Find: Removable Labels Restore Order and Sanity

Unless you purchase supplies for your own business or for the office, you may never have noticed these removable labels from Avery at the office supply store. Even if you had, you would probably have assumed they were only useful for file folders or routing slips. Au contraire! These have so many uses for busy BirminghamMoms.

These are a marvelous alternative to post-it notes, which tend to curl and detach easily from anything that requires frequent handling. These removable labels adhere completely to a surface, making them less likely to be ripped off inadvertently or become ratty with wear. Here are some favorite uses:

Label (and re-label) drawers, bookshelves and bins with no fear of  sticky residue. Besides helping young kids recognize and understand words, your labels will help everyone keep things straight and in order. Use them to label bins around the house and you won’t have a mess when it’s time to change labels to reflect new contents or owners. These are perfect for when you need to re-label bins from size 2T to 3T or assign stored clothes to the next lucky hand-me-down recipient.

Attach directly to your library book covers. They’ll peel right off, leaving no residue, but you will have an insistent reminder of how much time you have to finish your book before it is due.

Place on a gift card to keep track of your declining balance. If you know you’ll be using a card again and again, this is an easy way to stay mindful of how much spending power you have left. Of course, if there were ever a dispute, only a receipt from the merchant would be helpful. But if you aren’t likely to keep track of a receipt or if you don’t want to be left to wonder later whether the card has any remaining value, a label is your answer. Especially consider a label if you have a medical flexible spending account card with a pre-set limit (and include a reminder to yourself to submit your receipts for reimbursement).

Another idea: Keep a label on your credit or debit card to keep track of expenditures between payments, especially if you’re not inclined to log in to your account frequently between billing cycles.

Reminders. Your child’s caregiver can read “please offer with cereal” on a food packet and be reminded of your wishes even before she checks your morning notes. Alternatively, you can use these as reminders to help you cope with motherhood-induced memory loss (when will the medical community acknowledge this phenomenon?), especially on objects requiring repairs, returns, approvals, etc. You can peel the reminder off without a trace once you’ve taken care of…what was it again?

Instructions for school notes, etc. A larger removable label is perfect for multiple-step instructions or even short correspondence. A sticky note is likely to detach inside a slinging backpack, but these labels will stay secure, especially on objects like the plastic folder pictured.


Inside decanters. This is one of my favorite uses for these labels. I like to decant dry goods like pasta, beans, etc. to keep the pantry neat and the contents protected. However, I don’t always trust myself to remember the exact measurements or cooking times for things like rice, waffle mix, and so on. One of these labels with a few notes tucked inside the lid keeps me cooking and keeps the pantry clear. When I wash the decanter or replace the contents with something new, I just peel off the label. The labels also adhere well to dishes in the freezer (“bake 45 minutes at 375″).

As originally intended: file folder labels. How many times have you seen people prepare folders to gather every document required for a 30 minute meeting, then toss the folder afterward because the meeting achieved its objective but the folder label is now outdated? I would bet I have seen hundreds of manilla folders thrown away even though they were in pristine condition other than the label. A removable label allows you to reuse the folder for the next meeting (regrettably) or, much better, the final memo outlining the objective that was accomplished.

The line of Avery removable labels includes several sizes. My favorite product versions are labels #6461 (1″ x 2 5/8″) and 8066 (standard size file label). Make sure you purchase REMOVABLE labels; they aren’t the same as those marked “easy peel.”