Reality Organizing for Your Teen – It’s Not Just Cleaning Up

Do you feel like your teen’s room is out of control?  Like most organizing issues, it is a result of more than just a need to clean.  Sure, dirty dishes and clothes can be cleaned up and the trash can emptied, but the underlying issues will still need to be addressed.  Here’s how I address organizing for teens.

Set Example- Your teen can become organized, but it starts with you. Eliminate your own chaos. Be organized and be on time. Learn to prioritize. Know how to work well and how to relax.
KISS and make-up- Keep it Simple Sweetie is the right approach to organizing, but so is forgiveness. Forget who is to blame for the messy path your child has taken, forgive yourselves the past, and start fresh with a positive, can-do attitude.
Give warning– Do not wake your son on Saturday morning and ask which of his preschool art he would like to keep. Do inform him, “Saturday morning at 11:00 we’ll be working together to reorganize some of your belongings. Eat breakfast first.”
Reality Check- Determine what is working and what is not, establish motivation, examine time management and create a list of goals. Remember, organizing is about his priorities, not yours.

Reality Attack- Teach the 4 C’s: Classify, Clear out, Control, and Continue. Save only what is useful and appreciated, find easily accessible homes in established zones for what remains. Together, create a realistic maintenance plan.

Repeat Yourself- Periodic reminders are necessary. Lower the annoyance factor by coming to an agreement with your child as to how often (or under what conditions) he is to be reminded. Pleasant tone, please.
Communicate Expectations- Assume nothing. Everything is in its place and a plan has been established, so we’re all good? Not really. Let him know where you’ve placed the bar and your confidence in his ability to achieve it. Then be patient. Change takes time, diligence, and consistency.