Organizing a Teen’s Bedroom for the New Year

teenroomSomething about the New Year gives us the desire to organize or improve our lives. It’s a fresh start! Even teenagers get the fever to start January with a new attitude. One resolution that all parents want their teens to make is to keep a clean room, but that isn’t a very popular resolution with teens. However, there are some ways that parents can make it easy on a teen to keep their room less messy and make it fun by combining it with a minor room makeover.

Be sure to make your teen’s room makeover a team effort – do not just tell your teen what you are going to do with their room! If you try to “surprise” them with a cleaned room, most teens will feel like you invaded their privacy. Instead, sit down with your teen and discuss what things you think need to be done, and then, ask for their input. Be sure to listen to their ideas, and remember to be respectful. Discuss the activities and hobbies your teen would like his/her bedroom to accommodate and what furnishings and floor space is needed for those activities. Offer your organization ideas, but let them have final say about which ideas are in or out. Listen to their ideas and try to incorporate some of them into the final agreement. Once you have a joint plan, find a day that you can tackle the room together.

Here are ideas for you and your teen to consider when organizing their room:

Start with cleaning. You won’t be able to do much in your teen’s room if it’s messy. Cleaning is the first step. If it feels overwhelming to your teen, get a timer and suggest you work for 15 minutes and then, take a break. Start in one corner of the room and work your way towards the door. Get 4 boxes and label them: donate, trash, belongs elsewhere, and keep. Toss broken items, old papers or other worthless articles into the trash. Place unwanted clothing and other items that are in good condition in a box to donate to a local charity. Find new homes for the items that are in the “belongs elsewhere” box. Only items in the “keep” box will actually stay in your teen’s room.

Make it fun. Your teen is much more likely to be excited about redecorating then reorganizing their room, so try to include elements of both. Maybe you can paint the walls in a fun color or pattern. Or, you could allow them to put up posters or art they really like – even if it seems strange to you. If you have a crafty teen, suggest they make collages with pictures of them and their friends, ticket stubs, and other mementos as art for their walls.

Find a designated study area. Your teen needs a place to work on homework and projects, whether that’s in their room or not. It will help them focus and be more organized. They need a desk with either drawers or labeled bins to hold school supplies, a recycle bin and trash can underneath, and a pegboard on the wall above to provide contained spaces for notes, photos and calendars. No more looking for that invitation or phone number – it’s right there on the wall. You are halfway through the school year, so figure out which school supplies you’re running low on and buy more.

Get creative with clothing piles. One of the most common complaints about teens is that they constantly throw their clothes (clean and dirty) on the floor. If parents want to try to improve this problem, they will need to try to make it as easy as possible for their teen to avoid this habit. Your teen absolutely needs their own laundry basket or hamper for their room to contain their dirty clothes. Ask their preference if they want a colorful basket in the closet or a more decorative hamper in their room. As for clean clothes, many teens don’t want to take the time to fold them and put them away. Make it easier for your teen by getting a good closet organizer. Double hanging racks, shelving units, and cubicles provide numerous options for creating an organized design. If your teen only has to hang up his or her shirts (instead of folding them) and throw their jeans in the cubicle, they will be more willing to keep their clothes off the floor.

Create attractive storage spaces. Install lots of wall-mounted shelves with containers to hold a wide-variety of books, frames, trophies, hobby supplies or personal items. Store less frequently used items on higher, out-of-the-way shelves. Be sure to label the containers for items, not the shelf where items are stored. That way, if containers move, the items are still put in the right one. Get creative and use refurbished old lockers, colorful canvas baskets, brightly painted dressers or wallpapered cubicles for additional storage – teens love funky décor.

Turn accessories into wall art. Teens have many treasures that may not seem that important to you. Instead of trying to have them tuck them away, consider embracing them by installing hooks on the walls to display them. It gets the items off the floor, and adds wall decoration that is meaningful for your teen. For example, wall hooks can store skateboards, surfboards, guitars, baseball bats, or other hobby equipment. Girls can use hooks (even decorative shower hooks placed on a towel bar installed on a wall in their room) to organize and display necklaces, scarves, hats, belts, or bags.  

Final thoughts…

Your teen’s room may never be the squeaky clean place you dream of, but it can be a reasonably organized room if you work together. If you really want it to work, then you will have to compromise and give your teen a room that makes them feel comfortable and reflects their own style.

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