40 Thoughtful Ways to Organize Items

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A40 Thoughtful Ways to Organize Itemsre you getting ready to organize a collection of items in your home or office?

Do you need some ideas when it comes to how you’ll collect and appropriately sort items?

Organizing items means putting like items with like.

But did you know there’s tons of different ways in which you can group items?

In this post, I offer a collection of forty ways you can organize like items with like.

This list will really get you thinking when it comes to how you decide to sort and group times together.

Some of these methods are quite obvious, while others are not so obvious.

Of course, you can organize items according to one, two, or more of these methods.

It’s completely up to you and your preferences.

Oh, and if you’re looking for specific instructions on how to organize things in your home, office, and life, I suggest you take a look at some of the most popular posts on the blog.

Now, let’s move onto to the list!

Shape

Items in the home and office come in all different shapes. Do the items in question have a similar shape among them?

Examples: Rectangular reams of paper with rectangular reams of paper; Cylindrical spice containers with cylindrical spice containers

Size

Small, medium, large, tiny or gargantuan. Are the items in question of a similar size?

Examples: Small marbles with small marbles; Large stability balls with large stability balls

Color

The colors of the rainbow are bright, vivid, and there for you to use! Are the items in question of a similar color, hue, or tint?

Examples: Blue sweaters with blue sweaters; Red paint with red paint

Pattern

Repeating motifs and shapes can create intricate designs and forms. Are the items in question of a similar pattern?

Examples: Zigzag stripes with zigzag stripes; Polka dots with polka dots

Texture

Texture delights both sight and touch. Are the items in question of a similar texture?

Examples: Rough sandpaper with rough sandpaper; Smooth chocolate with smooth chocolate

Weight

Light as a spider’s web or as heavy as a skyscraper? Are the items in question of a similar weight?

Examples: Light paper with light paper; Heavy cream with heavy cream

Length

What’s long or short in any collection? Are the items in question of a similar length?

Examples: Standard yardsticks with standard yardsticks; Campfire matches with campfire matches    

Width

Narrow, thick, fat or thin. Are the items in question of a similar width?

Examples: Thin notebooks with thin notebooks; Fat markers with fat markers

Height

As short as a shortbread or as tall as giraffe. Are the items in question of a similar height?

Examples: Short pencils with short pencils; Tall straws with tall straws

Volume

How much space do items take up? Are the items in question of a similar volume?

Examples: Two liters of soda with two liters of soda; Five milliliters of milk with five milliliters of milk

Relationship

Personal, professional, familial, or neighborly. Are the items in question of a similar relationship?

Examples: Personal diaries with personal diaries; Office papers with office papers

Category

How would you categorize items in your home or office? Are the items in question of a similar category?

Examples:  History books with history books; 80s video games with 80s video games

Trend

Trends will always come and go. Are the items in question of a similar trend?

Examples: Bellbottom jeans with bellbottom jeans; Narrow ties with narrow ties 

Time

Time is always there for you to use and is almost always on your side. Are the items in question of a similar time or time period?

Examples: Notes from last week with notes from last week; Victorian age items with Victorian age items

Accessibility

Can you quickly get what you need from your hallway, kitchen, or bathroom? Are the items in question of a similar accessibility?

Examples:  Blankets with blankets in dead storage; Face creams with face creams on a bathroom counter

Language

How many different languages do you speak, write, and read? Are the items in question of a similar language?

Examples: French language magazines with French language magazines; Mandarin language books with Mandarin language books

Country

Where in the world did those items come from? Are the items in question from a similar country?

Examples: Vases from Japan with vases from Japan; Clocks from Switzerland with clocks from Switzerland

History

Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it. Are the items in question of a similar history?

Examples: 18th century European paintings with 18th century European paintings; 20th century American television shows with 20th century American television shows

Background

Can you give a little bit of a background your things? Are the items in question of a similar background?

