The Power of Labels
If you were to walk around my house, it wouldn't be immediately obvious that I have a handheld label maker, but it wouldn't take that long to figure it out either. The first time you opened my fridge to find milk for your coffee, or a drawer to find a pencil to jot down something, you'd see that someone in this house is very fond of Helvetica. That someone would be me.
As with any conversion experience, it kind of defies second-hand explanation. You're just going to have to trust me. Labelling things works. Magic. When things have an official home, they tend to find their way back there. There's something about the shiny printed letters that confers authority, and in the case of kids' oddities (above) and mom's office supplies, respect.
I paid $10 for my handheld P-touch by Brother from buy.com. If you are willing to wait a few weeks, you can score one at that price too, by subscribing to an alert from dealnews.com. It comes around about once a month. If you're having an organizational emergency, and you need one now, you can find it on Amazon (I get a small referral fee through this link),for a few dollars more. It has all the features I need, and it slips into my tool belt.
The only way I could love it more is if it vibrated.