Teen clutter seems to proliferate faster than a hot You-Tube
video goes viral. Stop the runaway mess before it engulfs your home (or your
teen's room) with a few simple steps.
Make your teen a partner in clutter control. Teens crave privacy
and self-determination so consider letting them have more leeway in deciding
how clean to keep their own rooms. For example, clutter may be off-limits in
the family room, but permitted within reason in their bedrooms. When you enlist
your teen as a partner, and respect their growing ability and need for
self-determination, you better the odds of harmonious cohabitation.
Determine your own clutter threshold for the household and lay
down clear ground rules. Examples might include a "no food" policy for bedrooms,
requiring a clear exit path between the bed and the door for safety reasons,
and a rule that if any bad smells come from a bedroom, it then needs a thorough
cleaning by the teen. If these conditions are all met, grit your teeth about
the piles of laundry and other annoyances.
Everything in its
Place: Take time to evaluate your teen's room to determine if
they have the needed tools for neatness. Do they have adequate storage? If not,
consider investing in inexpensive shelving such as Ikea's Expedit units which can easily hold files for school papers and baskets and
bins for corralling small items and clothing. Work with, not against your teen:
if they don't fold and store clothes neatly, buy bins to hold clothing piles and
install a rack of pegs or hooks to easily capture garments.
Less is More: If the room is overstuffed with toys and clothes, encourage a
purge. Donating or selling the unused items can net your teen some money and
creates a more manageable set of belongings. Maintain order by doing a big
purge at least twice a year. Good times for purging are after major gift events
such as Christmas or birthdays.
House Rules: While teens may have leeway in their rooms, parents have every
right to set conditions about how shared rooms are managed. Rather than nag
constantly, assign every family member a chore that keeps order in shared
rooms. And give family members a designated basket or bin to be kept in the
mudroom or family room. Odds and ends can be tossed in the bins during nightly
clean up and emptied on the weekends.
incredibly creative and fun. Creating clever ways to store your craft supplies
can be just as rewarding. We've rounded up some ingenious DIY storage ideas
from a bevy of clever crafters.
Repurpose Old Furniture: A fresh coat of paint and shelves full of
colorful craft supplies can brighten any room. See how this former china hutch now does duty as a craft
station. Remember those bulky TV armoires?
Supersize flat screen TVs all but made them obsolete, but resourceful crafters
give them new life as storage centers. Why stop with furniture? This ingenious
crafter uses a wine rack to store ribbons, going from cheers
Recycle Household Goods: Old
coffee cans get upgraded to storage containers with pretty paper
and attractive labels. For stacked storage, use several dressed up soup cans in
a pyramid shape, seen here. Other trash-to-treasure
ideas include repurposing tissue rolls to hold pencils
and paint brushes and transforming empty
spaghetti sauce jars into ribbon-trimmed glass canisters. Cheap and
chic! We also love using
items designed for one purpose, such as a spice rack, for another purpose entirely,
such as storing sewing
See Clearly: Clear
not only make it easy to organize
and find craft supplies, they are a visual treat. No need to spend a fortune on
store bought containers, repurpose pantry items like baby food containers seen here or other food jars, decorated with painted lids and whimsical
Pegboard: We think pegboard is an organizing
wunderkind. See how it a savvy sewer uses it here to
store spools of thread, scissors and ribbons. Or attach hanging cups to capture pens and pencils. We love how this
pegboard marries storage and colorful décor.
Hang on!: Short on shelf
space? Task hangers with storing goods in oversize ziplock bags, seen here. Or repurpose pant hangars into ribbon holders.
Clever Craft Spaces: Crafters, sewers,
scrapbookers...your imaginations are limitless. There is no end to your clever
storage ideas: we leave you with two we love/ One, a cunning little nook with a hinged drop down desk, built into the
eaves of a home. The other, a tiny vintage suitcase,
outfitted to house
craft supplies; it's equal parts storage and style.
Pet lovers, you know there is nothing better in the
world then a furry friend. But keeping track of all the kibble and bits,
leashes, and assorted pet paperwork (vaccination schedules anyone?) isn't
always a walk in the park. Keep a tight leash on pet needs with our round up of
Products: Nothing beats pegboard for organizing odds and ends. Create
a dedicated board for your pet supplies inside a coat closet door or on a wall
in your mudroom and never misplace a leash or pet brush again. Add a hanging
organizer with clear front pockets to capture supplies such as vitamins,
shampoos and chew toys.
Station: Consider creating a designated pet station for your
four-legged friends that houses both food and water bowls. Pinterest has a number of smart ideas for organizing the pets in your life. Turns out
furry friends and high-style interior design can mix rather well. Click here to get inspired.
