Clear the Clutter: Remove the Tags

Tags and labels don’t take up much space.

They’re visually distracting, though.

Until you stop noticing them, or you forget about them.

 And then one day you realize your vacuum still looks like the store model, and maybe it’s time to take off the tag.

The sign on the fence has been there long enough, perhaps. Maybe it’s time for that advertisement to come down.

And then remove the UPC sticker from the dish rack, once and for all, instead of noticing it yet again.

I don’t forget to take off the tags when I buy clothes, so it was funny how many tags are hanging around my house. Tags aren’t a big deal, but stuff looks better without them, and this is an easy way to visually simplify your home.

What tags can you find at your house?

clear the clutter

About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.

Comments

  1. Potted plant tags. What the plant is, how much sunlight it needs, etc.

    This might be OK if we were chronic plant killers, but some of these plant tags have been hanging around for months. I think if we’ve managed to keep it alive for this long we’ve earned the right to toss the care tags, right? =D
    Juliette´s last post…Free Cheer for Your Desktop

  2. I think it was 5 years after we installed new windows in this house when I finally went around and removed all the orange stickers on them. I’d become so used to them, I forgot they weren’t meant to stay there.

  3. Mover’s tags! In my case, some go back years and many moves ago!

  4. I keep a bottle of Goo Gone handy to remove those pesky labels.

    I have to admit though, I still have price tags on clothing bought but never worn. I figure if I never wear them and eventually give them away, the person enjoying them will know what a bargain they got. :D
    Donna´s last post…It’s REVEAL Time… Look What I Made With My Bead Soup!!

    • Karen (Scotland) says:

      Agree! Especially baby clothes. Must be so nice for some thrifty soul to think “Wow! Brand new outfit!”
      :-)
      Karen (Scotland)

    • We use Goo Gone at work to remove stickers from books. It’s genius! Sticky books are my biggest pet peeve, but I hate to leave the stickers on them. I’m seriously considering getting a bottle for home. I hate sticky residue.
      Jennie´s last post…Living Without Television

  5. Hm. I am pretty good at removing store tags but then I put labels on *everything*. I don’t think this constitutes clutter, but the labels are not all of the same type — which *is* a type of visual clutter. I don’t mind handwritten labels because my pretty neat, but perhaps it’s time to commit to a brand of sticky-labels and re-label my craft room storage boxes…
    Jennifer´s last post…K’s Holyoke Sweater complete

  6. I had never thought of this but it is a great idea. Just one more thing the eye trips over and has to process. Great idea, and great picture examples… I am going to have to go hunting around the house for some to remove :)

  7. Suzanne says:

    I am an OCD label remover. They are one of the first things I try to get off when I get something home. The labels I need to remove from sight are the ones on some of our pantry containers. I try to repurpose the rectangular ones and often I can’t get the residue off in a clean and clear fashion even with goo be gone. Would love some tips if other readers have them.

    • Debbie M says:

      To get the labels off glass jars (I save jars from peanut butter, pickles, and spaghetti sauce), I start by soaking them in water for a while. Often, some or all of the label comes off this way. Then, while it is still wet, try scraping it off, starting at the edges, with a metal spatula. Sometimes it all comes off very nicely, sometimes I do more soaking and more scraping to get it off. If there is still a thin layer of glue, I will scrub it off with an SOS-pad or copper scrubby.

      For regular stickers, I usually try rubbing alcohol first. Then occasionally I move up to lighter fluid. I haven’t tried goo be gone.

    • Labels area the first thing to go when I bring things into my home, unless it’s a food container. I don’t like to look at them. For glass jars that I save, I just soak them in the sink, peel what will peel off easily and then scrub the rest off. Sometimes I have to get a razor blade to scrap with but in the end it always comes off.

    • annie p says:

      try scrubbing of the sticky residue with cotton balls and rubbing alcohol. it worked for me on stainless steel containers. [also works for getting stubborn sticker-tattoos off children's skin.]

    • Janetta says:

      I always use turpentine for removing tags. If that doesn’t work, try methylated spirits.

