Have teens? Have teens will clutter!
And you think Halloween was scary!
If you have a messy teen, learning to help them help themselves, and you, stay organized will lessen the stress in your life and theirs . . . for a lifetime.
Organizing “skills” are taught and are lifetime skills. Teach them young and enjoy the benefits!
Now, before you read more… go look at their bedroom. On the way back to read this article stop in the kitchen for chocolate and maybe alcohol.
Okay. Ready? ;-D
Got Whining? I meant your teen, not you. It will happen. But it is not a barrier to the process and progress.
Deep breath… here we go:
1. Schedule uninterrupted time with them – or, just trap them in their room when you can get them in there.
Choose a slow pace. You or I might tackle our declutter jobs for an entire day, but your teen will not. An hour at a time is a good guide. Those hours will add up and eventually make a difference.
2. Grab, Dump, Decide and Sort.
Find the bed. Clear off the top. Now, one at a time, dump each dresser drawer out onto the bed and make individual decisions about what to keep and what to donate. Have a trash bag or box ready to dump into. Assume that it all needs to be washed first before donating!
3. Kids need Concrete Questions to make decisions.
Saying “how about we organize your clothing” is worthless. But saying “choose seven T-shirts to keep as pajama shirts” gets actual results.
4. Move to the Closet.
Pull out lumps, piles and hanging clothes one big blob at a time and dump on the bed, then do the same process as in #2.
5. Stand back and High 5!
Wow! Look at all that room! Do a Happy Dance together! Good memories! Take photos and send to family and friends for more cheers!!
There’s room for clothing, shoes and favorite items that have been located and are no longer hidden by the stuff that is outdated, old, too small, torn, or otherwise unworthy of daylight.
6. Assess Systems
To create a functional bedroom, den, rec room, etc. look at categories and the systems/”homes” in which they need to “live”. Does your teen’s room need a better/bigger dresser, cubbies, wall hooks,etc? Sometimes the reason clothes and items end up on the floor is because there’s no system in which to store them appropriately.
7. Back to Whining
Just be ready for the occasional “Are we done yet?!”
8. Teach your Teen Organizing Skills.
Involve the teen as much as possible. Give them ownership of all decisions. Do not take their belongings away without their permission. (This goes for spouses too, but that’s another article!)
Oh, and this means that you need to know how to organize too and be a good daily role model of how your bedroom and home looks for them. (Go ahead, eat another piece of chocolate.)
9. Tie the Activity to the Goal.
“When your room is decluttered, then you’ll have space for displaying your favorite doodads, spreading out your homework, having friends over or practicing your Got-A-Dance dance moves .”
10. Retrain Their Brain or, “Wha?”
Remember that the teen’s brain is not fully developed, so expecting logical behavior is highly discouraged.
Have fun! And, love your teen up like crazy in the process! They won’t be there forever. Except when they are . . . or move back in a few years after graduation! I’m just sayin’.
I can’t say it enough – get these skills instilled now to head off future problems and bless your child for a lifetime of less stress, embarrassment and possible big problems by losing important papers, unpaid bills or lost time.
Did I say, “Have fun?!” : )