Purging: Do you really need that ratty chew toy or shredded
scratching post? Just as you purge your home of unwanted and unused people
items, pet gear requires purging too. Did Fido get a new chew toy? Commit to
tossing its beat up counterpart. Is your puppy crate no longer needed? Find it
a new home with a neighbor or by checking with your local Humane Society. Many
chapters accept unneeded pet gear and extra food when finicky pets (we're talking
about you Meowsers!) reject a new brand.
Paperwork: Four-legged friends generate almost as much
paperwork as their human counterparts. Stay on top of important vaccination
schedules and health records with regular filing. Store pet health records with
your family's health files so all critical health records are in the same spot.
Also, keep a file handy for coupons for pet food, kitty litter and shampoos.
Ditto information on groomers and pet boarding. Want a paperless pet? Enlist
your smartphone or tablet to help track kitty's appointments and dietary needs
with apps like MyPetsPro and PetVetRecords.
Sitters: If a dog-walker or regular weekend pet sitter is part
of your life, use a pet crib sheet that provides a seamless information
exchange. You can use this free, downloadable sheet
from Microsoft or the stylish sheets from Etsy designers here, here and
Finally, if your furry (and feathery) friends are as
quick to shed as they are to snuggle, a vacuum cleaner is a necessity. Opt for
one built to tackle animal fur like the models listed in 5 Best Vacuums for Pet Hair.
If dialing for delivery is far
preferable to facing your disorganized pantry come dinnertime, it's time to
organize for a culinary reboot. With just a few simple steps, you will be back
to dishing up home cooked meals.
Pull all your boxes, cans and spices off the shelves. Dust and scrub until your
space is clean and appealing. Toss all items with expired dates and that you
just don't use.
Face all your labels out so you can easily see what's on the shelves. This
helps prevent the all too common phenomenon of buying groceries you already
have. It also makes it easier and less frustrating to find needed ingredients.
Savvy chefs group like items together, either by categories, such as pastas,
soups, dried beans, or by cuisines, such as Asian or Latin American
ingredients. Think about what system makes the most sense given your own needs
and explain it to your family so you can work together to keep order in the
Consider paring your pantry down to the bare essentials. Do you really need 40
spices? You may only use a dozen or so regularly. Consider storing less frequently used items
elsewhere so that your pantry just houses items you cook with daily. Keep a
typed list of stored items inside your pantry door so you know what (and
where!) less frequently used items are stored.
know the drill, buy better quality items, but fewer of each. Use this same
approach in your pantry. Do you really need five mustards, nine different
shapes of pasta? Identify what you love and buy it in the best quality you can
afford. And while you're at it: invest
in top quality clear containers so you can decant pastas, spices, flours, and
dried beans. When you can find it, you can cook it!
mid-way through winter so odds are good your coat closet is a mess of bulky
items and mismatched gloves. What's that you say? You can't find your hat? We
feel your pain (and your possible frostbite.) Read on for tips for whipping
your closet back into shape for the rest of the wintery season.
Out with the Unused: Closets turn into
catchalls quicker than snowflakes melt on a tongue. Identify unused and
unneeded items by emptying your closet-yup, we're starting with a
blank slate-and put back only those items that truly belong.
Saying Goodbye: Gather unworn clothes and paraphernalia
into groups: one to donate, one to pass along to friends and another to trash.
Be sure to keep receipts for any items donated to charity.
Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow: Having trouble saying good-bye? Ask
yourself three questions: Does it fit? Do I wear/use it? Do I love it? If the
answer to any of these questions is no, the item needs to go. Consider working
with a trusted friend and their unbiased eye to evaluate your belongings.
Color Code: Once your closet is edited to include only
clothes and gear that are seasonally appropriate, it's time to color code items
by family member. Assign each member a
color that corresponds to hooks, bins and whatever other tools you use. Color
coding helps assign items a designated home and makes it easy for even the
youngest family member to neatly stow away their belongings.
Tame Odds & Ends: Don't let scarves and other cold
weather accessories overrun your closest. Maximize the space on the inside of a
closet door to hang small, frequently used items. Use clothes pins to clamp
gloves and mitten together so one doesn't go missing.
Neat & Tidy: Once your closet is shipshape, maintain
order by arranging all hangers in the same direction and by storing items
requiring folding, draped over hangers rather than in sloppy piles. Keep a
small trash can to corral dry-cleaning bags and wire hangers. You may also wish
to invest in a plastic or metal shoe tray to capture wet boots near your
Beyond FoldersTM is written by a team of Pendaflex associates
passionate about time management, communications, productivity and workplace organization. Believing in "continuous improvement" on both a personal and professional level, they share their unique perspectives on subjects of common interest to our readers.