t want / need any longer. That way, if I’m up in the attic to retrieve something else and notice a box that hasn’t been gone through in a few years, I can quickly scan the list of contents and see if there’s anything I now want to get rid of. It’s a super easy system of being able to keep up with your stuff and regularly getting rid of the unneeded/unwanted items. I guess you can kind of think of it as a reverse expiration date of sorts.