    • Cooking oil works well to remove the sticky residue.

  8. I’m usually good about removing tags, but you’ve reminded me that we’ve got a bright blue manufacturer’s sticker on our new toilet that’s been there for 5 months. I think of it whenever I go in there & see it, but it needs some assistance to get it off, and I never remember to get back in there to take care of it.
    Sheila @ Seasoned Joy´s last post…One Bite at a Time: Project 20

  9. There are tags hanging from some storage baskets I bought about 8 years ago. I guess I’ve decided to keep them and can remove the tags!
    What a great topic. Very simple, but can make a big difference in how pleasing something looks to the eye.
    Bernice @ Living the Balanced Life´s last post…The voices in our head

  10. I’m bad for leaving tags on things. I never thought of it a clutter but you are right it is. I’ll have to see if I can find any to remove today.

  11. Tags off towels and wash cloths: I actually sat down one day and took off all the tags on towels and wash cloths and had two handfuls of tags. I figured I could fit an extra pair of socks in each load of towels now.

    • This cracked me up! I bet you’re right!
      Lori @ In My Kitchen, In My Life´s last post…Listen to Your Mother: Push Up Your Sleeves and Get to Work

    • LOL! But your socks will get linty :)

    • Here, here! I just finished removing tags from new dish cloths, dish towels, and pillows last month. And I can’t stand tags on wash cloths or bath towels, either.

      Quite frankly, I think that is a pet peeve of mine, because I have invested in Goo Gone and use it diligently. Supposedly, vinegar, will take tags off of things too, plus doing a multitude of other things. It just doesn’t smell as nice, but it’s economical and I use it to clean other things a lot.

      Plus, tags on the backs of cloths will be gone in an instant if they rub me the wrong way. I like those tops and T’s w/out the tags on the back of necks.

      So, Rachel, I am already there (with the tagless regime):D

      • @savvysusan: with you about the towel tags. The only problem is that cutting off the tage leaves a little bit remaining, unravelling slowly through various washes…

  12. The one area I especially notice them is in our books/movies/puzzles. I worked at a used bookstore for 6 years, & pretty much half of our possessions have price stickers from that store. Every time I take out a DVD or open a book, there’s a sticker! I keep thinking I ought to pull some off, but I never get around to it.
    Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm´s last post…Jumping the Shark: When Books Go Too Far

  13. You and I must be on the same wavelength, Rachel! I was working on tag removal this weekend–sticky tags in particular. I just posted on my blog this morning about a non-toxic Goo Gone replacement made of coconut oil and baking soda–I highly recommend it! I used it to finally remove the huge sticker that’s been on the front of my vacuum for the last year and a half….it’s so much nicer to look at now.
    Michelle´s last post…DIY Gunk Remover: Easy recipe to remove sticky adhesive residue

  14. Towels and washcloths. I always would get frustrated because my husband wouldn’t fold them so that the tags weren’t visible when they were stacked on the counter. What a stupid stressor to add to my marriage. A few minutes with the scissors and a seam ripper and now he can fold towels the “right way” with little to no effort.

    • You know, it never occurred to me take the tags off the towels and blankets. Instead, I am always trying fold them or put them on the bed so the tags won’t show. I know what I am going to do today.

      This also reminded of cardboard moving boxes that we find in our garage that are labelled from moves two or three houses ago and we have been in this house over 25 years.

  15. Danielle says:

    My current sticker crime? We have a state park pass in our front car window… from a state we haven’t lived in for 2.5 years! Must take goo gone out to the car and get it off today!

  16. I am unfortunately the queen of leaving tags on my clothes (as well as my kids’ clothes) and then wearing them! Thanks for the post!
    Erica {let why lead}´s last post…How to Make a Blog Book – Using Blurb

  17. I remove tags and stickers as soon as an item enters my home! I especially dislike the sticker tags but I scrub and scrub until all the sticky residue is gone!!

    Not having tags really makes items seem to belong instead of feeling like they need to go back to the store.

