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The visual identifiers such as the one above (this one has a word on it, usually they would not), are a part of the visual language that I used for a number of years. There is a long story that explains why that is – but I won’t bore you with it. Regardless, the visual identifiers that I used make a wonderful way to help organize, remember, sort through information, tag stuff for now or later, tag stuff as messages or reminders to family members or to yourself, and generally, keep up with vast amounts of things, information and events/activities.

From noting whether the dishes in the dishwasher are clean or dirty (particularly more important when they are dirty and waiting in the dishwasher to be washed) – to sorting out events and activities that will occur on various days of the week, the visual identifiers help organize living tasks into more manageable portions easily recognizable and visually understandable with even a quick glance. It doesn’t take long to figure out how to use them effectively in your own household and using your own ways. I can share some of the ways I’ve used them, but these visual tools are perfect to use in any way they work effectively for you and for your household.

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I made some with words and an entire palette of colorful magnets with no words but simply colors in specific combinations. They can mean one thing square and another in the round shape. Or, one set of uses can have round ones – like notes tacked around the house using them – and another use, such as sorting recipes or for a calendar, using the square ones – whatever works. In our household, the days of the week had seven colors of their own with each day having a color that was the contrast of the day before to make it easier to see them next to one another. That made, Monday – pink, Tuesday – green, Wednesday – yellow, Thursday – blue, Friday – orange, Saturday – red and Sunday – purple.

For each of my youngest children, there was a color specific to each of them and in our house, we had two towels and washcloths for each of them also in those colors making it easy to see who put the towel under the bed wet and left it there. It also meant there were no fights for towels which was incredibly handy. We used hot pink for one daughter, bright purple for another daughter and neon turquoise for my youngest son. It made things very simple to have these colors specific to them since these colors were not often used for anything else in our household.

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Of course, simply enough in the visual languages / mnemonics I used – red meant stop or don’t do that, green meant go and several other things including things that were ready to go, yellow meant something that was known or needed, orange meant create something with this or that creating was occurring with it, and clear or white meant that something was complete, finished or ready to go to the next step if it was in a set.

There is actually an entire chart of what each color was used to identify, but really – it is just common sense. I used the colors in ways that were already commonly used – like pink for phone calls to make because the little pads of paper that office workers use to write down call messages are commonly in pink. Variations in tone or hue, could mean something different but usually along the same lines as the color itself. In my visual language mnemonics, where green means go or ready to go, or occasionally “get money for this” – bright, neon green means this has gone too far = way too far, back up the design or the concept a little (or a lot, as the case may be.) But, for someone else, those colors could be used in some other way, just as effectively.

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Today, I made magnets to use as visual identifiers – some have words, but the real set of them do not. If it were in my house, it is more likely that I would put a red magnet on the dirty dishes situation where they are sitting in the dishwasher waiting to be washed and I would put it right on the door top where it sets in under the counter. That way, when the door is opened with someone about to get out a dish, they would see the red magnet and stop to ask if the dishes are clean or not – or at the very least, take a closer look at them.

And, it would be the easiest place to remember to remove the magnet from the door when the dishes are being washed to put the magnet wherever its neutral place is – probably on the side of the fridge near the sink where I would see it to use it the next time as I start loading the dishwasher. Anyway, I probably wouldn’t have the one with the word “dirty” or “clean” on it because I wouldn’t see it as well – nor do I believe any of my children or the husbands or roommates I’ve ever had would read it or notice it with the words regardless. But they do notice a damn big old red dot magnet on something – I know they see that . . .

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