Sorting my stuff by colour

I started sorting my stuff by colour during Covid lockdowns. It began with my phone. It made me feel productive during a time when everyone on social media was constructing jigsaws or learning a new cuisine. It also created long lasting calm, reignited every time I looked at my rainbow-inspired masterpieces.

I moved on to the bookshelf, then my wardrobe and soon enough, sorting my stuff by colour became a compulsion. My hands automatically gravitated towards the rainbow’s signature pattern of ROYGBIV. (Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet).

It was nothing new. I had seen sorting by colour popping up in shops and on social media. The Home Edit Professional Organising crew had already taken the notion and run with it. They made colour-sorting part of their branding and the basis for their business model. Who can blame them? It’s visually compelling. It’s organised yet soothing. The fact that ROYGBIV occurs in nature may explain our deep-seated preference for this pattern.

And as I discovered, sorting my stuff by colour is also an effective tool in finding my things and putting them away. My brain remembers items by where they reside. Not by the brand, type of garment or book title. Not necessarily by colour either, but colour is the fastest trigger to lead my eye to the correct spot.


It seems logical to categorise your apps by theme, right? Health, socials, travel etc. I ran with this theory for years, but still found that I never learned the categories, only the locations.

Start with colour-specific folders. Within each folder, place most accessed apps at the very top and sides. You may need multiple pages in each folder, so tuck the more obscure apps out of the way. I also have the iOS App Library on my second home screen to quickly find anything I have misplaced.


Effectively sorting my stuff by colour relies on having lots of items for impact. And I have plenty of books, so the bookshelf produced good results. I had to leave behind long-held preferences for sorting by size of book or author name. Realistically, I often didn’t recall the author’s name or relative height of spine anyway. So it was time for these arbitrary classifications to be replaced. To all the librarians out there, I apologise.


Like books, I have a guilty habit of storing more clothes than I need, in a variety of colours. It’s fertile ground for sorting my stuff by colour. I first halved my wardrobe into summer and winter, to inject a bit of traditional logic into the system. Then I ROYGBIV’d it up. Red shorts with red T shirts, green jumpers blending into blue trousers. Don’t choose your outfit from a technicolour mess – make it a gentle experience instead!


Because why should books and clothes have all the fun? Hair products and packaged food can easily be grouped together. Sort your pantry by colour and see how you go. Make an installation in your cubed bookshelf. Put your hair accessories in a rainbow arrangement.

Sorting my stuff by colour – how to

Sort in the following order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

If you have items with multiple colours, use them as a blending bridge if possible. For example an item containing red and orange would naturally sit between those two colours in your row. If you have an item containing two colours not usually adjacent, consider disrupting ROYGBIV to use that same blending bridge. For example a red and yellow book spine might mean you put the red and yellow colour blocks on either side of that.

I found that sorting my stuff by colour has made maintenance easier than ever. It’s visually obvious where things belong. Kids love it as well, and anything that gets the little ones involved in packing up is fine with me!

You can even take it a step further and colour code your kids.

Get in touch if you want help sorting by colour or any kind of organising.

Colour sorted bookshelf
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