    • You’re right, I’m known to scrub and scrub the tags off of glasses and items in dishwater, too. That was before I discovered Goo Gone. It does help them blend end.

  18. Too funny. NONE in my house they drive me crazy,however my mom and my sister have them everywhere.

  19. I remember being a little girl the first time I noticed a “DO NOT REMOVE TAG” tag on my mattress and being the defiant little 8 year old that I was, I cut it off to see what would happen. Of course nothing did, I was quite disappointed of course, but to this day, 39 years later I still get a big thrill taking off the tags, on anything!

    My biggest pet peeve with tags? Why on earth do the stores have to put the stickiest of sticky tags right on the glass for picture frames? Any suggestions on how to remove them without having to soak the glass in warm sudsy water?

    • I always remove tags as soon as I bring something home. And it baffles me that people wouldn’t think to remove them. :)

      Andrea, I also get annoyed when store place tags on glass…hello? It wouldn’t be that hard to put it on the frame would it? Anyway, I’ve found that using a hair dryer helps. It takes a bit of time but if you put it on the hottest setting and hold it really close to the tag the heat will soften the glue and you can slowly peel it off. As I said, it will take some time but often if I am patient I can get the sticker off without any trace of residue.

      • Also, if you have WD-40, spray just a bit to the tag, it will soak it and it will remove the stickiness. I learned this on the web site wd40.com. It shows the 2000+ uses for WD-40. ^^

    • Rub some cooking oil or peanut butter into the sticker and let it stand overnight. Usually the sticker will rub right off. Then use window spray to remove the traces of oil.

  20. Tags are annoying for the all the reason you all have mentioned here.

    Does anyone has an idea on how to remember/store the washing and care instructions which are part of the label sometimes, esp. in pillows and cushions, blankets etc ?

    • Anu – Perhaps you could put a ‘Tag’ file in your file drawer/backet. That way you know right where they are and they are not causing extra clutter in a drawer.

    • I scan the tag and add it to my household instruction manuals folder on my computer (which is backed up to my portable hard drive just in case). ^^

  21. I can’t stand to see labels or tags! My biggest pet peeve is seeing the stickers that they put on the assemble-yourself furniture…my husband never takes those labels off after he is done assembling. Lots of other people don’t either I have noticed. Drives me crazy!

    I take the labels off of things immediately if I can.

    But I have lots of other things that set forever that I seem to just quit seeing…time to open my eyes!

  22. We have the same vacuum, minus the tags. :)
    Caroline Starr Rose´s last post…The Class of 2k13

  23. You are speaking my love language with getting rid of the tags! I feel the same about book jackets. I throw them away the minute I buy a book. My husband used to cringe, but I have seen him wrestle with a few book jackets and I think he is starting to coming around.

  24. Oh this is so up my alley! I have a disdain for tags & stickers. Even when I was a kid, I never stuck stickers to anything! I absolutely hate those little oval gold & black “made in china” stickers – for some reason those just twist my pretzel in a knot.

    Anyways, everything from appliances to clothing to bedding to pet supplies has had the tags and/or stickers removed and never has that resulted in causing problems.

    Don’t get me started on those mini-van stickers that tell the whole world exactly how to break into your house. The ones that show stick figures of your family & pets. I was behind one lady & I knew more about her family in the time it took the light to go from red to green. She had a husband (male stick figure)…who liked to offshore fish (male stick figure had offshore rod & reel). The mom liked to shop (female stick figure had bags & bags of purchases). They had 2 kids. Both boys. 1 cat. 1 dog. One of the boys attended a local elem school & played soccer (his schools emblem in a giant soccer ball with his first name & soccer jersey #). The other son attended a local middle school & played baseball (again, his school’s name, the kids name & baseball jersey # displayed in a giant baseball sticker). One of the parents attended Univ of Kentucky & 1 attended another KY school (each univ had a big giant sticker). 1 parent works at a government base (base sticker to allow entry). They live in a certain gated neighborhood (again, the entry sticker on the back window). The dog sticker clearly showed lap dog size dog- so no fears of a Rottweiler. Centered in all this was the lady’s monogram in hot pink curly-q lettering.
    Now if a intrepid thief was looking to case someone’s house – that would be the one. They know the kids names, the intials of the Mom, where Dad works, the neighborhood, the hobbies, the pet situation, etc.
    It’s stickers at its worse!

