I'm feeling Mellow Yellow

09/07/2009 12:00 PM

11/17/2010 4:19 PM

For the new school year, I'm color-coding my family.

I can't have another year where I don't know whose shirt is whose, which lunchbox goes with which backpack, and what form goes with what sport. If everybody has a color for all their stuff, everything will be much more organized. And visible.

I start with file folders because I want the cafeteria menu, the holiday schedule and the baseball roster at my fingertips. I begin assigning colors.

The kids are easy. My oldest boy gets blue. It just makes sense. He's my firstborn, he's in first grade, and first always gets the blue ribbon. So blue he is.

My second-born is red – the opposite of blue – which is perfect because he couldn't be more different from his brother. Where big bro is cool, little brother is a fireball. Red's perfect for this little devil.

The Husband, a Clemson grad, gets orange. Then I make the house file green, since everything going in there will surely be about money – money we owe (bills), money we spent (receipts), and money we can save ($2 off Special K coupon).

Which unfortunately, leaves me with yellow. Not my first choice. But such a MOM color – sunshine, Pine-Sol, and all that. I fill up the folders with everyone's activities, schedules and forms and set it in the kitchen. I can actually spot the red carpool folder from the den!

Which brings me to clothes. I adjust our wardrobes so I know at first glance what shirt belongs to whom. Sorting laundry becomes a snap. And since I can't dress the kids completely in red and blue, I do variations. Navy blue, royal blue, a little turquoise. And I go deep on the reds with burgundy, mauve, and a really nice magenta.

The Husband wears his beloved orange every day. I, on the other hand, look terrible in yellow. So I'm going with the more subtle shades. I've done some cream. Some butter, some lemon. I look like a nice pie most of the time.

Color-coding the dishes ensures nobody's drinking out of somebody else's cup. And I've got everybody's plate, fork and spoon in the dishwasher at the same time, so when we go to set the table, it's complete. And colorful.

For food I drafted the “Rainbow Rule.” Everybody eat plenty of blueberries, red cherries, orange carrots, yellow corn, and all things green as long as they started out green and hadn't become green.

Down the road we'll consider getting the boys each a car, provided it's a used car, in their assigned color. That way I know right away who is home and who isn't. And I'd prefer their girlfriends wear their color too. So I know who belongs to whom. Maybe we can have jackets made. Like a blue denim for the one gal and something in red leather for the other.

If we could just stick to this, things will be so much more organized and clear. And it doesn't have to be forever. But if I could just get my oldest into Duke…

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