By Brynn Mannino
Color CorrectColor Correct
Color-coding offers visual cues that can identify anything from road signs to sports teams. Even doctors' offices use it to track their patients' files. But for some reason we rarely think to apply the system at home. WD has spoken with experts to learn how color can help you organize everything-from your kids' bathroom routine to your home office-with maximum results and minimal effort.
Laundry should be separated anyway, so it's a no-brainer to extend the color-matching practice to your laundry baskets. "Assign like colors to like things," says Laura McHolm, cofounder of NorthStar Moving, an L.A.-based moving and storage company. For example, choose a light blue-rimmed tote for lights and whites, and a navy blue option for darks. Oversize Canvas Carry-All, prices start at $25; TheCompanyStore.com
For anyone with children at home, it can feel like an insurmountable task to keep all their bathing items organized. Assigning each child a specific color makes it much easier. "You'll know whose toothbrush is missing when you get home from a trip-or who left his or her bath towel on the floor," says Holly Bohn, founder of SeeJaneWork.com. Contemporary Home 6-pc. Towel Sets, $29.99; Target.com
Color is a great way to keep your office in order, and for all those type-A personalities, it can be fun to color-coordinate. Plus, picking the right shades can not only brighten up your decor, it can also perk up your routine. "Studies show that color is very motivating, especially in a workspace," says Bohn. Use basic letter trays to keep your family's taxes, bills and report cards organized-and keep them that way. See Jane Work Basics Letter Tray, $25 for a set of 2; SeeJaneWork.com
With all the sports kids play today, you practically need a second garage to store all the equipment. To stay organized, use clear bins (so you can see what's in there) with colored handles that will provide instant recognition of which sport is in which bin, says McHolm. Or try color-coded crates as an inexpensive alternative. Either way, items can be easily tossed in -making cleanup a little more fun for your star athlete. Authentic Dairy Crate, $9.99; ContainerStore.com
In any family, there are all sorts of food preferences, and it can be hard keep track of what's what in the fridge. Whether you have specific allergies (gluten, peanuts) or tend to have lots of leftovers, Pyrex's clear glass food containers with colored lids can help keep things separate and easy to identify. You can also use the colors to organize leftovers by date, so you know what's fresh (and what's not!). Pyrex Storage 14-Piece Set, $22.49; ShopWorldKitchen.com
Assigning each food group a different cutting board will ensure safe-and flavor-perfect-preparation. "Meat contamination is the obvious worry," explains Bohn. But fruit juices can also seep into plastic cutting boards and later soak into bread, adding an unwelcome tang. Williams-Sonoma sells a set of four cutting boards-each a different color-precisely for this purpose. Dexas Flexi Cutting Boards, Set of 4, $19.95; Williams-Sonoma.com
Mixing up medications is a big worry, especially with several family members sharing a medicine cabinet or if anyone in the household has bad eyesight. To keep pills separated by type or family member, try sticking a product like Avery's colored stickers on the caps of each bottle. "The dots will make everything easily recognizable," says Bohn. Avery See-Thru Color Dots, $7.79;
When magazines start to pile up, they can be a pain to organize-especially if you like to archive certain issues. Make it easy for everyone to grab what they need quickly and put it back in its place when finished. "In my house, my home magazines are in one color holder and my fashion magazines are in another," says Bohn. See Jane Work Basics Magazine Holder, $14; SeeJaneWork.com
Original article appeared on WomansDay.com.
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