    • Kara E. says:

      Wow. I had never thought of car stickers that way before. Personally, I hate the visual clutter of car stickers…but you’ve certainly made a case for the bad people out there…

    • I do not like the T shirts with kids names on them. A stranger could walk up and use their name like a member of the family and walk away with the child. I also do not buy anything with ‘ names’ on it as I have bought it, it is mine and no names please. All those Coach and Dooney bags floating around, pretty but really? I have seen and become quit knowledgeable with a family simply with the stickers on their vehicle. I don’t even have where I bought my car on it just that it is some make. We are advertizing our lives and letting anyone know everything we are trying to protect.

      • It’s amazing to me how many folks have those car stickers with their kids names on them. Around here the latest trend are flip – flop stickers with each family members name on it.
        Maybe I’m from the day that you worried about stranger danger.

        As far as name brand labels are concerned – I have had the same simle black leather Coach bag going on 7 yrs now – its unadorned with no giant letter “C’s” or other garish optics and I even took off the “Coach” hang tag as it irked me.

  25. I love how fresh produce looks in a bowl on the table…but the stickers totally ruin bunch!
    Whenever I buy produce, I immediately remove the stickers. Much prettier :)

    • Kara E. says:

      Hehe. Good idea. I always arrange the fruit so that all the stickers are hiding.

      • When I was a teenager it was a fad get produce labels (new ones off the roll) and stick them all over your clothes.

  26. Love this idea!!!

    I never even thought about tags! I will open my eyes and start ‘removing’ :) Thanks for the good tip,x

  27. Meredith says:

    Wow! This is crazy timing! Just this weekend, I removed tags sticking out from TEN throw pillows in my house. As I was doing it, I remembered why I avoid it, because I ripped the seam in two pillows. My husband sewed them together, so all is well. But now that those are gone, I’m noticing them all over the house… like on the dog beds I’ve had for almost 2 years. Oops.

  28. Awesome Idea! Just a few months ago I removed the tags that were still hanging under my living room chairs. I hadn’t noticed them for months, but after removing them it made such a difference! Good Idea to apply to the rest of the house. Thanks again!
    Christyn@StrivingforSimple´s last post…No More Excuses: Time To Get In Shape

  29. I have a tag on the leg of a chair in my living room that has been there for years! I did try to peel it off once, but when it wasn’t easy I just gave up until “later…when I have time.” Which apparently means about 6 years later.
    Elizabeth@ReadySetSimplify´s last post…Love by Decluttering | The Master Bedroom Project – Before and After!

  30. I love this! I find tags annoying! One day I sat down with a scissors and removed them all while I folded towels and washcloths. It was quite satisfying! :)

  31. Oh the timing of your posts!!! We have had a grim day of decluttering school papers that magically accumulate during the year – a tough and unpleasant job for all of us!!! And every year we get a bit better at sticking and saving and tossing during the year – but still… they accumulate!!! Tomorrow I am going to lighten it up and play “hunt the tags!!!” (and scrub the walls… my kids love wall scrubbing)… clearly I am starting to think about school as we head out of summer… and getting back into shape around here!!!

  32. Kara E. says:

    This reminds me that I need to remove the tags from the towels again. A few years ago I did it, but since I’ve accumulated newer towels that contain all of those pesky tags. As for objects with sticker tags on them, I usually remove those right away because they are super ugly and annoying look at.

