When you think about organizing with teens, you may want to close the door and ignore everything. (Just kidding! But, really, give yourself a break.) But if you help them take ownership of their space by giving them storage options and create a compelling “why,” you’ll have a much easier time.

Create a compelling “why”

Remember being a kid? How annoying was it to have a chore mandated with no explanation? Instead of using “Because I said so,” work with your child to come up with a good reason (or reasons) why they should clean their room. Maybe they want to be able to find the Lego they want instead of hunting for it in a huge, messy pile. Maybe they want space in their room to swing a sword around, or to have a cozy reading nook.

Ask them! “What do you want to be able to do in your room that you can’t do when it’s messy?”

Getting their input and finding out their reason to organize will not only help motivate them to take responsibility for their space, but you might also learn about an interest you didn’t know they had!

Give them options

Most teenagers aren’t up to speed on the latest and greatest in storage solutions, but you are! (I mean, you’re here after all!) Unless your kids are exposed to new ideas and strategies for organization, they won’t know where to start.

For example, let’s say they need to store their homework in something other than a big pile. Explain to them that they could use a single notebook for all subjects, a binder with tabs or pockets, or a concertina folder. These are all great solutions, but letting your teenager decide gives them agency, and a sense that they’re responsible for their belongings.

Don’t shut the door on your teenager’s messy room. Talk to them about it, work with them to find a good reason to keep things clean, and help them choose how to do it.    

Organizing is a learned skill. It is never too late to learn, nor too early to learn. Have a plan, patience and persistence, and you will see the results over the years. Organizing is not “one and done”, it is a life-long process. Enjoy the journey!

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