All parents are well familiar with the fact cleaning and maintaining their rooms in order are not among teenagers’ priorities. At this age, kids are more interested in discussing the latest celebrity gossips with their friends, listening to their favourite Taylor Swift album or browsing through their Facebook news feed.
The results are the stuff every parent’s nightmare is made of – messy bedrooms with trinkets rolling all over the floor, laundry baskets overflowing with smelly pieces of clothing that were supposed to be washed a week ago… We need not continue as you probably get the picture – chaos and disorder are ruling all over the place.
At this point, it becomes evident you need to do something and help your teenage boy or girl face up to their responsibilities and learn to maintain their living space in order. If you fail to do it at this stage, your messy teen will grow up to be a messy adult. This, however, is easier said than done, which is why we have taken the time to compile a short list of tips on how to help your teen organise their bedroom.
Help the Teen to De-Clutter
Clutter is the number one enemy of a well-organised, tidy bedroom, so you should begin by assisting your teen in de-cluttering their bedroom. We warn you this will be a mean feat, but you need not worry – it only gets easier once you finish with this task.
You can go through the wardrobe and drawers to see which items and pieces of clothing are no longer needed. And there will be a bunch of those, we assure you! If you find any shirts or pants that no longer fit, collect them in a box. The same applies to old toys and gadgets, the teen is no longer interested in.
There is no need to throw away everything. If the toys and clothing are in good enough condition, you can organise a yard sale or even better – donate them to an orphanage. This is an essential step as it will teach the teen to purge and let go of belongings, they no longer use or care for.
Draw up a Cleaning Schedule
Your teen should be able to spare fifteen to twenty minutes a day to maintain their bedroom in order and complete some quick cleaning tasks. In the beginning, it would be difficult for them to stay on task. You can help by creating a cleaning and organisation schedule with hints on the chores the kid should complete each day. For instance, on Mondays they can dust the furniture; on Tuesdays, they can vacuum their bedroom’s carpeting and so on.
Some of the tasks like vacuuming, for instance, can be completed once a week. Other tasks like making the bed and collecting dirty clothing in the laundry basket are obligatory and should be tackled on a daily basis. To make things easier, you can print the schedule and stick it in a conspicuous place so that it serves as a reminder.
Organise the Closet
There’s room aplenty in teens’ closets and it isn’t difficult to deduce why – all the socks, pants, tees, and shirts end up on the floor. Help the teen organise their closet, explaining it would be much easier for them to find whatever it is they’re looking for when everything is at its place.
If you have a teen girl, you can suggest organising the pieces of clothing according to their colour. If you’re dealing with an angry teen boy, however, it would be a better idea to organise their clothing according to type. Socks should be placed in a separate drawer from underwear. The same is applicable to pants, jeans and t-shirts.
Use Containers for Smaller Articles
There are tens of trinkets in any teenager’s room. Usually these, too, end up on the floor, under the bed, on the bed, behind the closet… you get the picture. Containers or wicker baskets pose as a great alternative to lockers and tenancy cleaning solutions suggests they can help the teen contain smaller items in their designated places. You can group things together, depending on their function and size.
On that note, the teen can place smaller bins and containers in their locker or drawers to prevent chaos from taking over. They can also label each of the containers so that they know what its contents are.
Organise their Stationary and School Items
All items related to school activities should be placed either on (or in) the teen’s desk or in close proximity. Notebooks can be organised according to subject. The teen can also pair notebooks with their respective textbooks for further convenience. Stationary like paints, paintbrushes, erasers, craft items, and sketchbooks should be placed in a separate drawer in the desk. Rulers, highlighters, pens, pencils, and other writing implements should be kept close at hand, in small containers on the desk, for example.
Place a Trash Bin Somewhere in the Room
This is to prevent trash from ending up on the floor or worse, under the bed. This way, whenever the teen eats a Snickers bar, they will have no excuse for not throwing away the empty package in the trash bin.
If you’re dealing with a teen girl, you can help her choose a trash bin that corresponds to the overall style and decoration of her room. For instance, if the walls are painted in bright and cheerful pastel colours, you should opt for a bin in the same subdued nuances. Who knows, this might even further motivate the teen girl to use the bin according to its designation.
Help Your Teen Stay on Task
We’ve mentioned earlier your boy or girl should be able to spare about fifteen minutes each day to complete some small, pending chores around their bedroom. This, however, does not mean you should not lend them a hand every once in a while, when they are running behind schedule. If on any given evening, your teen has no time to cope with their chores for the day because they’re studying for an important test on the following morning, you should help out. Vacuum and put their desk in order while they are at school.
A Few Additional Tips on What Not to Do
- Don’t use money or gifts as a reward! This is a widespread practice among some parents, but in our opinion lulling teens with material rewards will produce the opposite of the desired effect. Your kid will end up completing the chores around their room just because you’ve promised to buy them the latest iPad. Thus, later in life, when you’re not around to treat them with such rewards, they will lack an incentive to complete their tasks, not only at home, but while at work also.
- Hiding the mess is one thing, organising is another! This is undoubtedly an important lesson all teenagers should learn once and for all. Just because clutter and dirty laundry are out of sight and secured in the closet, it doesn’t mean a room is well-organised and clean.
- Don’t throw a fit if a chore is not completed! Why do it when this will further rob your boy or girl of the motivation, required to maintain their bedroom in order? Yelling, punishments and threats will get you nowhere. You should sit down with your teen and calmly explain why it’s important to maintain their living space neat, clean and well-organised. Talk to them the same way you will address an adult – nobody likes to be patronised.
Last, and by no means least, is the most important and sound advice for all parents. The easiest way to teach your teenage boy or girl to face up to their responsibilities is to set a good example yourself. You can’t demand from someone to maintain perfect order in their room, when disarray is king in yours. Try out some more tips on how to help your teen maintain their bedroom in order and soon both you and the kid will reap the benefits.
Author: This Guest Post is by Sophie Clayton. Sophie is from London. She writes articles about home organization, cleaning guides and tutorials.