Six Reasons Your Teen Won’t Keep Their Room Organized

Six Reasons Your Teen Won’t Keep Their Room Organized

You FINALLY got your tween or teen to organize their bedroom. But did they do enough? Will it stay that way? Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but probably not.

Discouraged teen because of organizing

Julie’s Story

It wasn’t hard to sympathize with Julie when she called us to say that her home is in great shape-–tidy, uncluttered, clean–EXCEPT for Missy’s bedroom. Her teenage daughter’s bedroom was a disaster area. Clothes, paper, make-up, and things you don’t even want to know are strewn everywhere. And underneath the clutter are dust, dirt, and more you-don’t-even-want-to-know.

Julie’s approach throughout the years had been to tidy and clean Missy’s room herself but she’s so over that now. She told Missy that she would be hiring a professional organizer and taking money from Missy’s account to pay for the organizer. Julie called Unjumbled looking for someone to come in for a day and remove the clutter and clean Missy’s room.

A Different Approach

We let Julie know that we approach things differently at Unjumbled. We work with clients virtually over time so they are involved every step of the way. We set goals together, break jobs down into bite-sized pieces, provide accountability, teach organizing techniques, and act as our clients’ biggest cheerleader so that rooms and areas get and stay organized.

But, Julie wasn’t sold. She said, “But if I have someone come in and get everything de-cluttered, organized, and cleaned all at one time, won’t Missy maintain it? It will be ‘once and done.’” We had to respond truthfully–it doesn’t work that way for most of us and certainly not for teens.

Weight loss to organizing comparison

Think of it this way, if you could lose 30 pounds overnight, what are the chances you would keep it off? You wouldn’t have learned anything about healthy eating or exercise. You wouldn’t have changed your habits. You wouldn’t have struggled and persevered to achieve your goal. It’s the same with Missy. She won’t learn how to organize and maintain it in a way that works for her. Within weeks, her room will look exactly like it did before the organizer came in and did the work for her.

The Real Reason Your Teen Struggles With Organization

When Unjumbled helps families get organized, we love to talk with individual family members to find out what motivates THEM. Not surprisingly, it usually takes extra finesse to find out what motivates tweens and teens but it’s there when we dig. Here’s what we’ve learned over the years about most tweens and teens:

They don’t know where to begin when it comes to organizing. Organizing just their bedroom seems overwhelming and truly impossible

They’re hoping you’ll relax your expectations and let them do ‘just good enough’. There have been a number of times in the past they’ve outlasted Mom and Dad and they’re hoping this time is the same.

They’re more apt to succeed when they know their own “why” (as in, “why is organizing important?”) as well as have skin in the game.

They don’t know when there’s a problem with the system and not with them. For instance, a 16-year-old boy can’t effectively use the same dresser he had as a child since his clothes are MUCH bigger now. He isn’t going to realize this and will just throw his clothes on the floor because it’s easier.

Big brother little brother legs to organize sizes

They don’t know what they don’t know. It seems reasonable to them that no one else should care how their bedroom looks because they can just pull the door closed and ‘problem solved’. But WE know that someday our kids will be roommates and/or spouses (not to mention parents). Pulling a door closed just isn’t going to cut it.

We’re not YOU. We may say the same thing you’ve said a million times before but tweens and teens often hear what someone else tells them better than they hear Mom or Dad.

Big brother little brother legs to organize sizes

Helping your tween or teen get organized and stay that way isn’t for the faint of heart, but it pays off in major ways once they’ve learned what to do and have done it for themselves.

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