Inside: Use these teen-approved tips to motivate your teen to declutter and organize their room.
A guest post by my teen daughter
Is your home the relaxing space you want it to be?
How about your kids’ rooms? Are you scared of what you might find when you open the door?
In this post, I’m talking about our journey with simplifying and decluttering with our kids. And then my teen daughter included her 20 tips to motivate your teen to declutter and organize their room.
Decluttering can be a bigger challenge with family members of different ages and with varying comfort levels with stuff.
But with time, effort, and practice you can work together to create a home that functions well for everyone.
Read on for our journey with decluttering and teen-approved tips to help you get started.
How do you motivate your teen to declutter?
We started decluttering our home when our daughters were two and four years old. That was almost ten years ago.
And it’s been a journey. I noticed early on in motherhood that clutter was negatively impacting our family.
That was a motivator for me to start simplifying. I involved our daughters in the process even though they initially struggled to declutter and it took more time.
It was important for them to learn how to be responsible with their things so they began decluttering along with me.
As time has gone on, it’s gotten easier for them and they will go through their things on their own. That doesn’t mean they necessarily keep their room clean at all times, but they have learned how to determine what stays and what goes.
Knowing how to manage your things is an important life skill that they will take with them into adulthood.
I asked my daughter, who is a teen, to share what she’s learned over the years and her best tips on how to motivate your teen to declutter and organize their room.
20 Tips to Motivate Your Teen to Declutter and Organize
Use these ideas to help get your kids to declutter their space.
1. Don’t tackle everything at once.
Do not tell your teen to start decluttering multiple areas at once, or it will be much easier to get overwhelmed.
It’s a lot easier to start the decluttering process if you focus on one small area at a time. There have been times when I have not followed this tip, and it’s a lot harder to be motivated that way.
2. Listen to something you like.
Listen to music you enjoy while decluttering.
3. Take 15-minute breaks.
Take short breaks for a set time of about fifteen minutes. Taking breaks gives you something to look forward to. You won’t get burnt out and tired as quickly if you take short breaks.
4. Use the one in one out rule.
When you get one new thing, get rid of a few things in that category. For example, my sister has a lot of stuffed animals, so when she got a new one, she got rid of several others.
This method can help you not accumulate as many things, and then when you declutter it will be easier.
5. Use organizers.
Let your teen pick organizers they like for their space. I got an organizer for my skincare and makeup, and it actually makes me want to keep it organized. Organizers can help you not want to have too many things.
6. Sell unwanted items.
Sell clothes that can still be used so your teen could make money from it. It definitely could help motivate your teen if they get a profit for things they sell.
The items not only get a new life with someone new, but the seller gets something out of it too.
7. Break it down into smaller tasks.
Another option is to go through multiple sections in a day, but take breaks in between sections. You don’t have to do just one section a day.
For example, you could declutter half of your dresser on one day, and save the rest of it for a different day. You could even take a break for a day in between.
8. Avoid making threats.
Do not give threats like, if you don’t clean your room you can’t hang out with your friends.
While threats can make someone do what you want them to, it will not give them a good attitude towards the job they have to do. It’s better to approach it in an encouraging way.
9. Determine a number in advance.
To go through clothes, set a number like maybe 3 and then go through each section of clothes and get rid of that number of things from each section.
This method can help you declutter clothes in an effective way. It gets you to think, “What do I actually like and use the most?”
10. Declutter before holidays.
Before Christmas or your birthday, go through and declutter things over a period of time.
In the holiday season as well as near your birthday, you are likely to get new gifts. That’s why, during that time it is especially helpful to declutter things you don’t really need.
11. Focus on obvious areas first.
To clean your whole room you want to put away all the things that are out where people can see them before you organize drawers and other hidden areas.
Something to keep in mind when you are cleaning is that you want to clean up the floor and anything else that’s visible in your room first. After that, you can work on details like organizing drawers.
12. Create a deadline.
Work with your teen to set a deadline of when everything has to be done. It’s easier to work if you have a specific deadline when you need to have it finished.
I like to do things in sections with breaks as mentioned above.
13. Invite a friend over.
Ask a good friend to come over while you’re decluttering. They can either help or just having someone to talk to can make the time pass more quickly.
You can also ask for their input if you need a second opinion on whether or not to keep something.
14. Plan a reward.
Reward your teen while they are still getting in the practice of decluttering or cleaning without being asked.
It may not be wise to reward your teen every time they clean when you ask them to, but if they start doing it without being asked, you can reward them now and then. Just make sure they don’t always expect a reward.
15. Set specific goals.
Give them a specific goal to work towards. It’s easier to organize when you have a clear end result to work towards.
Having an endgame can help you want to clean more.
16. Appreciate their efforts.
Once they reach the goal, you can let them know that you’re proud of them, and that they did a good job.
Reaching a goal is rewarding in itself. But praise and encouragement are appreciated too. Complimenting their work might help them want to set goals for themselves.
17. Use the 6-month rule.
Encourage your teen to consider not keeping any clothes that they haven’t worn in the last 6 months, and don’t think they would wear in the next 6 months.
If they know they haven’t worn an item lately and aren’t likely to in the future, that’s a pretty sure sign to get rid of it. Think about if any of your clothes could benefit someone else more than they benefit you.
18. Purchase fewer items.
Tell your teen to try not to purchase the same thing in many different colors or many very similar pieces that have the same purpose. It’s ok to have the same thing in a couple of colors if you wear both a lot.
However, making sure you don’t purchase too many things in the first place will make decluttering easier.
19. Consider function and use before buying.
Before you buy new items, think of how they will be used, if you already have a similar item, and how excited it makes you feel.
Thinking of these things before you purchase something is another way to help manage how many things you have.
20. Think about who you could give them to.
If there is a specific category of items your teen has held on to but does not seem to use, suggest that they give those things to someone who could enjoy the items more.
For example, if your teen still has fidget toys and doesn’t use them, you could tell them it would be a good idea to pass them along to someone else.
What are your favorite tips to motivate your teen to declutter and organize? Share them in the comments.
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