Stupid Little Things is all about the random cheapies, odd tricks, and miscellaneous things that make my day.
I burn like a lobster, so keeping a stash of top-notch sunscreens is second nature to me now. (Let me know if an updated "sunscreen collection" post would be useful, by the by--I have no idea if that helps anybody.) But most sunscreens lose their potency after two years. I can't risk it, so I've labeled my sunscreens, listing the month and year they were opened. Originally, I did this with masking tape; it was cheap, easy, and readily available.
The problem with masking tape, though, is that it's a bit wider than I'd like; it took up a wee bit too much space on smaller bottles. The Sharpie I used to write out the dates also tended to bleed if it came in to contact with water, and since I like to go to the lake, my sunscreens bump up against a lot of water. And on a purely aesthetic level, it looks kinda crappy.
So I bought myself a label maker. There are a slew of options on the market; DYMO alone sells a half dozen models. Some of them are over $75 because they allow you to create bar codes, change the label font, and print up to four lines of text. My needs are pretty basic, though, so I went with the cheapest model: the LM160, which you can bundle with two extra tape cassettes for $20. (I use rechargeable AAAs in mine, but if you want something with a built-in rechargeable battery, the LM280 is still relatively affordable and has the same basic functionality.)
I love this stupid thing. The 1/2" tape is the perfect size for most of my bottles and tubes, including even the tiniest containers of face sunscreen. I've also marked opened-on dates for my new foundations, and I've labeled most of my travel bottles. When your face cleanser, body wash, hair conditioner, and moisturizer are all a creamy white color, labeling is almost a matter of life and death. I've accidentally used hair conditioner on my face before and that shit stings when it gets in your eyes.
I don't just label beauty products, though. I've labeled my closet, which has always had a rough order, but now has broad categories. (Yes, the closet is very banged up. I live in an old house.) I've put my name on the insides of my textbooks, on my bag of white erase markers, and on my wireless USB mouse, since those items often go mysteriously missing from the teacher's desk, but the mystical power of a last name seems to scare off potential thieves. I used to write my first name and phone number on my bus passes, but now that they've switched from paper punch cards to reloadable plastic cards, I've slapped a DYMO label on it instead. My tech-obsessed dad borrowed it to label remotes and wires for his home entertainment system. (I also tagged his pillbox with the words "shitbag programmer," which he finds hilarious. We have a weird sense of humor.) I've labeled samples for friends and family members. I've loaned it out to people keeping track of their storage boxes. Seriously, I get way more use out of this thing than I ever thought I would.
That said, I will make one recommendation: get the extra tape. The cassette that came with the machine lasted way longer than I expected, and I'm only on my second cassette, but you can definitely run through them in record time if you're making a ton of labels.