Kids Bedrooms: Assessing the Room and Figuring Out Solutions

momhome management

Last week’s post was about starting the journey with my daughter to get her room organized. Although I am a professional organizer, this was no easy task. My 14 year-old is a great kid but to be honest with you. She likes to keep some sentimental items and throw out others that I think are worth keeping. You can see where it gets difficult can’t you?

So to help the process along, I have decided get some help from the organizing guru Julie Morgenstern & her teen daughter, Jessi by reading their collaborative book, “Organizing from the Inside Out for Teens”. The book is great because it is written with a teens perspective and gives a mother-daughter point of view which is very helpful in this situation!  At the beginning it asks the teen to reflect on three important items: (1) what’s working; (2) what’s not working, and (3) the Essential 7 things that must be in the room.

Once my daughter completed the assessment, I found out that the challenges were not just with organizing ‘things’ and her space but dealing with her schedule and organization of her time.

Assessing the Room

Here is Lauren’s assessment of her bedroom:

What’s working?

  1. I can always find my belts, scarves, purses, and books.
  2. I always have a place to put my clothes, jewelry, makeup, books, and dance things.
  3. I like the current setup of my closet, dresser, and bookshelf.
  4. No matter how busy I get, I always find time for eating with my family, dance, helping out, and hanging with my friends.
  5. My goals are well defined when it comes to Irish dancing, grades in school, and my environmental impact.

What’s not working?

  1. I can never find my socks or pictures.
  2. I have no place to put my backpack or dance medals.
  3. I don’t have enough time for enough sleep sometimes, putting on a lot of makeup, making my bed in the morning.
  4. I procrastinate whenever I have to do homework, clean something or get out of bed.
  5. I have a hard time finishing craft projects, really boring homework, and cleaning my room.

My Bedroom- The Essential 7

  1. Books
  2. Radio/iPod dock + iPod
  3. Comfy blankets and Pillows
  4. Sketchbook
  5. Writing utensils
  6. Mirror
  7. Colorful things

Working through this process has given me a really good idea of what is important to her and what I need to respect when organizing her space with her. I was relieved to see that she likes her closet, bookshelf, and dresser. That means: no furniture purchase (yeah!).

Figuring Out Solutions

This does mean that we need to find solutions for:

  • Backpack = buy a sturdy hook that will hold her 25 lbs backpack mounted in a stud
  • Pictures = buy her a digital photo frame so she can have them scrolling through without taking up more space
  • Socks = buy two laundry bags that can house her socks: dirty and clean. The key is that you can just throw the laundry bag into the laundry. That means no mismatched socks and each child has their own socks bag so they are always together.
  • Sleep deprivation, getting out of bed, limited time in the morning  = setting some rules (we will actually use the word ‘suggestions’ – wink, wink) about going to bed early
  • Homework procrastination: check-in with her after she has been home for an hour and help her develop a time map (that is a whole other blog post)
  • Working on projects, scheduling clean up = blocking out ‘free time’ to complete projects and complete chores since she has so many extra-curricular activities
  • Conclusion: Success would mean = rewards time with friends, time on computer, and Facebook.

I think we will have a more organized teenager if we implement these changes. What do you think?

How do you help your teenager assess their room in terms of what's working and what's not working? How have you figured out solutions to make his or her room a happier place?

Photo courtesy of Flickr.
Margarita Ibbott is a mother of 3, Professional Organizer, speaker, blogger, and lover of all things social media. She lives in London, Ontario Canada but travels throughout Canada and US as an expert speaker. She recently addressed 600 organizers in San Diego at the National Association of Professional Organizers on the Ask the Expert Organizer Panel. Her favourite areas to organize are clothes closets and kitchens. Margarita does not just organize ‘on-the-spot’ but can help clients virtually using photos and video consultations. You can find her musing about organizing, product reviews and client stories at her blog: Connect with her on Twitter @DownshiftingPOS or find her on Facebook Page: Downshifting – Professional Organizing Solutions.

Margarita's co-conspirator in this process is 14 year-old Lauren. She is a straight A student, social justice and environmental activist, and national-level competitor in Irish Dancing. She will be competing in Nashville, TN this summer for North America Nationals.

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