The stereotype of the organizer with a label maker in her holster isn’t too far from the truth. Labels make such a huge difference. Reading one or two words on the outside of a container helps our brains to figure out exactly what’s inside, even if the contents are clearly visible.
But I think the biggest benefit of having labels is how they remind us to put things away. We see the label and it beckons us to take the extra three seconds and return items to their rightful homes. Labels remove the barrier of having to spend mental energy thinking about where things go, and suddenly an overwhelming task becomes easy.
Labels are helpful throughout the organizing process, not just on the final product. Use them to label bags and boxes for projects in progress, or while “test-driving” a new system. One of my favorite products is Post-it Label Rolls. They’re perfect for those times when you’re not ready for permanent labels, but you want something more durable than a sticky note. But no need to be a perfectionist; masking tape and a Sharpie will do just fine, too. (I don’t receive any compensation for any products I mention.)