Samantha G. who is a member on this site asked me to post some tips about helping tween to get organized. This topic is a familiar one because I have an 11-year-old with lots of stuff. Last fall, I went through her room and completely reorganized and contained her stuff, which was quite a project, but to her credit went rather smoothly. Although my daughter is a visual type who accumulates a lot of clutter, we provided her with a place for everything...and, with a little push, she puts everything in its place.
I started with the bookcase where out of 5 shelves, only one is filled with books, while the others are filled with knick-knacks. It's amazing how much she's collected over her short life, but it's enough visually drive most people nuts! After sorting and organizing the shelves, I wanted to come up with a way to visually minimize the visual clutter. To save time and money, I bought a canvas-type drop cloth at Lowe's that had finished edges. It cost all of $10. We measured and cut the drop cloth, leaving a few inches to tuck it over the top of the bookcase attaching to velcro so it would stay put. I finished the two remaining edges and voila, instant clutter control. We then spray painted orange and red (the colors used in her room) stencils on the canvas. It looks like a custom design!
Next we tackled the closet, which already had shelving in it. We sorted her clothing, eliminating items she'd grown out of and things she didn't wear. I then added a canvas hanging bag with two drawers to house her sock, underwear and training bras. The open shelves are used for shirts and pants. On the shelves, I used canvas containers (all the same style) for Electronics, Hair Accessories, Teen Magazines, Games, Pajamas, Jewelry and other categories of things she has. The labeled containers again minimize the visual clutter and make putting things away very simple.
Her desk has two small containers on it for pencils, paper and other little items that collect on the surface, but that can be tossed into the baskets, which are sorted and purged regularly. Her nightstand has closed storage where she keeps an extra blanket, some reading materials and her eye mask for sleeping (yes, she actually wears it!).
The key in any Tweens room is to do one big clean sweep and edit and update the room so items that can be stored (school projects and artwork) are not co-mingling with the everyday items. Again, have a place for everything, to make clean up a cinch. Allow extra space to grow in the containers, which include dresser drawers, nightstands and under the bed storage. You don't want to jam pack things into a space. There needs to be a bit of space so you can access what lives in each container.
Teaching your child how to straighten up and organize is important. It will require you to supervise until they get the hang of it. And remember, there is a difference between cleaning and organizing
: If a room is organized, cleaning is a breeze!