Color Month

How to Organize and Rearrange Your Home by Color, According to a Professional Organizer

published Jul 5, 2022
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Credit: Minette Hand

Color-coded organization is all the rage right now. But in the organization world, it can be a hotly contested issue. Some folks love sorting their books by color and others prefer a “no-method” method. But, how practical is sorting your entire home in rainbow order? And, how difficult is it to implement? I talked to a professional organizer to find out.

Where to Get Started

According to Caroline Bujold of Mostly Organized, a professional decluttering and organizing company based in Canada, color organization works well in a variety of spaces. “Closets and linen cabinets are the easiest and most rewarding spaces to organize by color. It’s a good place to start testing if this system works with your particular style,” she says. “It can be as simple as going from light to dark colors for each section of a closet.”

In my experience, color organization also works well in kids’ rooms because it’s fun and creates independence. Kids know rainbow order, and organizing by color comes naturally to them. Plus, LEGOs and blocks sorted in neat, color-coded containers are so much more visually satisfying than a big jumble of toys. Bujold agrees, sharing that “it makes it easier for kids to find their favorite things and put them back in order when tidying their room.”

Where to Really Hone Your Skills

Bujold also notes that there’s “magic” in productivity and office organization when you sort by color.

“Think files and calendars. If you don’t have a color system for your files, paper or digital, I highly recommend it,” she says. “You could assign red for to-dos, green for financials, blue for medical and health, yellow for activities and entertainment, and so on. Calendars are also a great ‘space’ to organize by color — whether it be your own personal calendar, a work calendar, or a family calendar where each family member gets their own color.”

If you’re still not sold on color organization, there are additional benefits that I’ve experienced by color organizing in a small space, too. By grouping things by color, it can help a space feel more cohesive. It can also turn functional items into decor and help reduce visual clutter. A once-messy shelf becomes instantly more visually appealing when sorted by color.

Where to Be Careful

But not everything is sunshine and rainbows in the world of color organization either. Bujold explains: “If you have perfectionist tendencies, you might get stuck in the setting up of the system or get stumped by certain items that don’t fit perfectly in a color category. Color-coding is just a system, and it’s not the only one you should use to organize your home. Organizing by color is a system meant to be easy to maintain. If it’s not, maybe it’s just not for you. People have to go with what works with their brain.”

If you want to get started with a little color organization in your life, Bujold has some parting tips: “If you’re just starting out, I would suggest testing one space and see how that works for you.,” she says. “Try reorganizing a bookshelf or your closet and live with it for a week. How is that working? Does it make it easier to get dressed in the morning?”

After that week has passed, and if you like how it went, try more spaces over time. “Decluttering and organizing is a journey with no destination,” Bujold says. “Go slow and have fun with it.”

This piece is part of Color Month, where we’re showing you the best ways to inject more color into your home and life. From paint color combos to vibrant house tours, head over here to see it all.