How we labeled our garage storage tote bins with humidity-friendly products so our whole family can find what they’re looking for without even having to open lids first.
We are knee-deep in a garage cleanup and organizing project here at Cardinal Hill (AKA our house), and I just finished up labeling all the tote bins. I recently swapped out the mismatched random-sized tote bins for identical 66-quart clean bins with latch handles, and that has made such a huge impact on the look and feel of the room.
Even though the totes are clear, labels are still a necessary addition. You can fit a lot in a 66qt bin, and you won’t be able to see it all at a glance. So here’s the two-step process we used to get our most organized categorization system ever.
Vinyl Category Labels
The first thing I did was make category labels for every tote bin using my Cricut machine. I used the Cricut Explore 3 for this project, but any Cricut machine works fine. And if you don’t have a smart cutting machine at all, you can always order custom labels off Etsy. There are a lot of sellers who will make labels just like these with their own machines and save you the work of designing them yourself.
I used the Labels To Make page from the Organized-ish Garage Cleanup Planner and listed out every label title that needed to be cut. I also measured the tote bins to get a maximum height and width for each label.
Once that list was complete, I created the labels using removable Smart Vinyl, weeded the excess material, and installed them on the totes using transfer tape. I placed them in the top-third section of the tote front to leave room for the next label.
QR code Labels
The second labeling step I used was the addition of a QR Code sticker. I found this 45-piece set of QR labels on Amazon for under $12, and I scooped up three packs. These labels will help my family and me find a specific item quickly and easily without having to open lids and push things around.
The QR code labels work with a corresponding app. Once downloaded, you just scan the QR code with your phone’s camera to define what’s inside. I recommend giving the QR code setting the exact same name as the vinyl title you installed earlier to keep things cohesive.
QR Label Scan Function
Inside the app, you can list out exactly what’s inside the tote bin and even upload photos of the items if you’d like. Once your QR code labels are all categorized and the items are listed, you can use them two ways. The first method is simply scanning the QR code on the outside of the bin. You’ll immediately see the full list of what’s in it.
QR Label Search Function
The other method is the search function. You can search within the app for a specific item, and it will tell you exactly which tote bin it’s located in. This is especially helpful for seasonal items and multiple totes that hold the same category. It also helps other family members find what they need without having to ask whoever organized them all in the first place.
Our Organized Storage Totes
Here’s a quick before photo of how our storage totes looked before we swapped them out and labeled them…squint hard, because they’re all stacked and crammed back in a corner that I couldn’t even get to.
And here’s how they look now that they’re all clear and beautifully labeled!
I can’t even tell you how much this has changed the entire look and feel of our garage. The totes before were stacked on top of each other like the leaning tower of randomness, and now each bin is placed and filled intentionally.
Some of the old bins I found only had a few things inside, and others were stuffed full of things from all different categories. Now I can find anything I need whenever I need it, without having to risk getting pummeled by unsteady falling bins or opening six boxes just to find what I’m looking for.
More Of Our Garage Cleanup Project
Want to see more of the garage cleanup project? I’ve been documenting the whole project over on Instagram in my Stories, so head over to watch my Highlights @lelaburris to get caught up on what we’ve done so far. And for all the tutorials and projects I’ve done, visit this page on the blog to get the step-by-step process. Looking for product links? All the products I have purchased and used are saved in my LTK here.