Labeling (everything) the easy way

I’ve been on a big organizing and decluttering kick lately. Well, in the last 3 years 😉

This year I’ve focused on getting things pared down, sorted and labeled so I know what I have, need and never need to buy again (looking at you tea lights!). As is popular in Pinterest and on blogs today, a lot of people buy a Cricut machine which makes custom vinyl labels. I admit, it’s tempting but when I look at what’s easy and simple I came to the conclusion that it’s just not needed right now.

If I take the cost of the machine ($199-300 plus the cost of cartridges) it’s easier to think about alternatives. Here’s what I use most often:


Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 11.18.05 AM

(find it here on Amazon)

While it’s not super cheap, it’s one of the easiest I’ve found to use and has a ton of features. One of the best things is that it’s laid out like a QWERTY keyboard so it’s similar to texting making typing out the labels a lot faster.

The clear cartridge is great and I’ve used it throughout the kitchen:

Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 11.17.52 AM

I’ll admit that for these glass bottles I considered etching the glass but it’s so much faster and easier to use a clear label + I can replace it if it gets sticky over time.

I’ve also used the label maker for my spice jars:

Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 11.17.59 AM

Again, easy to replace when I change up the spices or need to add more.

Throughout the house I use these Smarassel boxes to store everything from craft supplies to journals and cards. To make the labels I simply cut out small square from card stock, put on 2 pieces of wishi tape and then overlay it with a clear label.


The best part is that I can do a whole cabinet of these boxes in about 30 minutes with minimal tools or clean up.

Now, the main benefit I can see to a special vinyl machine is the ability to make BIG labels, for things like storage boxes holding holiday decorations or shoeboxes in the bathroom. I have a solution for that: printer + laminator!

This is the laminator I have though I’m pretty certain I paid about $20 during a Black Friday type sale. I’ve picked up full sheet and small laminating sheets but I love that I don’t need to put them inside a sleeve, just load them up and run through the machine.

Using a template in Excel, I make labels in 3 different sizes for small, medium and large boxes, print the sheets out on regular white printer paper, cut them to size and then run through the laminator.

Now they’re labeling boxes of medicine:


My storage boxes in the garage:


Even the bigger holiday storage:


and the buckets where I store shop rags and towels:


The cubes for clothing storage:


And even overflow storage in the kitchen:


How they get secured varies, the boxes in my room have handles so I simply hole punch the label and run some twine through the holes and tie off. For most of the plastic boxes I just cut a strip of velcro and secure it since it’s easy enough to change if the contents of the box get updated.

Comparing costs

While there are some costs to this method it works well for me. This is the printer I use which I bought for about $100 and the toner cartridge is about $10 and lasts a full 12 months of printing so the cost for these labels is negligible. Yes, the clear cartridge for the labeler is expensive (about $30) but for 30′ of label it’s lasted me years and I still have half left!

Either way there will be up front costs in terms of supplies but I still think I’ll come out ahead using the label maker and laminator over a fancy vinyl cutting machine. For the few items I would like nicer labels (like baking storage in the kitchen) I’ve been able to find affordable done for you options on Etsy. More on that in a later post!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s