Posted by suevenman on Oct 18, 2013  

Does this sound familiar?

You’re looking for the gift you’ve been planning to give your sister. Maybe you stashed it upstairs in the hall closet when you had last-minute guests. You go upstairs and find a box on the top shelf tucked under a couple shoe boxes (photos? old baseball cards?), a precariously balanced deviled egg platter and what looks like a Christmas sweater box. You can feel your forehead tighten.

Your mind starts to churn. What’s in that box? Let’s see, it was probably last summer when you put it up there … hmmm … tick-tick-tick … whrrrrrr … buzzzzzzz … but the box really isn’t the right size, so maybe the present is in the bedroom closet. But then, what’s in this box? No time to take it down now: supper is on the table and then there’s that board meeting.

As you drive to the meeting you find yourself thinking about that box and mentally unpacking it. Maybe the present is smaller than you remember and it’s in the box after all. Grrrrr … tomorrow you’ll take the time to pull out the step ladder and get down the box and see what’s in it!

And what could have spared you all those additional grey hairs? Labels! A simple old black marker can save so much conscious and unconscious brain-drain. When you stash anything in a box, label it with its contents and stash-date; even if you’re only putting it there for now, because for now often becomes forever. Label on the front, side and top, in case the box gets shifted. If its contents are secret, then mark it so you’ll understand or cross reference to a list on your phone or in your desk drawer.

Cheaper than a therapy session, more reliable than our aging memories and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound (well, maybe not): labels are the simplest solution in the books. Because life is too short to fret about what’s in the box.

P.S. Just comment below if you ever have a question about one of these tips. I’d love to hear from you!

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