  33. Debra Kasel says:

    I’m also OCD about labels–and I have found that certain kinds on glass or plastic peel off much better immediately upon getting into my house. It’s as if the shop a/c or humidity level keeps the adhesive more removable. Once it’s sat in my house for a bit it’s harder.
    When I smoked the first thing to do with a new lighter was remove the sticker.
    Also, I remove dishsoap bottle labels, and I decant things wherever possible into pretty jars with (my) labels The colour, size, shape, and aromatic contents leave no doubt which is the jar of Vick’s Vaporub, and which is the Vasoline, for example. I already bought the product, they got my money, there is no need for products to continue to advertise at me in my own space.
    Obviously this doesn’t apply to chemicals or tins of food, but those I keep
    out of sight.
    I’m a bit OCD about it, really.
    I also refuse to wear clothing with anybody else’s name on it, from Roots to Chanel. I also refuse to buy souvenirs with the place name on it.
    Ok, when I collect all these statements in one place I begin to think maybe I’m a bit OTT about it all!

    • Rachel Meeks says:

      I refuse to wear logos or sayings on my clothes, too. I don’t want to be a walking billboard.

      • Wow, that is so interesting, because my 85 year old Dad feels the same way! I never thought about it, but it’s true. I suppose that makes me a billboard for the Beatles, as all my T’s are Beatle T’s. ^^

  34. This is an excellent post! Like a commenter mentioned, I was always nervous about removing mattress tags till I did it and nothing happened. The mattress police did not come and arrest me.

    I hate tags too and remove almost all of them. Yet sometimes I keep tags on sheets to know which is the top and the bottom when making the bed…as if it matters. But pillows, comforters, etc. are detagged the minute they come in the door. I also hate tags on extension cords and the little twinkle Christmas lights. They drive me nuts!

    • Gah! I’m soon with you on the little labels & stickers on twinkle lights & extension cords! Last time I bought an extension cord (a few weeks ago) I didn’t even yet pay for it before I was peeling off the 3 or 4 little labels.
      My neighbor friend has twinkle lights she keeps out year round that she stuffs inside clear vases & there they all are with the tags all hanging off them. argh!

    • Debbie M says:

      The top sheet has a wider hem on the top than on the bottom. The bottom sheet–I agree, it doesn’t matter.

  35. Labels come off immediately around here. Sometimes I regret that if I realize afterwards I have to return something…but it’s not usually an issue at the store. Might have to invest in that Goo Gone. Years ago when I worked at Laura Ashley I would remove the LA tag from dresses or blouses if they scratched my neck. I told a customer that once and she was horrified. Maybe she thought I went around with the tag hanging out to impress people…

  36. We STILL have the toilet labels on the renovated bathroom…2 years later. Every time I see I’m reminded I must get to it. But strangely it promptly leaves my mind as soon as I’m out of the bathroom door.

  37. My husband compulsively removes all tags as soon as an item enters our house! If not for him, I’d end up with tags everywhere so it’s nice to have him decluttering the tags for us.

  38. I am a fearless tag- taker-off-er! clothes, pillows, towels, and me personal worst tag offense – all those little stickers on every piece of frut! don’t get me started on people who “plant” those ugly plastic plant markers! unless it ‘s something special, think we can remember that we planted and spare the little gravestone markers!! HA!
    Deb´s last post…Broken Nose – The Bright Side

  39. I have a tree that was planted in my yard before I moved in 4 1/2 years ago. It is still hanging on the poor tree. I always think I will remove it when I walk by and see it, but obviously it hasn’t happened. Wow. I will go take care of it now.

  40. That reminds me, I should probably take the tag off my new orchid… what an awesome blog post idea. I do this ALL the time.

  41. eileen marie says:

    I have a VERY strange habit -I simply CANNOT remove tags from new clothing until I wear it. It makes getting dressed in a hurry interesting.

