Tips for Taming Teen Clutter

Published Thursday, February 28, 2013 7:43 PM

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.

Bedroom Boundaries: 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.





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# Cherry Reyes said on Friday, March 01, 2013 7:47 PM

I finally found someone blogged about this! Exactly what I needed tips on: clutter, teens & organizing. I'm sure I'm not the only one. Thanks!

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