I started color coding our family when I was pregnant with JBaby3. Bubba was old enough he picked out his color and Sissy's. We started with towels and wash cloths. It has progressed into how we live our everyday life and how we know whose is whose. It is even the way most of the JClan have started learning how to spell their name.
Below is how I started teaching the JClan how to put their cups up. Also how not to have 9 cups each a day so that we were doing a load of dishes with only cups. It also meant we knew where to find their cups and they started learning what their name looked like, at least those who didn't already know. These pieces of paper were simple, just 3x5 cards cut in 1/2, magic market in their color and contact paper over them to stick to the counter. These pieces of paper were on our counter for about 4mns of training. Now we no longer use them.
The above is how you will see our counter now. The colors are hard to tell in the photo, but they are green, purple, pink, and orange. Poor Bubba has lost at least 2 water bottles this school year, so that is his back up water bottle. The last orange one is for Bug. It really should be blue. His is a different kind of water bottle, it has a pop-up straw and at the time I purchased these they did not have a blue one. So I figured it will just move on down to Lil Bro when he is ready for a water bottle and Bug will get a blue one like the others.
We also color code the JClan's Laundry Buckets. These are just little white plastic wash basins. There names are written on them in magic marker in their color. We put any of the folded laundry that needs to be put away on their laundry day in these for them to carry to their rooms and put away. Also on days that it isn't their laundry day I might find things around the house that are their's that need to be put away (things that can't go in the Time Out Box, like shoes and blankets) and I put them in their bucket to be taken to their room during Afternoon Chores or Evening Chores.
To stop quarrels when we go to The Sand's or the Beach this past Easter we bought these buckets below at the Dollar Tree. They each came with a shovel. Now they didn't come with the same color shovel as the bucket, but because we had 6 children to buy for we ended up with every color and were able to rearrange the shovels with the buckets to give each J their color bucket and shovel!
The last place we do color coding is with our school supplies. Green folders, paper clips, pencils, pencil boxes, manual pencil sharpeners, and even erasers all go to Bubba. Purple to Sissy, Pink to Sister and so on!
To be honest I have even been known to color code outfits, especially ones that are "look a likes". I do keep saying I am going to get fabric paint in each of their colors and put a dot on the inside of their clothes so we can tell more easily who's clothes are who's! We will see...... (*update, we do now do this with clothes, socks, and beach towels/bathing suits)
I hope this helps someone understand how we keep up and tell who's things are who's at Heart Land. Do you have a color coding system for your family? Please share!
*** I have been posed with the question many times "What if you can't find a color for something?". If I have looked everywhere, Amazon.com and local stores, even called my Mama and Aunt LaLa to look in their neck-of-the-woods, then I will try to find a suitable "next color". For instance a lot of times I can't find Pink, but I can find Red, or I can't find Orange so I get Red. Doesn't happen often enough for it to make a big difference. The things that might be this way, that person knows and realizes that theirs is what it is! Now if we have more children added to the JClan this might become a problem and we will have to come up with another solution! (*update, the solution is the Amazon finally does carry more color options and sometime we special order from Staples or Dollar Tree)