The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

How to Organize Itty-Bitty Video Game Cartridges

I have a label maker and I’m not afraid to use it.

In fact, when all else fails, I enjoy printing out a label and sticking it on something… anything really. It gives me a reassuring sense of control in a world where I frequently feel very out of control. And I like that. Notice the “label maker” label on the label maker. I did that. See?

Let me tell you a little story about my label maker and me. Two of my kids have Nintendo DS hand-held gaming systems. Very cool toys. We’re big fans. My only complaint is that the game cartridges that go into these things are teeny-tiny. Each cartridge is about the size of a postage stamp. I think those evil geniuses at Nintendo designed that on purpose so kids would lose their cartridges and have to buy new ones. But think again, buckaroos. At $20-$30 a pop, there is no way in hell I’m gonna let my kids lose those things. And thus, with the help of my trusty label maker, a business card holder, and some packing tape, I devised a handy-dandy DS Cartridge Library. TA-DAH!!

This beacon of organizational bliss is hanging on the inside of one of our upper kitchen cabinets… far out of the reach of my 3 year old who calls the cartridges “tickets” and likes to insert them into heating vents. We have one rule – one game in, one game out. This way, with a glance, I can tell which games are being used and the kids are less likely to just leave them lying around for the dog to ingest and make into poo-sculptures in the back yard.

Now the funny thing, if you ask me, is that when my friends come over and reach into my cabinet for a glass and see this system, they always go “OH! Oh my! How surprising! You’re SO ORGANIZED!” And truly, it is shocking, because less than 18 inches from this system, you are likely to find a kitchen counter top that looks like this:

Wow. Look at that. Impressive, no? My husband and step father don’t call me Kudzu for nothing. I really wasn’t kidding when I said I was chosen for Oprah’s “Clean Up Your Messy House Tour” in 2009. I really was. Seriously. I was on the Oprah show. Well, my voice was, along with several pictures of me, my lovely family, and my messy home. You can see it did me a whole lot of good. Not.

But underneath all this clutter, the least significant parts of my life are really quite organized. And my label maker has a lot to do with that. Maybe I can’t find the permission slip for the school field trip, maybe I forgot to pay the homeowner’s association dues, maybe my dog digested the USB cable to my daughter’s new camera, but dammit, I know where every single DS cartridge in my home is. And so do my kids. And that is one less thing for me to worry about on a daily basis. Every little bit helps, right?

So, dear reader, on this dreary Tuesday, my “Just the Tip” idea for you today is to get out that label maker and tackle one hot spot in your home. You’ll feel better. I promise. But don’t be a dumbass like me and pick the smallest, least significant thing you can think of. Pick something big and go make a difference.

Can’t see the forest… I’m still picking up the pine needles,


© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris

18 comments on “How to Organize Itty-Bitty Video Game Cartridges

  1. Laura
    January 25, 2011

    This is hilarious! You are my kind of girl LOL.


    • The Bearded Iris
      January 26, 2011

      Thanks for stopping by, Laura! I love your website!

      (Hey guys – she’s a REAL professional organizer and published author!
      Check her out!)

  2. laura lee
    January 27, 2011

    i missed what was typed on your label maker the first time… hahah!

    • The Bearded Iris
      January 27, 2011

      Thanks for noticing! And commenting! Yes, I’m trying to be sneaky with my four letter words these days. It’s just not right for my 3 year old to have the vocabulary that he does. Poor thing. At least with the speech impediment, nobody can understand him when he’s cussing them out.

  3. Sue
    February 5, 2011

    Oh thank you!!! I popped in from over Laura’s site – Organizing Junkie…. love the label maker …. Might have to print some of those 4 letter words & stick them around the house in sneaky places. And thank you for posting pics of your kitchen. Mine looks much the same…. but open the silverware drawer & D*mn!! It is the most beautiful spectacle of organization you ever saw. ‘Cause you know, that’s what I like to do…. organize on the sly…. so no one will notice…. I’ll be popping back in & saying hello from time to time… keep up the good work!!! And I’ll try & do the same at my house…

    • The Bearded Iris
      February 5, 2011

      Love it!

      Why are we like this? Are we afraid to succeed? Are we purposefully choosing small hidden ways to be fabulous because we don’t want the pressure of realizing our full potential? Where is Dr. Phil when I need him? I am clearly one messed up puppy. But damn if my sock drawer isn’t the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen.

      Thanks for reading and relating to the crazy! I appreciate it! 🙂

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  5. Heidi
    February 15, 2011

    I had to do a double take and make sure that wasn’t MY kitchen counter in your post! It could be its twin today! And yesterday, and the day before that……
    My husband wants me to label the cabinets with my label maker so he can put away dishes. 🙂 I thought it was dumb until it dawned on me that maybe then he would actually UNLOAD the dishwasher! Or, at the very least it would eliminate his excuse for not unloading it!
    Love your DS game idea.

    • The Bearded Iris
      February 15, 2011

      LOL! I thought I was the only one with a kitchen like that! At least that’s what my mother tells me.

  6. nicole@muchmorethanamom
    February 15, 2011

    I love this – super idea!

  7. Deanne
    February 15, 2011

    Love the post! And that is a great idea! We have two ds systems as well. What I love most about your system is that instead of putting them back into their original cases where you can’t see them, you put them in something clear that you can see at a glance what is and isn’t there. Love it!

    Also, those so-called teeny tiny cartridge holders that ds makes for the games – even those are way tiny. It’s just an easy way to lose four games at once instead of just one. Yeah, sign me up for that! (as if!)

    And finally, I just wanted to say that I love the writing style of your blog! Very entertaining and real and down to earth. Totally awesome!

    • The Bearded Iris
      February 15, 2011

      Thanks Deanne! I totally agree with you about those tiny cartridge holders! True story – one of my girlfriends had one of those travel storage pouches that holds the DS system and tons of games (I think 10-20 slots). Well her husband took the kids to one of his soccer matches and the kid left the whole pouch there… we’re talking over $300 worth of goods GONE FOREVER. Can you imagine?! I’d be so mad!

      Thanks again for stopping by and sharing the love!

      • Deanne
        February 15, 2011

        Okay, I linked over from Laura’s blog about an hour ago and have been here reading for the entire time. And even at some points *attempting* to read bits and pieces aloud to my husband. Who now thinks that both you and I are insane. You’re welcome, by the way. The reason for him thinking that is because there were some posts that I was trying to read to him without having pre-read them and would burst out laughing, have to start over, burst out laughing again, rinse and repeat until I literally had tears streaming down my face. That was awesome! Do you have any idea how long it has been since I have laughed like that? Well, no, I guess you wouldn’t. An hour ago, neither of us even knew that the other existed. But suffice it to say, it has been awhile! Thank you so much for the fun read! And for the chance to get to know you and your family as well!

  8. Martha(MM)
    February 16, 2011

    Oh yeah, we could be BFFs! Really enjoyed this post! 🙂

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  11. oneshabbychick
    February 28, 2011

    OMG. LOL. I needed that.

  12. Megan
    March 18, 2011

    Oooh, this is the first time I’ve run across this on your blog. Good idea.

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This entry was posted on January 25, 2011 by in organized, practical and tagged , , , , .
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