Written by Kara Fleck, Simple Kids editor and Rockin’ Granola mama.
I think it must be the changing of the seasons, but I’ve been feeling the organizing and decluttering bug this Autumn. Before the holidays 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.
I thought it might be fun to share a little mini-series with you this week about some of the simple things that we do to help stay organized at our house (not always an easy task for the six 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 six people in our household, this is no small thing. The solution for us for four sets of everything 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.
We use color coding to keep track of:
- bath towels
- tooth brushes
- school boxes
- laundry baskets
- water bottles
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. 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 that I’ve found is that sometimes it is hard to find an item in the child’s 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.
Coming up on Wednesday: how we use labels and storage containers.
Do you use a color code organizing system at your house? How do you help your children to stay organized?