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This Organization Hack Can Improve Your Foreign Language Skills

by Calli Zarpas
Improve your foreign language skills

I don’t know about anyone else, but ever since I started spending more time at home it seems like there are million little things to do around the house like, DIY projects I never had the energy for, decluttering my closet after months of saying, “I’ll do it next weekend,” and organizing the parts of my life that were always easier to just keep a little messy. More recently, I’ve found myself filling my days with little projects and checklists because it adds a little routine to my timeless days at home. And luckily, the Cabin Reliever Challenge has kept me full of ideas. 

So, yesterday when I was looking up some organization tips, I noticed a lot of articles suggesting labeling items around your home. I saw pictures of people who were labeling the folders in their desks by subject, labeling the tops of their spices to better search from above, and labeling storage boxes in their attic. I’m always thinking of ways to hack my language learning, which is one of the reasons why I love Rosetta Stone’s manageable lesson lengths and their activities that easily slip into my day-to-day routines. So, when I found an organization hack that could double as a language-learning hack, I thought, parfait

Thus began my journey to start labeling things around my house in the language I’m trying to learn, so that I can stay a little more organized all while staying on top of my language learning. During my labeling journey, I ended up adding a mixture of French and Greek words around my apartment because as I get farther along in my French-learning journey, simple words in French like riz are better replaced with ρύζι (ree-zee), or rice in Greek, but in this article I’m just going to share my French translations.

The great thing about having labels around your house is that it’s a really good way to sneak a language lesson into your day-to-day routine, and it’s really helpful if you’re a visual learner. If you want to give it a try you’re going to need tape, and either a printer or a marker. The easiest way to label things without damaging the object you’re labeling is to use washi tape, or masking tape. You can either write your word directly on the washi tape with a marker, or pen, or print out some labels and stick them to your objects with the tape. 

So without further ado, here are 25 things you can label around your house in French:

1. Refrigerator shelves, bins, and drawers

Labeling in your refrigerator is perfect for anyone who is losing things in their refrigerator and then finding them a couple days too late stuffed behind a jar of pickles, or buying something that they already had in their fridge. Here are a few things in your refrigerator you can label:

  1. Condiments: Les condiments
  2. Dairy products: Les produits laitier
  3. Meat: La viande
  4. Eggs: Les œufs
  5. Leftovers: Les restes 

2. Storage bins

This is one of the most obvious things to label on this list, but if you’ve moved multiple times things might be a little more mixed up than you’d like. In my house growing up we had Halloween decorations in our cardboard boxes labeled “X-mas” and my mom’s old dolls in a box labeled “kitchen” from all of our moves. So if you’re looking to reorganize, why not turn it into a language-learning session by labeling in another language as you go? Plus, it’ll be a good quiz every time you go back to get something out of storage. For this one I labeled the bins in my bathroom since I don’t currently have an attic or storage room, but you can label any bins you’d like. 

  1. Towels: Les serviettes
  2. Medicine: Les medicaments
  3. Beauty products: Les soins de beauté 
  4. Cleaning supplies: Les produits d’entretien
  5. Hair styling tools/products: Les soins de cheveux 

3. Drawer Dividers

Drawer dividers are a game changer when organizing any drawer from your kitchen to your bedroom. I know I’m guilty of having a junk drawer in my kitchen, and having a drawer divider with labels can help keep you from digging through those loose batteries, rubber bands, and screwdrivers. I decided to label the drawer divider in my kitchen, so here are some of the vocab words I used.

  1. Forks: Les fourchettes
  2. Knives: Les couteaux
  3. Teaspoons: Les cuillères à sucre
  4. Tablespoons: Les cuillères à café
  5. Miscellaneous: Divers

4. Pantry Zones

Like the refrigerator, the pantry is an easy place to lose food in. I know I’ve been guilty of buying flour to make some sort of dessert to get home and find a bag of flour that was hiding behind a big tin of sugar all along. Lucky for us, the pantry is one of the easiest places to organize because you label baskets, bins, reusable containers, and even the shelves themselves. 

  1. Canned goods: Les boîtes de conserve
  2. Baking supplies: Les produits de pâtisserie
  3. Snacks: Les snacks
  4. Spices: Les épices
  5. Dry goods: Les denrées non périssables 

5. Spices

After you’ve labeled the section in your pantry (or maybe in one of your drawers or your cupboard), you can individually label all of the spices you have. This is especially great for anyone who buys their spices in bulk and has them in English labeled jars already. If not, you can definitely just put a new label over the brand’s label. 

  1. Garlic: L’ail
  2. Cinnamon: La canelle
  3. Salt: Le sel
  4. Pepper: Le poivre
  5. Turmeric: Le curcuma

P.S. Don’t get too down on yourself if you don’t have it in you to organize and label your entire house, I just hope you were able to learn a few new words by reading about this activity either way. Also, if you want to try a less intense labeling session, sticky notes are a great alternative. Good luck!

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