every time i walk into a charity shop - i say every time but it's not every time, maybe 80 percent of the time, because some of the shops don't do this, thank goodness - so every time i walk into a charity shop and see the clothes arranged in colour order, i want to puke.
it's not a metaphorical puke, it's an intense 'i will throw up all over your floor' kind of feeling.
this may be partly due to my distaste for pastel colours; you are always confronted with a disproportionate volume of creams, baby pinks and lilacs.
but as i've been thinking really hard about it over the last fifteen minutes, my working conclusion is that it's actually down to the store manager's complete disregard for the hierarchy of organisation.
matching function trumps matching colour.
you are very rarely going to buy shoes, trousers, a blouse and a cardigan in the same colour.
unless it's black.
function- clothes - trousers should live beside the trousers. tee shirts should live with other tee shirts. maybe you can mix them up, but it would be by style, not colour. never colour. again, unless it's black. it feels the same as a food cupboard. in the food cupboard just about everything goes in your mouth - function - second wave organisation would then be by type of food (spices, grains) or perhaps by packaging (shape or material) and then finally by size.
colour - for example in organising images. if the underlying function is all the same, to be looked at, perhaps next in line could be colour. especially if the images have a range of unrelated content. personally i often indulge in arranging them by overall tone. arranging images by content could be similar to function. in the charity shop, colour would be secondary to function, as it makes sense to put all the denim trousers together, then maybe the tweeds.
shape - again, shape might trump colour in this instance, if you have some really fucking good shapes. maybe the pictures all have a good curve somewhere in the composition, so they go together. shape doesn't work for charity shops. it also could be problematic if you have physical objects of an unusual shape, which cause problems in grouping as they wouldn't fit together neatly. perhaps the unusual shapes could then be reorganised by size. or they may need to be put back into the overall collection of things, and starting back at function, could work well with other non shapey shapes. The main problem here, i imagine, would be if all the unusually shaped things had the same function.
size - size is another good one. it works well in the bric a brac section of a charity shop, as all the big things go on the bottom shelves and the smaller things go on the higher shelves. in this case size it is a secondary organisation after function. there are of course many different ways of doing this. it may be enough just to put all the small things (smaller than other things) in no particular order onto the shelf, as you may be satisfied with this level of organisation. however if you are more keen, the smalls should be arranged from smallest small to largest small, and the bigs from smallest big to biggest big. you will have to make the difficult decision as to when something becomes 'big'.
i hope this helps.