I'm the doer of laundry for my family and as my kids have grown older, it's gotten tougher to tell some of their clothes apart. That's why I developed this simple colour-coded system for our clothing tags.
There are three parts to my system. The first is simple colour-coding by family member to make it easy to tell at a glance which clothes belong to which people. Let each family member pick out a distinct colour. You can use laundry markers for this, but I've found that Sharpies work just as well and are a bit cheaper. Our colour codes work like this:
- Dad = Black
- Mum = Red
- Son = Blue
- Daughter = Green
If all you want to do is colour code items, just put a mark or big dot on the tag to make it easier to tell clothes apart. I wanted to go a step further, though, because I figured I could make those tags work better for me. Instead of reading the instructions or codes on each tag, I created a letter system. And, of course, I do the lettering in the chosen colour for each family member.
A three-letter code indicates a normal wash. The first letter shows the washer setting:
- R = regular
- D = delicate
- H = hand wash (the machine setting, not actually hand washing)
- W = whites (again, a setting on my machine)
- J = jeans
The second letter shows the water temp:
- c = cold
- w = warm
- h = hot
And the third letter shows the drying method:
- R = regular
- L = low temp
- H = hang to dry
- F = lie flat to dry
So, for example, if a tag has RcR, I know that means a regular wash setting, cold water, and a regular dryer setting. If a tag has DcF, that means a delicate wash setting, cold water, and lie it flat to dry rather than use the dryer. I don't have to search tags to figure out what to do with each one. I can tell at a glance. I devised these codes based on our washer settings and what we commonly use, so when you create your codes, create them based on how you do your laundry.
I also used a two-letter code to indicate special instructions, and I really only have two of those I deal with:
- dc = dry-clean
- hw = hand wash
Note that I also used a combination of upper- and lower-case letters. That really just makes it even easier to read at a glance. I know it seems like overkill, especially when you have tags with instructions already available, but if you do clothes for a whole family, many of whom wear nearly the same sizes, you won't believe how much faster you'll be able to tackle Mount Laundry.