By Laura

When you see the color red, certain connotations pop up in certain situations. When driving, red means stop. When clothes shopping, red sweaters are usually holiday sweaters. When you’re on the soda aisle at the grocery store, do you look for the words on each bottle or do you look for that iconic red color to lead initially you to your favorite beverage? Color is a powerful thing. That’s why I’m a huge fan of using color coding as a basis for any organizational system.

Color coding allows you to organize files easily. You can dive deeper into organization later, but color coding is a good first step. (Marie C Fields/

Using color to organize your closet can help save you a lot of time when looking for something to wear. If you’re wearing your navy blue pants to work, only a certain set of colors will compliment those pants so you can just search in those color zones for something to wear. When you’re putting your clothes away, putting like colors together is a fairly mindless task but your clothes end up organized and neat even though you hardly tried. Upon entering your closet, you can beeline for what you want instead of sifting through garment after garment searching if everything is color coded.

In your office, whether it be at home or at work, using colors to organize your folders can save you a lot of time. If you know that tax papers are all kept in red files, you can take your red files with you when you go to do your taxes without worrying if you’ve left something behind. When each member of your family has their own green folder that holds their medical records at home, you know all you have to do is read the labeled tabs in order to put your hands on any medical records for any person. Using color coded files, again, allows you to have a detailed organization system that requires little effort once it is first established.

Throughout your house you can use color coding to help make your life easier. Color coding allows you to train your brain to immediately create a mental note whenever that color is seen. If you have a yellow bin in the bathroom that has all of the first-aid items in it, you know to look for that yellow bin whenever you need a bandage. There is no thinking, “now, if I were a bandage, where would I be,” because the bandages are in the yellow bin labeled “first aid items.” After a while, you shouldn’t even need to read the words on the bin because you know yellow means first aid. Color coding is great because after the initial setup, very little maintenance or brain power is required to keep it up or use it. So just as your brain recognizes red means stop when you’re driving, you can train your brain to associate colors with different things in your home or office.