Organizing A Closet With ROYGBIV


Liz Jenkins

rainbow organized kids closet

Let's talk ROYGBIV!

Recently we organized a clients closet and I had an email from her wondering if we had photos of it when we were done (we did!) and if I could guide her a bit on how to color code it as we had done when we wrapped it up (we could!). As I sent the email, I realized she’s not the only one curious about it. So this post is about organizing a closet using ROYGBIV.

Organizing a Closet

ROYGBIV is not new

Some people in my industry act like they invented it but in reality – it’s been around a long, long time. We’ve been doing this since we started in 2005. And the ROYGBIV acronym is a standard across the design and education world. Using for organizing is genius though because who doesn’t love a rainbow?

What is ROYGBIV?

Let’s start with defining it — because many people don’t even know what it stands for! ROYGBIV is an acronym for the colors of the visible light spectrum: Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo (purple) Violet (pink). Otherwise known as rainbow order (the colors of the rainbow fall in this order). But why on earth would we do closets this way?

Organizing a Closet

But what about all my black shirts?

Then, you may wonder, what do you do with black, gray & white? We typically bracket with black/gray on one end and white on the other. It really doesn’t matter which side you choose – it’s a personal preference in my opinion. I like brown between gray and red, and cream between violet and white. That’s a personal preference that makes sense to me. So what happens for me is BGB-ROYGBIV-CW. You can also do ROYGBIV-BGBCW (black, gray, brown, cream, white).

Pro tip: if your closet has a darker corner – use that for the whites as the darker colors will get lost.

Where do the patterns go?

And what about patterns, you may ask? We look at the predominant color scheme of the garment. You may have to hang it on a doorknob and then step back (even slightly unfocusing the eyes) to see what jumps out at you. Then tuck it in with that color. Personally I queue them up at the beginning of each group but you can easily do the far side.

Pro tip: group clothing by type first (short sleeve, long sleeve, pants, skirts, blazers, etc.), then by color. If you want to get extra fancy, you can add closet rod dividers to keep your sections in order. Matching hangers make a huge difference as it will reduce the variations in color.

Organizing a Closet

Benefits of organizing a closet using ROYGBIV

rainbow organized kids closet

Organize your closet

You can use ROYGBIV in lots of places like books, pantries, and toys but closets seem to be the place we use them most. We’d be delighted to rainbow up your closet for you! There aren’t many things that are better than this except a good edit and matching hangers that will make your closet feel like a million bucks! Drop us a line and let us know how we can help!

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