Teenagers are busy, busy people. Often they get a bad rap from adults calling them lazy. But in my experience, which includes rearing five daughters and professionally working with troubled teens they are ambitious, fun and interesting. Teenagers are my favorite age.
However, a lot of fights happen between parents and teens because they don't keep their rooms straight and clean. Out of five girls I had one who was habitually disorganized. We finally came to the agreement that she would keep the door to her room closed and would clean and organize it once a week. That worked for both of us. Now that she is an adult and has her own place she is organized. Teach correct principals and eventually they will govern themselves.
I had a teenager ask me to help her organize her bedroom so let's get to it:
She told me that her room is so full of clutter she avoids it. With a few tips and systems in place this can become her refuge from the world and a place to bring her friends to chat and have a good time.
You have recognized there is a problem so now what you need to do is start working from the inside out in your room. Turn on your favorite music, get a treat and dig in. Start in your closet by taking everything out. I know this is a lot of work, but I suspect half of it is already on the floor. You need to assess what space you have and get rid of all those clothes you never wear because you don't like them; they need mending, don't fit or are out of date. If you have seasonal clothes:
- Place the items that hang, in the back of your closet on the rod or move to a different closet in your home if there is space.
- Fold the clothes and put them in a clear plastic container with a lid and put it on the top of your closet shelf. Label the container (seasonal clothes or you can put winter, summer, skiing etc).
- Or make use of storage beds. Use the under the bed roll out containers to store seasonal clothes. If your bed isn't tall enough to do this, buy the bed risers and that will give you an additional six to eight inches of space under your bed.
Whatever you do, don't keep the clothes you wear now with clothes you wear at a different time of year. Rotate your clothes in and out.
You have premium spaces in your room and you want these areas available for the things you use most often.
Now that you have taken everything out and looked at each piece of clothing, hang them back up in the closet, putting like things together—shirts, skirts, pants, dresses and so on. Have a place for your shoes, either a shoe rack on the floor or a hanging one on the closet rod or over your door.
Next go to your dresser and take everything out of your drawers. If you want, you can do one drawer at a time. Use containers in your drawers to keep everything together and organized. Neatnix has great containers for organizing drawers, I use them and it even amazed me what a time saver they have been to me.
Your desk is next. Go to your desk drawers and do the same thing, but if you really want to start on the clutter on your floor, well okay. Pick up only the clothes at this time. Either hang or fold the clothes as you pick them up or put them in the hamper if they are dirty. Assign a different drawer for different things, one for sport clothes, one for underwear, tee shirts, shorts, pants, and night clothes. Of course you can double up in the drawers; again containers will make your life easier as things will stay neatly in their intended place.
Keep a hamper in your closet, one that hangs or one on the floor. You can keep it in the corner of your room, get one that is cute and looks good. Wicker baskets are nice, they can also be spray painted any color you like.
I know this is time consuming, clutter didn't happen overnight. Give yourself the time needed to do a complete job and then you won't be wasting time every day or avoiding your room because of all the clutter.
If you have sport equipment that has to be kept in your room, get a basket to contain the rackets, balls, whatever it is. If you don't use them very often see if they can fit on a closet shelf or in a pull out under the bed. You can store your sheets for your bed under your bed in a pull out container if you need to. Fold the top and bottom sheet and put them in the matching pillow case to keep them nicely folded together. This works well for the linen closet also.
Take everything out of your cubby holes and drawers in your desk area. How many pens and pencils do you have? Get rid of all but five. Only keep the ones you really like. It doesn't matter that it is a good pen if you don't use it. It is a waste of time to pick up a pen and put it back because you don't like it so you don't use it. Put containers in your drawers to hold everything you put in them, pens, paper, glue, note pads, tape, computer disks, pushpins for a cork board, notes from friends, whatever it is you keep in your drawers.
Then when you have used something it is easy to put it away because you can just toss it in to the container where it lives. If you don't have drawers in your desk organize the top of your desk the same way, using containers for everything. Buy cute containers, again Neatnix has great organizers you can use. Have a container for your school papers on the top of your desk where it is handy, or in one of the drawers. Do not keep all of your school papers. Keep a sampling of your work. Put these in a large manila envelope and put it on your closet shelf. Only save one envelope per year.
Make your bed every morning and I mean every morning. If you do school work on your bed it will be ready for you when you come home from school, your friends and you can sit on your bed to talk, and at night it will be ready to turn down the sheet to sleep. If you do your homework on your bed be sure to put it in your back pack for the next day (hang your back pack from your desk chair) or if it is ongoing it can be on your desk, in the designated basket.
Make up, manicure supplies, perfumes and other personal things put together. Always put likes together—Get cute containers and put your make up all in one place. You can even have separate containers within a larger container. Do the same with the other things. The things you don't use very often either put on a shelf in your closet, if it is convenient, or in the bottom drawer of your dresser or in a space that is not premium space but readily accessible. Another good organizing container that has more than one use is a shoe rack over your door. It can hold scarves; baskets of things like make up, hair brushes, blow dryer, curling iron, and other girl things.
Now it is time to pick up anything that is left on the floor. Put these things either in the desk drawers, recycle container, garbage or the basket of 'take things to other rooms that shouldn't be living in your bedroom'.
If you eat in your room put the dirty dishes by the door when you are done and as you leave the room they can go back to the kitchen. As you clean out your room get some kind of container—a basket, box, sack to put things in that need to go to a different room. After you have finished with your room then they go back, don't waste your time doing it one at a time.
You now have a system in place—everything has a place and you put everything in its place. I know that doesn't always happen, but by everything having a home they will have a better chance of living there. When you try on clothes and are in a mad dash and leave them on your floor, make a pact with yourself you will hang them up before going to bed, no matter what. If you threw them down because you really don't like them and will never wear them, recycle them, and don't clutter up your space with them.
By assigning a place for everything and having containers to hold them you will be able to get in the habit of putting things away so clutter doesn't accumulate. You will like your bedroom again and won't avoid it. Your mom will be saying, "why do you spend so much time in your room, I never see you".
Marilyn is a creative organizer who helps women, seniors & their families to create space and end clutter in homes and offices by setting up custom made systems. Visit her website http://www.marilynbohn.com for free organizing tips.
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