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July 10, 2008

I Love My Labeller!

Okay I confess. I'm a compulsive labeller. A few years ago, against my husband's wishes, I bought a Brother P-Touch and I love it. If I thought I could get away with it I would probably label everything in the house.

My friends and family shake their heads when they see all the storage shelves in my basement labelled "Paper Towels" "Kleenex" "Water" "Dog Food". Clear plastic tubs labelled "Light Bulbs" "Party Stuff" "Tape" sit on storage shelves.

My electrician loves me. All my fuse panel switches are neatly labelled "Mud Room" "Kitchen" "Bedroom lites". We recently had our electric panel redone and another one added, and the electrician called me to the basement to start printing labels so she could put them on the new switches.

I should explain that I don't label things because I am organized. On the contrary I am DISorganized! I label them because if I don't I can't remember what is IN tubs or boxes. My husband tends to put items wherever there is an empty space on a shelf or in a cupboard, then I can't find them. With shelves labelled "Paper Towels" he knows that even if that spot is empty, I'd rather he didn't store his work tools there.

This year I discovered the joys of Genealogy labelling. Let me first explain that I have two large lateral filing cabinets about 6 feet wide with a total of 6 drawers, all for my genealogy papers and documents. They are full. Crammed full. I also have several large plastic tubs of unfiled genealogy papers and documents. Combine that with 3 hanging file folder racks with my ongoing work and research and you have a mess. I tend to grab whatever is handy and scribble a file name on a folder, then pop it in to a hanging folder, one of those that is supposed to have a plastic tab identifying the contents. But I rarely get around to that, or if I do it's in an assortment of coloured pens, pencils, markers....

Because I am trying to work on a series of genealogy books, I realized I have to be more organized and efficient. Also my personal genealogy was rapidly becoming overwhelmingly cluttered and disorganized!

It didn't take me long to realize I could put my labeller to good use. I spent a happy weekend going through ALL my genealogy files, sorting, tossing, and reorganizing. With each folder I reorganized, I immediately created a label - big and easy to read, and neatly printed on my P-Touch instead of in my scribbly handwriting.

After putting everything back in the filing cabinets and hanging folders, I was thrilled because now I can READ the labels and see what files are in each drawer. With my bad eyesight this has been a boon in easily finding items in the bottom drawers in particular.

All the files look so neat and professional that now I am inspired to actually work on my genealogy! No more frantic hunting for that one document I KNOW I found last time I was in Salt Lake City.... but where oh where did I put it!

1 comment:

Ancestor Collector said...

Thank you for posting this about the P-Touch Labeller. I use an EXCEL file to "drive" what my P-Touch prints using a template label. I have a format for normal "home" use and another for "genealogy". The EXCEL file lets me know that I have or don't have a File already and where that folder is located.

My question, and I am sorry if I missed it on your Blog, is HOW do you file your folders in your filing cabinet? By person, geographic location, topic?

I have next to my computer a small plastic file for my active folders and am trying to organize the folders that are not active. But, I want to be able to find them using a filing system that others may have used. Mine haven't worked (yet).

Thank you,