Thursday, November 17, 2016

Let's Chat! Organizing By Color

I was recently chatting with a friend and she was telling me all about a new clothing closet she installed in her home. She was ridiculously excited about how it turned out (as she should be, it was incredible), so she posted a preview of her photo on her Instagram account. As lovely and organized as it was, she had some folks question her about why she didn’t organize her items by color. It was insinuated that she did it all wrong… So she asked my thoughts on the subject and I thought it was such a good question that I would ask you all to join in on the conversation!

I think there are times when organizing by color completely makes sense. But at the end of the day, I told her it really doesn’t matter if organizing by color works for me, it matters what works for her.

You see, we are all programmed differently. We all have different routines. We all organize differently. That is a very good thing!

She told me she ultimately decided to organize her closet by category, which makes complete sense to her (and to me as well). I cheered on her decision and reminded her that at the end of the day, the very best way to organize is based on your personal routine and what makes the most sense to you. That trying to organize something because it is prettier, considered the norm, is what everyone else is doing, etc… won’t work unless that is how you work. Storage solutions should be put in place to match your lifestyle, you shouldn’t change your lifestyle to match your storage.

Although I think that photos of items organized by color have a majestic quality to them, pretty doesn’t always equate to practical. And you know I love me some pretty organizing.

So when does it work? Like I said, that depends on you. I have personally used the Organizing by Color method a few times. Here are a few examples of how it has worked for us:


I have said it before, but the funny thing is that this wouldn’t have been my first method when it came to how we organized the bajillion Lego pieces we have floating around our home. I asked my boys to tell me how they wanted to organize their pieces, and that is what they came up with. It was a very popular post for me, and I have since received notes and photos from hundreds of people that have shared their Legos organized by color too (and let me just say, nothing makes me feel more excited than seeing those photos!). Many have mentioned that it has also worked great for them, others have said that it didn’t. For us, overall, it is still working quite well. I think it is because I let my kids determine the best route for them. And we still have a couple of bins that need to be re-sorted and endless piles of creations and new builds, but I leave it up to them to manage and own.


I think another way organizing by color works is by creating color blocks. It allows your eye to easily identify a separation of categories. Technically my files are organized by category, but each category correlates to a specific color. So instead of me filtering through and reading each label, I can quickly and visually narrow down my search because I know that pink files are for my work specific items.


I know, I know, I just said that I agree with my friend in terms of organizing clothing by category. And I do! But just like the files, I personally add in a layer of color after I organize by category. My closet flows by blazers/jackets, collared shirts, long sleeve, short sleeve, sleeveless… Then I try to place the items in each category near other pieces in a similar color. I did this because I first dress by the weather/occasion, and then I dress by color. So it made sense to organize my closet in the same way that I dress. But some folks may have less weather variation, or it works for them to plan their clothing by color first… or maybe they dress differently based on their tasks for the days/weeks, so they organize by what type of day they are having. Again, back to what makes sense to your routine and how you personally function.


With three boys, we often have similar items that are in duplicates of three. And when those items are not typically shared (water bottles, tooth brushes, lunch boxes, laundry baskets, journals, etc…), I try to purchase a different color for each boy. It allows us to quickly identify who the item belongs to, and I also try to keep the colors consistent from item to item for simplicity sake. It also helps me when I am jotting things down in my planner and I can place a colored dot next to the boy with the appointment.


There have been times when I have tried to organize by color, and it didn’t work for me. Generally it is when I work with smaller items like crafts (paints, ribbons, etc…) because if I needed to pull or add something from the middle, there is always a trickle effect and it only seems to make the maintenance of the system more challenging in the long run.

So although my Martha Stewart craft paints look pretty stinking divine all lined in a rainbow, they are now tossed in a decorative basket and I am just as easily able to find what I need without much effort. I find the same to be true when organizing alphabetically, but that is an entirely different can of worms.

Let’s summarize!

  • Do you! Organize by what fits your lifestyle, personality and routine. If you personally relate to organizing by color, then do it! There is no right or wrong way.
  • Color is a great way to quickly identify things. Whether it be a category or a person or a day of the week… There are benefits to utilizing color to create visual associations.
  • Organizing by color will always create a pretty and visually appealing appearance, but be sure that it is also functioning and helpful. Also think about how easily it will be to maintain the system down the road.

Now it is your turn, share your thoughts on the subject! I would love to know how organizing by color has helped you?

from IHeart Organizing

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