Organization in a laboratory is necessary for it to succeed and be productive. We don’t become academic or industrial researchers to spend portions of our day looking for the tube we ‘thought was in that refrigerator, but maybe is in the other one.’ Nor do we want to have to spend time deciphering what a tube actually contains. Researchers want to focus on their research – not the trivial and petty parts of laboratory management. What I have found to be the best tool for laboratory organization are labels. It is for this reason we recommend that one of the first things to purchase when starting in a lab is a label printer. Trust me, it is one of the most worthwhile investments you can make. There is a vast difference between handwritten labels and those that are printed by a machine geared towards laboratories. Aside from the fact that a labeler gives a neat and professional look, some labelers such as the LABPAL™ Label Printer feature built-in date/time stamp and laboratory specific symbols.
Once the other researchers in your lab realize you take your lab and research organization seriously - they will follow your lead and also manage their materials better. An organized lab saves time and frustration and results in better documentation. In the long run, an organized lab is an efficient and productive lab.