Lake Stevens Journal - Your hometown newspaper since 1960


By Monika Kristofferson
Contributing Writer 

Ten guidelines to help teens get organized


Is it your house or is it their room? Ahhh, the lovely push, pull and balance of living with teens and their stuff.

How do you keep peace and harmony under one roof when it comes to organization, your preferences and your teen’s preferences?

As a professional organizer and mom, I know it can be tricky.

Follow these ten guidelines to help teens get organized:

• Purchase the book, “Where’s My Stuff?” by Lesley Schwartz to give your kids a neutral way to learn about organization and open the conversation with you.

• Compromise. What’s really important? Do teens really have to make their bed every day? Maybe you can let that go, but stick to enforcing washing the sheets once a week.

• Create house rules. What can you live with? Can teens eat in their room as long as they bring dishes out every day? Do they have to do their own laundry? Make the rules clear.

• Are clean and dirty clothes mixed up on the floor? Purchase two laundry baskets, one for clean and one for dirty clothes. Use two different colors or add labels. You may prefer that clean clothes were hung up, but at least digging from a clean laundry basket is better than the floor.

• Help kids succeed by giving them the tools they need to get organized-hooks, baskets, shelves, bookcases, clothing hangers, jewelry organizers, make-up baskets, a dresser, etc.

• Consider a room make-over with your teen to help them purge the old and outgrown and update the room with new paint, bedding and organizing supplies.

• Restore order weekly. Instead of nagging every day, allow kids to be messy during the week with a “restore order” day once a week to pick up, wash sheets and vacuum. This will allow teens some freedom and give you peace of mind that things can’t get too out of control.

• Realize that your teen may have different standards than you do; this can be a hard one to swallow. But not everyone is wired the same way.

• Close the door, sometimes ignorance really is bliss.

• Acknowlege when kids are following the rules or doing what you have asked. Make sure you point out what they have done instead of saying, “Good job.” Instead, “I appreciate that you hung up the clothes that I just washed,” will have a bigger impact.

Remember to breathe, this too shall pass. Before you know it, college, a move or the military will be in their near future and you may even miss a little bit of the chaos.

To reach Monika please call 425-220-8905 or visit her website at


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