Shining a Light on Labels

As an organizer, I always follow my client’s lead and only suggest we work on areas THEY identify. Every once in a while, though, I notice an irritating situation that could easily be solved with a label.

This scenario came up a month ago while working in someone’s dressing area; her space has a number of zones with specific task lighting tied to a central panel. 

As we were leaving the space, she went to turn off her make-up area light. Not knowing which switch controlled which light, she ended up flicking every switch til she found the ONE she needed. Her heavy sigh told me this is a chronic problem.

So we fixed her problem — right then and there.

Dressing Area multi-switch light panel

Now, if you know the story of the cobbler who’s kids went barefoot you will understand that just because I see “problem areas” in other people’s homes all day, this does not guarantee that I am a ruthless problem-solver in my own home. Spoiler alert: not every shelf, bin or basket in my home is labeled!

Truth is, not every shelf, basket or bin NEEDS to be labeled. If it is obvious what it is and if no one is having an issue finding what they need, then there is no problem. But confusion breeds stress. 

That same day, I went home and noticed myself doing the same thing to two of our three kitchen switches. That’s when I decided to do for myself what I do for others! So I labeled our switchplate. It’s been a game changer. The only thing I tweaked was what I called them; my daughter did not think “door” made sense so we revised the third switch and now everyone is happy.

Our kitchen is the hub of our home, but now that the weather is warmer, we are spending a lot more time on our front porch. 

Fast forward to the other day, when my husband texted to make sure I turned off the front pathway lights. Our guests had stayed late the night before and he didn’t want to waste electricity. In the daylight, I could not see if the lights were on or off… Couple that confusion with another multi-switch panel and my stress level was rising. Without a partner to check the outdoor fixture’s bulb, it was more exercise than I expected so early in the morning. I figured it out on my own, turned the pathway lights off and did what any smart organizer would do; I labeled each switch. 

This time, my family approved of every label AND my daughter commented the next morning how helpful it was to know which switch controlled which hallway lightl. She had stayed up later than all — not unusual for teenagers — and knowing that we sleep with our door open at night to give our dog freedom, she didn’t want to wake us with a bright light at the top of the stairs.

My labels helped protect my investment of time, saved our daughter from waking us andgranted me an un-interrupted night’s sleep!

Think of where a label or two could help your household function a little better, or brighter or maybe even ensure a better night’s sleep for you. Banish household confusion with a label or two; it’s illuminating 😉

This post was written for the Greater Philadelphia NAPO chapter. Shining a Light on Labels. Click here 

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