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14 Ways to Use Color to Organize Your Office

color code your office inkjoy gel pens

Keeping your small business or home office space organized can either be a task in which you delight – or one that’s an operations “bugaboo.”

Either way, organization is vital. So why not make it so that the end result is something pleasing to see on a daily basis? Color coding your small business is an eye-pleasing and effective means of office organization.

Color psychology [1] has demonstrated that different colors trigger certain responses in the brain when we see them. And if a good color coded system is implemented within your business, it will help keep you organized, especially as your business grows. Below are a variety of ways to color code your office that can help keep you and your small business organized.

How to Color Code Your Office

Assign a Meaning to a Color

Your organization project is going to require baby steps. The first and easiest step is to assign a color to the broadest of topics when you color code your office.

First and foremost is probably your small business finances. And naturally, a good color for this is green. Even if it’s marking an envelope with a green dot and keeping all envelopes with green dots in one container, it’s a good start.

Continue this throughout your organization efforts. Mark all medical items blue. Reserve red for emergency items, and so on.

Brighten Up the Filing Cabinet

You can go so far as to order file folders in a rainbow of colors to assign certain clients. But if you’re not ready to delve that deeply into your office organization project, start with the tabs. You can use colored pens like the new 14 pack of Paper Mate InkJoy Gel Pens to differentiate files. (Now available at Staples.com, and sold in stores in April.)

Use Color in Your Day Planner

Some people — believe it or not — are still in the habit of writing down all their appointments, meetings, and reminders. They still print day planners for a reason.

If you’re an increasingly busy small business owner, this day planner is consulted often. Use a few different colored inks to organize appointments and meetings by type as well.

Continue the Theme on Your Desk Calendar

Once you’ve established a system for color coding appointments in your day planner, continue that theme onto a desk or wall calendar as well. The most important part of your office organization efforts will be your consistency in adhering to it.

Use Color in Your Cloud Calendar as Well

Maintain that consistent feel with your virtual calendars, too. Nearly all calendar apps allow you to mark different calendars with different colors. To take this a step further, find a mobile app that carries this labeling in its notifications. Remember, consistency is key to maintaining office organization.

Wrap Colors Around Wiring

Despite our efforts to go wireless in as many facets of running our small businesses as possible, it seems wires will be a necessary inconvenience well into the foreseeable future. And as long as they’re around, they’re bound to get jumbled and tangled. When you color code your office, apply colored tape to cords to keep them tidier or mark non-colored tape with colored ink to differentiate cords from one another.

Assign Department Colors

Small shops with numerous departments can keep better tabs on their products by using a color coded labeling system. Try using colors in any place possible to denote items to a specific department. Boxes of overstock, files, price tags, bills, and anything else … find some ways to apply a department color to it.

Promote Sales with Colorful Price Tags

Promotions and discounts can be much more easily organized if you use a color coded system for it. Stick red tags or yellow dots on merchandise you want to discount or are included as part of a special sale.

This is a great way to alert your customers to specially priced products and also eliminates any confusion your staff has when they ring up sales at the register.

Pick Your Favorite Color and Apply it to All Non-Business Memos

When you’re sending business memos or signing documents, blue or black ink is usually preferred. And it only looks proper on white paper.

But then there are notes and memos that aren’t as serious and really should be distinct. Choose your favorite color and write all light-hearted communications in it. Printing these memos on different colored paper makes them stand out from the rest, too.

Color Code Your Office Workspaces

If your staff is separated within your office space by the tasks they’re assigned to complete, give each work area its own look and feel. This could range from painting the walls to coordinating the office furniture. If you distribute employee ID badges, carry over this color coded scheme over to them as well.

Use Shading and Color Text on Spreadsheets

Endless pages of spreadsheets can be mind-numbing, especially if they’re all monochromatic, save for the occasional boldface numbers or maybe italicized column headers. Jazz up those boring number sheets by adding splashes of color.

You may want to avoid using colors on your numbers — preserving the meaning behind black and red — but consider adding shading to the sheets themselves. Use the colors you established for departments within your business in your spreadsheets to maintain that all-important consistent look.

Separate Staff with Different Color Uniforms

If you’re hosting a special event and want staff to stand out from the crowd, give them similarly colored T-shirts or other uniforms to make them easily identifiable.

When you want a crowd to seek out your staff for help, it’s much easier to announce to look for people wearing red shirts or yellow hats or holding green umbrellas.

Take Notes in Color

Whether you’re in a meeting where you’re taking notes or distributing them, applying a color coded system to these notes makes them more readable and less mundane to digest. Be careful, though. Some colors — especially lighter ones — can be tough to read. Stick to bold and bright colors so you’re not straining your eyes or those of the people reading your notes.

Don’t Forget Storage Bins

Storage bins are often reserved for keeping things you think you’ll never use again. Then, one day, you realize something important is stored away in a bin. Problem is, you’ve got more bins than you can count. When you color code your office, apply color label systems you already have in place to storage, too. It’ll save you a lot of time if you ever have to perform one of these searches in the future.

Now, your color coding effort within your small business or personal office space doesn’t have to be a large, work-intensive project, especially at first. The goal, after all, is to make your work life easier.

A great start to getting a color coded office organization system is a good set of color ink pens. Many of the organization tips offered here can be completed using some simple office supplies such as the new Paper Mate Ink Joy Gel Pens. The pens are now available at Staples.com and will be sold in Staples stores in April.

Colors [2] Image via Shutterstock