Examples: Paintings from art camp with paintings from art camp; Lamps from your old apartment with lamps from your old apartment

Meaning

Hmm, have you been meaning to describe exactly what you mean? Are the items in question of a similar meaning?

Examples: Sentimental value earrings with sentimental value earrings; Holiday gifts with holiday gifts

Alphabetical order from A-Z

Sometimes, things can be as easy as A-B-C. Are the items in question of a similar alphabetic order?

Examples:  File folders with file folders; Attendance records with attendance records

Alphabetical order from Z-A

Other times, things can be quite helpful in reverse if you need to check items. Are the items in question of a similar alphabetic order?

Examples: Last names with last names; Invoices with invoices 

Use

Good, bad, or indifferent. How exactly can you put that item to use? Are the items in question of a similar use?

Examples: Artist’s paintbrushes with artist’s paintbrushes; Toothbrushes with toothbrushes 

Strength

No matter what you do, be strong. Are the items in question of a similar strength?

Examples: Super glue with super glue; Strong rope with strong rope

Weakness

Feeling a little bit weak? Are the items in question of a similar weakness?

Examples: Weak lemonade with weak lemonade; Wobbly chair legs with wobbly chair legs 

Artificial

Is that item real…or not? Are the items in question of a similar artificiality?

Examples: Artificial lighting with artificial lighting; Artificial flowers with artificial flowers

Natural

When in doubt, why not organize things naturally? Are the items in question of a similar nature?

Examples: Natural peanut butter with natural peanut butter; Natural history with natural history

Idea

Hey, you’ve got an absolutely great idea! Are the items in question of a similar idea?

Examples: Happiness with happiness; World peace with world peace

Design

Designs can add a bit spice to your life. Are the items in question of a similar design?

Examples:  Art Deco drawings with Art Deco drawings; Classical architecture with classical architecture

Age

How many years old is that object? Are the items in question of a similar age?

Examples: Young flowers with young flowers; Old desks with old desks 

Location

Where can you always find a particular item when you need it? Are the items in question of a similar location?

Examples: Books in the living room with books in the living room; Pens on top of a desk with pens on top of a desk   

Number

One, two, three, four, five… Are the items in question of a similar number?

Examples:  A dozen eggs with a dozen eggs; A six-pack of seltzer with a six-pack of seltzer

Purpose

How are you going to use that closet filled with stuff? Are the items in question of a similar purpose?

Examples: Notebooks for schoolwork with notebooks for schoolwork; Luggage for a short trip with luggage for a short trip

Sound

Now, hear this! Are the items in question of a similar sound?

Examples: Quiet jazz music with quiet jazz music; Loud radios with loud radios

Odor

Do you smell something satisfying…or suspicious? Are the items in question of a similar odor?

Examples:  Sweet perfume with sweet perfume; Stagnant air with stagnant air

Taste

Don’t let your tastebuds fool you. Are the items in question of a similar taste?

Examples: Salty pretzels with salty pretzels; Sour lemon candy with sour lemon candy

Touch

You’ve always got the magic touch. Are the items in question offering a similar tactile experience?

Examples: Soft bathrobes with soft bathrobes; Smooth silk dresses with smooth silk dresses

Sight

Oh! Say…do you see? How do you see items? Are the items in question offering a similar viewpoint or angle?

Examples:  Blurry watercolor paintings with blurry watercolor paintings; Crystal clear photographs with crystal clear photographs

Sentiment

You shouldn’t ignore your emotions. Are the items in question of a similar sentiment?

Examples: Sad romantic movies with sad romantic movies; Thoughtful birthday cards with thoughtful birthday cards

Value

What value do items hold for you? Are the items in question of a similar value?

Examples: Expensive dress shoes with expensive dress shoes; Inexpensive paper cups with inexpensive paper cups

How about you? What did you think of this comprehensive list? Are there any other organization methods that you can think of that you’d like to add to this collection? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!

Follow Rashelle:
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 3 Smart Steps to Organizing Your Home, by clicking here.
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