Day 2 of Cleaning a Teen’s Room

Wow! We sure have made a lot of progress. Today we cleaned the inside of the closet and inside all the furniture. I folded all her clothes and sorted them. I was surprised to find her “junk drawer” pretty tidy! I guess she hadn’t used anything from that drawer in the last 6 months. I also found my tape dispenser and a whole box of glue that belongs to my Girl Scout troop. When I dug to the back of the closet I found some size 10 jeans and sweatshirts that my son didn’t get to wear because they were hidden. Oh well. That’s what third children are for.  I hung all the collar shirts, long sleeve shirts, and pants. At 14yo the pants are just TOO big to FIT into drawers anymore.

All my kids have two dressers, a book shelf, nightstand and of course a bed. Our desks are in the family room that we converted into a “school room”. I refolded all the pajamas and sorted them by season. She has one drawer of winter PJs and one drawer of summer PJs. When all the dirty clothes aren’t scattered all over the floor, she has lots of socks too. The bottom drawer under the PJs is socks and undies and clothing “accessories” like belts, gloves, and scarves.

I also refolded the t-shirts and sorted them as solid color shirts, shirts with words or pictures, tank tops, and fitted t-shirts. She has two drawers full of t-shirts. In an effort to gain another drawer to make “putting things away” easier, I’m debating on whether to make her pare down her t-shirts or to hang them. Hanging all these t-shirts risks making the closet too stuffed. Do you have a preference? Does your teen have a preference? I just don’t want these shirts back on the floor again when she gets back!

Then I started putting away much of the stuff we found in the floor and sorted yesterday!! I found a large box of pens, pencils, colored pencils, and markers. No new school supplies for this kid this year! We were thrilled to sort her hair stuff into ribbons, scrunchies, headbands, and barrettes. Where did I go wrong that they child didn’t learn to sort anything? We even had little Montessori-like sorting works in pre-K. Somehow it just didn’t cross over to the real world. Though I think she has too much cheap jewelry, hardly any of it was found to be broken. I found almost 12 cubic inches of bracelets she’s collected and put them into a box with a lid to keep them from spreading out all over the floor. I also put her silly bands into a small drawer of her jewelry box. I found enough cheap plastic rings to fill yet another small box. I hope she’ll be willing to part with these when she sees them all in one place. I hung her best necklaces in her jewelry box, but there is not good way to store all the beads and chunkier necklaces she has collected. Having them in a lump makes it impossible for her to keep them neat. I took them away and carefully separated and rolled the necklaces into a bread towel. She can have them back, or a few back, when she/we determine how to keep them neatly put away.

I am ready to store many of her items. Again, I’m going to allow her to have anything back that she can ask me for and show me where she will keep it. So she’ll have a place for everything and everything in its place. We labeled boxes for storage with numbers and I made a list of what is in each numbered box. So if I need to go get “the scrapbook craft kit” she got for her birthday 4 years ago and has never opened, I will know it is in box #2.

Tomorrow we dust, wash, vacuum, and steam clean!


Day 1 of Cleaning a Teen’s Room

I have a daughter who thinks that if she spreads everything all over her floor people will stay out of her room. She also has a hoarding problem. Not only does she mix her dirty and clean laundry in the floor, she never throws things away. Her nice stuff, favorite drawings and such, often get destroyed because there were in the floor and get trampled. It’s sad and I’ll take unsolicited psychological advice on getting a teen to change her ways.

But here is what I’m doing about it on the practical de-junking the room methodology. I told her that I was going to move her stuff out of her room to clean it while she is away at camp. I gave her two months warning and she still chose not to do any cleaning. Right before she packed for camp, she picked up 4 loads of laundry and 5 bags of trash and you could still barely see the carpet in a path to the bed and closet.

Today is Monday, my son and I removed 4 more loads of laundry and 4 more bags of trash, just scraps of paper in the floor and under the bed. We just pulled everything off the floor, from under the bed, and from the bottom of the closet. We also pulled everything off the tops of the dressers and shelves. Believe me, that was a lot of stuff. We sorted these items into the following boxes and bins:

  • make-up
  • hair items
  • jewelry, silly bands, and bracelets
  • toys
  • Little Pet Shop
  • arts and crafts supplies
  • sewing items
  • duct tape
  • yugioh cards
  • accessories, hats, scarfs, gloves
  • Hawaiian leis
  • plastic animal collection
  • bags and purses
  • sporting goods
  • treasures
  • bouncy ball collection

I plan to do some more cleaning tomorrow. My plan is to remove everything from the room and clean it. Then put back her clothes and a few favorite items. It will be clean, neat, and have many empty places left for putting things away. I will store the items in boxes for up to one year. She’ll need to ask for specific items back and have a place to put them away, or else she doesn’t really need those things anymore.