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Label me a dutiful label-maker

There are two things in our house I would not want to live without: Sharpie markers and my label-maker.

Notice I say "my" label-maker, because while people always use the Sharpies, no one ever asks to borrow my label-maker.

Oh, sure, our daughter sometimes types out labels for me -- good spelling practice, I figure -- but no one sees the sense in labeling the way I do.

I label storage boxes in the basement. I label the baskets in the back hall closet that hold gardening gloves in one, rags in the other. I labeled our linen closet shelves "full," "twin" and "king" to help maintain order.

When I'm having a brunch or party, I even label my trio of glass carafes "Tomato juice" "Unsweetened iced tea" "Orange juice" -- notice the consistency of my capital letter usage -- and my coffee carafes "Regular" and "Decaf."

It's the uniformity of the labels I like. I put up with a fair amount of eye-rolling from family members but, frankly, I don't care.

On one hand, labeling creates a nice sense of order. On the other, I THINK I NEED TO STOP THIS!

Did I really just type that?

It was local professional organizer Linda A. Birkinbine -- a woman I have quoted in many stories -- who years ago introduced me to the new generation of label-makers.

I still remember my Dad's label-maker; the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, you know. It was one of those old-style Dymo models that click-click-clicked out the letters on the label.

The new ones produce such crisp, clean-looking labels. Mine is a hand-held model which makes it so convenient for carrying from floor to floor, room to room, closet to closet, cabinet to cabinet.

Birkinbine, being the professional organizer she is, shares my enthusiasm.

"I love my labeler," she told me on the phone Thursday.

"Do you want to know my favorite kind of label? One-half-inch tape with black letters on white," she continued.

But Birkinbine, who prefers Brother brand labelers, admits it's easy to go overboard.

She once labeled the shelves of her refrigerator with such things as "Condiments," "Drinks" and "Dairy."

"I got a lot of ribbing from my friends," she said. When it was time to replace the refrigerator, she backed off on the labeling.

At the same time, she recalled how her oldest daughter took it upon herself to label her own closet shelves and drawers to keep things orderly, as well as the ones in her younger sister's room.

"It warmed my heart," Birkinbine said.

As for me, I've been on a labeling roll lately because I have a couple reorganizing projects going on at home.

When the folks at Brother wrote this on their Web site -- "Label almost anything, anywhere" -- they were thinking of people like me. And Linda.

But, once again, my new wave of labeling has drummed up zero enthusiasm from the people with whom I make labels -- I mean live.

Frankly, I don't think they even notice anymore.

But if anyone is looking for a brand new pencil, a roll of tape, stickers, light bulbs, pegboard hooks or just about anything else, they don't even have to ask me.

All they have to do is R-E-A-D.

e-mail: smartin@buffnews.com

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