Some collections call for ROY G BIV order, but others really don't.

While it may be tempting to color code all of your household items, not everything in your home benefits from the ROY G BIV treatment. Ahead, discover exactly which items experts say should be separated by color. As for the rest? These professionals have also identified the collections that are better sorted by size, style, or shape. Knowing the difference will make your life—and organizational pursuits—that much better in the long run.

clothing hung on white hangers by color
Credit: Getty / Kristina Strasunske

Determine what to color code.

Melanie Walker, owner of NEAT Method in Las Vegas, says there are a lot of items in your home that look better—and are more easily managed—when sorted by like colors. "Organize your clothing by color," Walker says. "Not only is pretty to look at, it makes it super easy to see which black t-shirt has been more 'well loved' than others." As for the other details that benefit from the color treatment? Books, towels, and the family calendar, she says. Basically, anything that will be easier to find and identify when grouped by color should be organized that way. And while books may not technically fall into that category, organizing them by color is a system you're more likely to stick to compared to something more granular, like alphabetizing by author.

Embrace ROY G BIV.

When organizing by color, look to the rainbow. Walker recommends this method as you sort: "Start with white, cream, pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, brown, gray, and black," she says. Gold and silver can be tricky, so she suggests moving them around to see what looks best to you. You can try placing gold alongside cream and silver with gray—or you can put all of your metallics together.

Sort other collections by different standards.

Of course, not everything benefits from a color code. Dara Friedson, the owner of Orderly Method Professional Organizing in Potomac, Maryland, says it is generally more beneficial to sort kitchen items by size and shape, as opposed to color. "Tupperware, Pyrex, pots and pans, serving platters, and baking dishes are all great examples of this," she says, even if these items are visible by way of open shelving or clear cabinets. And while you might be tempted to replicate what you see on your Instagram feed and sort your refrigerator or pantry using ROY G BIV, Friedson says it is usually more practical and efficient to sort those items into similar groups, like fruits, vegetables, dairy, and more.


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