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Get Your Act Together: Helping Kids Define and Detail Their Personal Space And Keep It Clean

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

My dh has a teenage niece, in fact, he’s got a few; and while they are generally “good” kids I’m repeatedly reminded about the “mindlessness” of most adolescents. Perhaps a trait they’ve acquired from their other siblings or parents, but I digress.

One niece collects pop bottles and has them cluttered atop her dresser and across her desk, thankfully hiding the markings, etchings, sketchings and doodling she’s placed their throughout the years.

Her bed is mostly unmade, her walls covered in posters scotch-taped or tacked to the wall and here clothes, shoes, comforter and throw pillows thrown haphazardly on the floor. And, I am assured that this is the norm.

Remember, organization takes time, energy, creativity and effort, things most teens and tweens don’t have, don’t know they have, and, for the most part, haven’t mastered yet. And, since it’s more likely than not that mom and dad see cleaning and work around the house as a “burden” and/or “chore”, it’s likely the kids will to. Besides most kids have better things to do, in fact, at that age, most of us did too, things, most of us may still prefer to do.

The key is not only setting the example, but by establishing not only a working dynamic but an adolescent friendly design. Remember, when it comes to “kids” out of site, frequently also means out of mind and that’s exactly why closed door closets often become junk and clutter breeding grounds. Instead make storage space an extension of the overall room and theme say experts. Use age-appropriate and gender friendly simple designs, colours, themes, and layouts. And, remember to opt for cost-effective rather than elaborate schemes and options since kids tastes tend to change quickly so a redo won’t mean too big of a hit on your wallet or pocketbook.

Use rods, shelving and shelving units (that make it easy to store boxes of accessories etc), and lots of fun and funky hangers and hanging units that make it easy to put clothes away properly, and to hand up other items such as purses and robes. Don’t forget a “fashionable” and fabulous hamper that will inspire kids to put clothes in “it” rather than on their floor. Think pretty wicker for young ladies and basketball hoops or other sports related bins for young gents.

Make sure to create a proper space and place for just about every item in your child’s wardrobe. Remember, if everything has a place, it helps kids remember that ALL their items have a home, rather than “stressing out” over finding each item a suitable home. Bins and boxes are ideal as they can be either clear or opaque and can be easily stocked. Plus, some new and inspired designs featuring dots, swirls, etc are tween and teen friendly.

Keep accessories in order with a very special and specific accessory organizer. Easily hung in the closet (on a pre-installed rod) it features several levels of hanging space for belts, ties, scarves, etc.

Clear shoe bins make it easy for kids to put shoes away without having to guess or remove every shoe they own from its respective box the next time they need to find a specific pair or two. If you already have opaque bins (and I got this idea from a cousin of mine) consider taking a picture of each pair of shoes then placing the photo label on the accompanying shoe bin.

Invest in some drawer organizers that are thin, compact and easily stacked (if necessary), making it easy for kids to store pens, pencils, markers, makeup, etc. Consider drawer dividers to help kids with storages of “innewear” including bras, underwear, and socks.

Girls rooms should be bright, bold and feminine with plenty of powerful pastels, purles, pinks oranges and vibrant but girly blues and greens, while boys rooms should take the shape of a gym locker and should feature colours such as bold, deep reds, oranges, blues, greys, greens, etc.

Scateboard-like hooks and other such creative hangers make it fun for guys to put things where they belong and clean up after themselves.

And, don’t forget personal touches that your child can help you with, further personalizing his or her personal space.

Labels are another ingenious idea helping kids keep like items together and making it easy for them to find the right bin for their belongings

Long Island Family Life & Parenting Articles > Get Your Act Together: Helping Kids Define and Detail Their Personal Space And Keep It Clean

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