March 23, 2010 at 12:35 am

Organizing in Our House is Color By Boy

As the mother of four sons under the age of ten, people often ask how Daddy D and I do it. To be perfectly honest, things here can be hectic and cluttered often enough. But we do try.

I think that half the battle in a household with young children is to know who the “stuff” belongs to. In our house each child has what we call a family color. There is a specific color associated with every boy.

Seth is red, Gabriel is blue, Nathan is green and Eli is orange. When we buy something that will be used primarily in our house or with our family we intentionally purchase them in these colors.

This helps in many ways in the Desrochers household. For the parents, I can take one look at the bathroom floor and tell you who left the wet towel in a heap. It’s a red towel and it belongs to Seth. No more “it wasn’t me” or “not mine”. We all know whose it is. There is no waffling back and forth and we move on to the pick it up and hang it on the hook, will ya?

On the other side of things, it helps the kids identify their belongings easily. We travel to visit family and go camping often. When we ask them to grab their suitcase or their sleeping bags, even as a three year old last summer Nathan could identify which ones were his. Same with their little LED head flashlights. Each in their own color. No debating who put theirs there, if the one with a dead battery is his or your own and at a glance we can tell who’s is missing.

In our mudroom we have bins under our bench. In each color bin is that child’s hats, gloves, etc. It is easy for them to find their own items, as well as put their own stuff away in the right place.

Finally, by easily being able to find what your looking for the less mess there is. I am an avid scrapbooker. I actually make each boy their own scrapbook for every year of their life. That is four scrapbooks a year just for the kids. There are quite a few of them by now. Here is a sampling of the two most recent years worth on a shelf in our living room.

When I purchase the scrapbooks I buy for the boy’s color. When anyone is looking for pictures of a particular child, they go look for that color. No pulling book after book off the shelf to find out whose each one is. It quickly narrows it down out of dozens of books.

Are there problems with this method? A little one. We have so many boys we started running out of popular “boy” colors. Red and blue were natural choices. Green wasn’t that hard to decide on. We considered yellow, but the lighter tones would end up really dirty pretty fast, we are talking about a brood of boys. But for Eli we decided on orange. Sometimes, though, certain items don’t come in orange. If that is the case we go with brown. My scrapbook company that I buy from does not have orange albums, so I buy brown. In the end, Eli will have to learn to occasionally look for two colors instead of one!

We find this helpful in our home, we hope maybe that it will help you with organizing yours!


  1. We do the same thing! Henry is blue {and sometimes red}, Grant is green {the g's just went together}, and Eli is orange! It can be hard to find some stuff in the right colors, but it works most of the time!

  2. This is a great idea. I have 4 boys and 1 girl. Easy to tell her stuff from the boys. I need more organization in my life and this tip will help tremendously!

  3. This is a great Idea!!! I have 5 boys under 7 so this will work GREAT for me! Thanks for the great article!!!

  4. What a great idea! I just have two boys but I could see how that would work for even just the two of them in a couple years! Thanks 🙂

  5. Great Idea! I love it! I know families with twins that develop a similar system.

  6. Our boys have naturally separated themselves into color-coding. The oldest one loves green and the second one loves blue, so we always try to buy them things in their favorite colors. The youngest boy is 20 months, and he has ended up with red items, so the boys tell him that's his favorite color. Turns out, he identifies anything red as “mine.”

    I love the idea of making it an official thing!

  7. Pingback: Owl Rag Quilt - Momma D and Da Boyz

  8. We do the same thing in our house, even though there’s just 3 of us. I’m purple, my husband is blue, and our son is yellow (which was his favorite color for a long time. He is currently negotiating with daddy to switch colors!) You can see our color-coded mudroom here. Our laundry room laundry baskets are color coded, too!

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