How to Organize Your Teen’s Bedroom

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, youth are doing more today than ever before, and are feeling the accompanying stress. While their minds and bodies are going through dramatic changes, they are also tasked with balancing the demands of school, volunteering, jobs, homework, sports/activities, family obligations, social pressures and finding time for friends.

organize teen

A survey conducted by Kids Help Phone (Teens Talk: A Report on Youth Issues 2015) showed that 42 percent of teens are stressed, with that number increasing to 50 percent among 18-year-olds.

Now, what if that tween/teen’s bedroom, intended to be their sanctuary, is also a cluttered mess?

According to the Professional Organizers of Canada, 83 percent of Canadians indicate they are extremely disorganized, and 91 percent feel clutter negatively affects their lives.

With Netflix shows like Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and Get Organized with The Home Edit, the topic of clutter has become a cultural obsession, one that is well-documented, and proven to be a source of stress and anxiety. When we get clutter (excessive visual stimuli) out of the way, we create space for the life we want to live.

The new school year is underway, and tweens/teens are back in the classroom. Now is a great time to sit down with them to discuss the life-changing benefits of getting their bedroom organized for good mental health, and a productive school experience. They will take the skills learned today in decluttering, organizing, and setting up systems, with them to university and beyond. Helping your teen/tween choose some new personal touches for their bedroom that reflect their personality and age/stage, can go a long way in building the parent/teen relationship.

Related: 30 Days to Declutter Your Home

Some of the side benefits to getting a teen’s room in order include fewer fights, and no need to tidy their room before the cleaning company arrives!

Parents and teens should approach this project by thinking of the tween/teen bedroom as their own “apartment,” with zones for specific activities.

POSSIBLE BEDROOM ZONES:

1. Sleeping

2. Studying

3. Reading

5. Getting dressed

6. Getting ready

7. Hobbies

8. Entertaining

9. Laundry

HOW TO ORGANIZE AND SET UP A BEDROOM OR SPACE

1. Create a plan. Collaborate on an organizational and design plan for their bedroom–this doesn’t have to be expensive. Ask questions to uncover what interests and passions they would like their room to reflect and define how they want to use the space. Determine what furniture, organizing tools, decor or other items are missing from the room to achieve the goal, and create a shopping list. For getting ready, consider adding a full length and/or makeup mirror, to keep guests off the bed include extra seating, and provide a hamper to keep dirty clothes contained. Go online for some design inspiration and have fun!

2. Edit and declutter. As you work through each section of the room, take everything out and place similar items together to get a clear picture of the current inventory and to figure out where the gaps are. Have large clear plastic bins and heavy-duty garbage bags on hand. Your teen should touch each item and determine if they need, like, or use it, and then place it into the correct bin or bag based on whether they will keep, toss, donate, or sell it.

Questions to ask when choosing what to keep:

Do I need it?

Do I use it?

Does it fit?

Is it sentimental?

Would I buy it again?

Does it make me happy (spark joy)?

3. Organize. Now that you know the room’s inventory, you can start to build zones that add structure and purpose. Ensure there is a flow to the space and place the most-used items within easy reach. Put the grouped items together in containers and label them for when needed. Carefully measure spaces before buying. To maximize space, opt for stylish and multifunctional furniture and storage systems. The goal is to make it easy for them to put items away.

4. Style. Help your teen/tween create a comfortable haven that will make them proud. Stylize and accessorize to reflect their desired aesthetic and have them display items that bring them joy. Leave physical and visual space around objects so that they are more easily seen, and don’t fill every nook or cover every surface.

5. Maintain and prevent. Care for items and put things back in their place. Commit to the new plan, habits, and routines, to avoid a reoccurrence of clutter. Put things away—not down—and continually declutter and shop mindfully in the future.

Be gentle with your teen/tween and don’t confuse a little mess with clutter. It’s about progress, not perfection. Teens are also more likely to listen if parents lead by example.

Organizing can be stressful and emotional. If you’re having challenges, consider hiring a professional organizer.

Story by Michelle Dunn

Our Current Issue

IslandParent Aug/Sep 2021

GRAND Summer 2021

Family Resource Guide