I think it must be the changing of the seasons, but I’ve been feeling the organizing and decluttering bug. Before the months we call “birthday season” arrive and our home is filled with guests and new things, I’m taking some time to sort out, tidy, and organize around the house – especially in the children’s spaces. They were also given some new things for Christmas that we are still working on finding homes for.
I thought it might be fun to share one of the simple things that I do to help stay more organized at our house (not always an easy task for the seven of us).
Today I want to tell you about a super simple system we use to keep track of items: color coding.
In a house with more than one child, color coding has been a simple but effective way to keep track of what belongs to whom. With seven people in our household now, this is no small task. The solution for us has been color coding.
Each child has a color and the kids all know that that is their favorite color is also their assigned color. If it is pink it belongs to Jillian, if it is orange it is Max’s, and so on down the line.
It helps us to keep track of items that have multiples, like bath towels, when I can see at a glance if we have enough for everyone and, if not, whose is missing, dirty, empty, etc. I believe it saves us from arguments, too, because ownership of an item can be determined at a glance.
I also use coloring coding in my calendar and planning, so that I can see at a glance what event is going on and for whom.
We use color coding to keep track of:
- bath towels
- tooth brushes
- school supplies
- laundry baskets
- water bottles
I’ve been known to color-code Easter baskets and the wrapping paper for birthday gifts, too.
You’ll notice I included dishes in that list. Around each kid’s fourth birthday we graduate them to the “real” dishes and they are given a set of dishes with a plate, bowl, and mug in their favorite color (we use Fiestaware). Each kid is in charge of washing their dishes after a meal (with a bit of supervision, of course) and the person whose job it is to set the table at mealtime knows which color goes where.
The only real downside to this color coding system that I’ve found is that sometimes it is hard to find an item in the child’s chosen color. When that is the case, we either look for a similar color or we purchase white and add a label to mark who it belongs to. Over all, though, it is easy to adapt and personalize to each kid.
This is a simple idea, but one that saves us time and trouble and helps our household run a bit smoother. I love that even my pre-reading kids can easily figure out this system.
Do you use a color code organizing system at your house? How do you help your children to stay organized?