MUM HACKS: Labelling Everything For School

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MUM HACKS: Labelling Everything For School

The time for school to start again is nearly upon us, and for mums (and dads) everywhere this means it’s time once again to spend way too much money on all the essentials that kids need for school. We know, everyone tries to save as much as they can on these items, from stationary to backpacks, uniforms to lunchboxes, but the costs can hurt any family budget.

So you can just imagine, if not remember, the frustration of your child coming home from school without one of these necessity items because they’ve ‘lost it’ and they ‘can’t remember where they put it’.

This is where labelling comes in.

Reasons To Label

If you don’t currently label your child’s school items, there really has never been a better time to start than right now.

Let’s be honest, children are like tiny goldfish that walk this earth with us. Their memories might be imaginative, but they’re often unreliable. This is even true for younger children, who are often so easily distracted it’s a wonder they come home with their heads attached. This is exactly why so many parents swear by labelling. When you label your child’s belongings, it doesn’t matter what they see fit to do with them, there is a much greater chance that they’ll be returned to you.

It might seem a bit over the top, but we all know how expensive it is to replace items, particularly when they’ve only been in use a short time. Labelling makes sense, so the only question now is how will you do it?

Photo Credit: Unsplash

DIY Labelling Options

There are a few different options for parents who want to make their own labels or take the DIY approach to labelling. Let’s look at a few.

Permanent Marker

For parents wanting the quick and easy method of labelling your child’s things, the permanent marker is the perfect solution. You can use it on everything from uniforms to lunchboxes, and while it’s a bit repetitive it ensures that your child’s things are not getting away from them. We recommend a smaller point marker for clothing, as wider runs tend to run.

Fabric Paint

When labelling uniforms, some parents have found that fabric paint is a good option. This is even more true now that fabric paint ‘markers’ are available, which provide the staying power of fabric paint without the hassles of paintbrushes and the like. Just make sure you allow your paint to fully dry before washing, and consider label placement to avoid chafing.

Packing Tape Transfers

If you’re looking to get a little arty with your labels, then packing tape transfers could be just what you’re looking for. These aren’t suitable for all your child’s school items, but would work perfectly for lunchboxes, hard stationary, water bottles and so on. All you’ll need are a few printed labels, some packing tape and a bit of time. Get the full tutorial here.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Alternative Labelling Options

Some parents are happy to spend a little on their labels, and if that is the case some alternative labelling options available include:

Sew-on/Iron-on Labels

Ideal for any cloth that needs a label, sew-on labels or iron-on labels are a fantastic option. You can order these online in bulk to be printed with your child’s name, and then you can either iron them on or break out the sewing machine to hold them in place. They really do last, and sew-on labels can be picked out and reused if you feel so inclined.

Label Stickers

Just like sew-on and iron-on labels, parents can also choose to order label stickers online for their labelling needs. These are particularly good for lunchboxes, water bottles, stationary and so on. Try and opt for more vinyl or heavy-duty labels on items that you intend to last the year or that will be dish-washed, as cheaper versions can come unstuck or simply disintegrate.

Label Maker

For those parents looking for a long-term option, the label maker is probably the best way to go. With a comparatively small upfront investment, parents can have the ability to make labels for many items right at their fingertips. Of course, for labels that don’t offer ‘reprinting’ options (like embossers) the process can be quite time consuming, but it does certainly better the odds of getting lost things returned.

Label Stamp

This is a relatively newer labelling option that is getting traction. You order a stamp with your child’s name and you just use it to Stamp on the childs clothing, bags etc. If it wears off it doesnt matter – you can just stamp again.

Photo: Unsplash

Labeling School Items and Books


If you have the time and the inclination, school books can be covered in contact. It’s a bit fiddly, but once you get the hang of it – you will be on a roll (see what I did there?). You can even pay someone to cover your books in contact for you. Just put a shout out on your schools Facebook group – or local Facebook group – and I bet you could find someone to do it for you for a nominal fee.

Pre-made book covers

This is what I have gone with this year – you can buy the pre-made covers from office works or a good stationary store. They just slip straight on and save hours of work!


You can get stickers labels for pencils, but I don’t think you can beat the 80s version of pencil labeling… Scraping the end down to the wood and writing the name on it. It cant come off that way!

So, tell us, do you bother with labelling your child’s items? Or is there some other method you use to keep your child’s things in their own hands? Personally, I think it would save ALOT of time and trouble if we everything was just communal in the classroom… 

What do you think? Have you labelled everything yet?



Katie -


Katie is the Managing Director and Editor of Mums of Brisbane. Most days will find her drinking copious amounts of coffee, cuddling her kids and trying not to step barefoot on lego. Katie lives in Beautiful Brisbane with her husband and four gorgeous children.