  42. I am probably the laziest person I know since I never remove the tags from blankets, comforters or pillows. I do from fruit an veggies since I wash these when I get them home but why not the new pillows? For the life of me my dyson still has the tag on it and I have had it for 10 years.
    I do reuse the pillow stuffing I in the old pillows I keep, yes I keep them, take them to the laundey mat and wash them in bleach and hot water, tumble them for about 50 cents worth and bring them home and hang them on the line or put them in a patio chair to dry for several days. I bring them in at night to keep the dew or wet off them and put them out for at least 3 days turning often during the day to dry the fibers inside. I then use them when I make my own pillows or stuffed dolls. I take the fill and gently tear it and that rewhips it into fluff again and then I stuff. I make ‘bears’ for cancer survivors and small children to have when they come home form the hospital after being cared for by many nurses and doctors. I run this fill in the pillow casing through the dryer on the hottest setting several times in the casing and then remove it, place it in linen and redry it in the sack I have made for the fill to tumble anything that is left in it like pockets of hard stuff. Maybe I should do something with those tags, maybe.

  43. Removing tags is the first thing I do when bringing home ANYTHING new. When I was pregnant I spent an hour trying to peel the price sticker cleanly from the back of a book. (Hormones make you CRAZY.) Sometimes I don’t buy things (like at IKEA) because the tags are too prominent and difficult to completely remove.

  44. THIS. And I hate it when the tags are so sticky and difficult to remove. I also sometimes remove the shirt tags because they tend to be itchy. I just saw this recently, I saw it in my hubby’s shorts, the paper tags were gone but the plastic tie was still there embedded in the shorts.
    Gene´s last post…A Family Challenge: Potty Training the Toddler

  45. I’m the worlds worst when it comes to removing tags. My mother would agree and gives me a hard time about these things all the time! One day I’ll get better….hopefully.

  46. Rachel Y. says:

    At first I thought I didn’t needed this one because I’m pretty good at removing tags. Then I remembered the toy chest we bought in November that has a tag still on it and drives me crazy everytime I see it. I never seem to be carrying scissors and so I walk by and it stays. I WILL remove it today.

  47. A little lighter fluid removes even the stickiest label residue in a jiffy! Just be sure to rinse well!

  48. oh my stars! I always removed labels but never asked myself WHY. Even in my pantry on the jars that came from the discount grocer, I prefer to remove price tags. I keep scissors in several rooms of the house so it’s convenient to cut labels off. This had been so subconscious until I read your post – thank you!
    Margo, Thrift at Home´s last post…The Cutter Quilt

  49. I obsessively take off the tags on anything new. To a fault, especially on clothes, since sometimes I need to take them back. And I get so annoyed when the sticky stuff doesn’t come off and leaves that nasty residue! Might as well have left it on, but no! It’s too late then.

  50. Oh I’m big about removing tags right away!I don’t like seeing bar codes or advertisements–gotta love Goop for removing the sticky residues!
    Kait Palmer´s last post…A Home

  51. Inspired by this post I finally removed the sticky labels that were all over some new windows we’ve had put in. I think I was putting it off because I knew they weren’t going to come off without a fight. In the end some hot water and a bit of elbow grease did the trick!
    CB @ One Acre´s last post…Growing Sweet Potatoes

  52. We moved into our house 16 months ago and both the toilet and the bathtub in our guest bathroom still have the big stickers on them from when they were installed. The sad part is that we are not the original owners of the house. The house was built back in October 2007! I have thought about removing them 1000 times, but I’ve never got around to it. Maybe I will pull out the Goo Gone and get it over with.
    Amanda @ The Scacchi House´s last post…Look Who’s Moving!

  53. Kate S. says:

    You’ll never find a tag in my house, unless you count the bardcodes on the dust jackets of my books: ) I remove the tags and any packaging from every item that comes in my door almost immediately–I can’t stand them!

  54. Oh I loathe tags! They are never in my house…thank goodness.

  55. electric cords have some huge tags!! those really bug me.

  56. Thank you for posting this. I detest those tags and I remove them from everything that I can. I even find myself pointing them out when I’m at someone else’s house. “You know you’re supposed to take that off” is a common phase that I find saying. It’s like people are only trying things out and really plan to return the item at some point. To remove the tag takes a step towards true pride of ownership to me.

  57. Love this! The first thing I do is take the stickers off of new storage boxes. So much potential!