The Friday Fix: Organization, an Important Life Skill for Teens

The Friday Fix: Organization, an Important Life Skill for Teens

Whole House Organization Challenge: Week 10

While reading this week’s guest post on kid's bedroom organization, I realized that each time I’ve covered this topic, it’s been with smaller children in mind. 

One visitor to this blog recently lamented in his comment:  “I'm currently tackling both of my pre-teen daughters' rooms and it has been nothing but a headache! They just have way too much stuff.”  

This got me thinking that perhaps I could show you some great examples of rooms that feature timeless organization principles, awesome design and subtle life skills for teens- all rolled into one.  Even if your child is still small, these examples can help you plan now to address future needs.

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Teaching Kids How to Live

There is an expression in French called "le savoir vivre", or "le savoir de vivre".   It means knowledge of life, good breeding, or the ability to live elegantly and with politeness according to universally acceptable manners of thinking and behavior.   Simply put, le savior vivre means that a person knows how to live. 

RELATED POST: How to Organize Your Kids' Bedroom in 7 Easy Steps

So what's the connection between "knowing how to live" and organizational skills for teens?  Well, quite a bit actually.  Being organized is a repetitive cycle of forethought, self-discipline and execution.  Have you ever met a young adult who was completely exasperated by a simple series of tasks in the workplace?  It's painful to watch.  It could be that such a person never learned to organize anything (thoughts, tasks, or a living space) prior to entering the workforce.      

Indeed, basic organization skills can teach a teen the simple principles of rank and order, boundaries, and how to weed out the unnecessary distractions.       

Map It Out

I love how the room in the photo above is mapped out into zones.  There is a zone for study, lounging, and sleeping.  There is ample storage.  And there's even enough space left over for a favorite teenage activity - dancing.  When you think about it, aren't most places like schools, libraries, and even stores mapped out into zones or departments?  Organizing a teen's bedroom in the same manner gives him a fore gleam of how things are often done in the real world.  

Since repetition is the mother of retention, why not practice arranging other rooms in your home into zones?

RELATED POST:  Setting Up Kitchen Stations

Let It Go and Move On

Anyone with children knows that they come with a ton of stuff.  
As they become teens though, that "stuff" seems to quadruple.  Their lives are suddenly filled with extra curricular actives like band, sports, and other after school programs.  Clearly, all the toys that used to fill the room are no longer needed.  Regular purging is essential.  

Organization skills can teach a teen the art of letting go - and of not taking on too much at one time.  Clutter in any form is disruptive and stressful.   Learning to organize things early in life encourages a teen analyze situations and decide what needs to be eliminated.

BONUS TIP: Use the ‘one in, one out’ rule. If your teen purchases something new, then they have to get rid of something old.

It is clear from the photo above that this teen loves sports.  But he has wisely chosen to have on display only a few sports items at a time.  The sneakers at the foot of the bed let's us know that this teen, although pretty neat, is not overly rigid.  

Have a Plan B in Your Back Pocket

Despite what it might look like to you readers, when I organize and decorate the spaces you see featured on this blog, things don't always go according to plans.  Often I am making last minute readjustments.  Other times, because of matters beyond my control, I have to forgo certain elements.  It's disappointing when I unable to execute a certain vision that seems so clear in my mind.        

True organization however demands flexibility.  So what if your teens' bedroom is not as large and spacious as the ones shown in this post?  What if your teen has to share a space with another sibling?  Organizational skills can teach your teen one of life's finest secrets to success -  be prepared and have a plan B.  Here are a few scenarios that might require an adjustment:

  • If a teen's bedroom is too small for a desk, let him learn to do homework on the floor, on the bed, or on a small pop up table.  
  • If two beds in a small room don't allow the closet door to swing open properly, take the door off the hinges and leave the closet open.  If it's kept neat and orderly, it will work beautifully.  
  • One family I assisted had three teenage daughters who shared a room.  A makeup vanity was simply out of the question.   My recommendation was to use a small rolling cart to hold everyone's necessities.   It could easily be rolled across the room from one sister to the other. 
  • No money in the budget for night stands?  Improvise.  Notice the homeowners solution in the photo above.  Yep, TV trays painted white was all it took.    

Cleary then, organization is not just about making spaces pretty.  It's about arranging things into a structured whole.  That applies to decor; it applies to orderliness within the home.  And it definitely applies to life. 

That's this Friday's Fix.  Please share your thoughts on this post in the comment section below.  I'd love to know what you think. | Small Space Interiors & Lifestyle blog

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