Friday, January 22, 2010

I be looking for labels

Cleaning is one of my least favorite activities, as I have said before here and in many, many other places. However, it must be done, particularly since Baby #2 is soon to arrive and should probably, you know, be allowed to live in a relatively germ-free environment. (Of course, he's been living in my womb, which is a germ-rich environment if ever there were one, but that's neither here nor there, is it?) One of the ways I make cleaning palatable, especially for big jobs (say, all of my house at once) is new organizational helps and/or accessories. I'm just sayin': I have found that a new set of decorative pillows or a new basket to corral stuff really helps me catch the vision of clean in a given room!

So one of the places that needs to be cleaned and organized, though it is definitely last on the list, since no one really goes in this room but me, is my office/library. The books, thankfully, are more or less organized, though I do need to do a *gasp* purge in there pretty soon and just give away those books I know I will never read and/or refer to again. Beyond the books, however, this room is the depository of the following: craft supplies, boxes that once housed electronics, Christmas/holiday decorations, stationary supplies, photos and memorabilia, household objets d'art too fragile to display with toddlers, gifts for upcoming gift giving occasions, gift wrapping supplies, my sewing machine and sewing supplies, important papers such as tax documents and insurance reports, appliance warranties, and whatever else needs a temporary home until we figure out what to do with it. Most of this is in boxes of various shapes and sizes and either holed up in the closet of displayed on open shelving. The open shelving stuff is lovely; the boxes are a mish-mash of what we had on hand when the need arose. And nothing, NOTHING is labeled.

So I am on a labeling mission, for several reasons. One, I want to know exactly what I have in there so I don't accidentally rebuy things. Two, I want someone besides me (as in the husband) to be able to find things in that room if necessary. Right now, he can't even fit past the doorway, let alone procure something should I need him to. Third, space is becoming a huge commodity for us, and the husband refers to that space as "the wasted room," which I'm pretty sure hurts its feelings.

I've settled, after consultation with my sister-in-law, graphic designer and craft business guru, on stamped Japanese colored masking tape. The masking tape was my idea; I'd seen it a while ago and thought it would be great for labels, but then I had to come up with some idea for how to get writing on the tape short of using my own less than desirable handwriting. My SIL suggested acrylic alphabet stamps after I told her I was envisioning something like an old school library date stamp only with letters instead of numbers. She brought up a number of practical problems with such a device, though she did think they had existed at one point, and pointed me towards acrylics and/or small wooden stamps and told me exactly where to find them in my local craft store. And I mean EXACTLY: she told me to look by my knees for the acrylics and up and nearby for the others in clam shell packaging, which is exactly what I found. And, miracles of miracles, I also found my library stamper! Up to 10 characters in all caps! A labeling (and cleaning) extravaganza is about to ensue!

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