Parents Guide to Decluttering: Stage Four – High School

Parents Guide to Decluttering: Stage Four – High School


A Series by Paula Tobey

How often do you think about your life back when you were a teenager? Did your parents get after you about cleaning up your room? Did you get nagged?

Even if they did nag you, I bet it was not their goal. Let’s think of the goal of your child keeping his/her room clean. Is it so your house looks like a Southern Living magazine or is it so your child is prepared and responsible in life?

If the goal is to prepare them, your job is to facilitate them getting there themselves. You cannot make your teen be neat. What you can do is show them the value in being neat and that less clutter brings more peace.

Closet (clothing) storage and organization

Have your teen go through their clothes and make piles of clothes that fit and don’t fit. Then have them sort further by season or if it is to be worn at school. If you can leave them to this task independently, GREAT. If not, help them with the first 5 pieces so they get the idea and wait for them to ask you to leave. JRemind them that the point is to make getting ready easier and faster. The goal is to love what they do have.)

I use the analogy ‘Love it, or Let it Go’ if I am ever unsure whether I should keep something. I try to think about when I would wear or use it and if nothing comes to mind immediately, let it go. If you have used it in the last 8-12 months good, if not, let it go.

Bathroom products and toiletries

Teens seem to have a ton of products. One product for washing their faces, one for hair, one for body and the list goes on and on. Teen girls are marketed to on make up more than any other group. Choose a time to talk with your teens (not when they are already running late, because let’s face it, they probably are). Have them sort their cosmetics, products and toiletries by the expiration date to start.  They will be releasing the clogged up space, much like a pore that needs air to breathe when they get rid of some of that stuff. Help them make a list of what they need to replace and the order of importance.

Desk and work spaces-

Teens have tons of homework and this area should be as clutter free as possible. Their minds cannot focus if they are looking at a mountain of x-box games, teen magazines or yesterday’s half eaten tuna sandwich! Have them clean the top off nightly and inside their desk area every month, or every other month. This ensures there cannot be too much in the way.  This will help them be successful when getting started on their own, because we all know the goal is that they move out one day!Clutter-Free

Being a coach to your teen is the easiest way to get them to cooperatively participate in cleaning. I suggest you have an open discussion of what peace they could have (which makes them successful) by taking the time now to get organized. I did not have the luxury of having my mom coach me. I wish she had because it would have saved me quite a few years as a young adult figuring out what did not  work.


Want even more ways to get rid of the clutter and start living the life you were designed to live? Get Kathi’s book Clutter Free Quick and Easy Steps to Simplify Your Space!

Paula TobeyWhat are your best decluttering tips for before baby? Tell us in the comments below and we will randomly pick one commenter to receive “21 Ways to Connect with Your Kids” by Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory.

Do you want more great information to make your family the best it can be? Subscribe to Paula’s blog and get weekly posts and encouragement to help you on your parenting journey.

Paula Tobey is founder of PheMOMenal Life Ministries a community for women to go get encouraged and equipped to be the best mom’s they can be to their children by living a healthy balanced life and by becoming all that God created them to be.