Declutter with teens – 6 steps to create a happy space and simple lifestyle

Decluttering with teens

By Helena Zachariassen, Home & Lifestyle Editor

Have you ever found yourself struggling to get your tween/teen/young adult to help out at home? Or have you considered ripping your hair out because they were so defiant in doing anything at all in their own room? Or were you simply at your wit’s end, having no solution of how to help them get started and teach them how to organize their own life once they fly out of the parent nest?

Declutter with teens
My Swiss Story: Declutter with teens – 6 rules to create a happy space and simple lifestyle

All of these are veery common issues, however, there’s no one size fits all solution. Luckily if I may add, each person is unique and only starting to develop their own inner warrior on the path to becoming their own best selves. So, let’s explore that.

Where do we start? The simple act of decluttering might change everything. Here’s a list of do’s and don’ts to get started with your youngster’s decluttering journey. These tips can be helpful for kids above 8-9 (rough estimate) up until young adults, only you know your own kid and what works best for him/her.

#1 DO: Be a role model they can look up to

Clean up your room! How can our young offspring even know what it means to be tidy or what it means to clean up their room if we don’t teach them how to? Yes, the first step is to show them that we, ourselves, are tidy and able to tidy up when needed. The second step is to teach them why and what we mean when we say certain things about being tidy and do certain things in order to stay organised. Never expect anyone to be able to read your mind. Live and lead by example, and communicate clearly what the expectations are.

#2 DO: make a joint plan and create the room of their dreams

This is the most comprehensive and most important step of them all. Make it all about your child/teen/young adult, and about their uniqueness.

  • Start with a vision and plan of their dream self, room, and lifestyle
  • Plan how to jointly remove the clutter, ie. the KonMari way, and teach them the positive effects of clutter-free surroundings
  • Create a plan for storage and maintenance
  • Create new, tiny, tidy habits and schedule them
  • Design their space according to their vision
  • Make a plan to keep the space clean

And last but certainly not least: your youngster will need to WANT to embark on this journey and never feel pressured to do so. If you feel that you’re too close as a parent to support your cool youngster on this project make sure to ask for help from a professional. Sometimes it’s just better to outsource certain things, in order to avoid too many conflicts for example. See what works best in your family and home.

PS I’m about to launch brand new youngster sessions soon…make sure you sign up for my Newsletter so you’re not missing out!

#3 DO: Be your own boss – declutter

It’s so simple. The more stuff you own, the more the stuff owns you. This literally means that what takes up space in your home also takes up space in your mind and lastly takes up your time, and this is especially true with young brains. They do not function well when there’s too much clutter (physical and emotional) around them. And this is of course true for adults too. Going through this journey of simplicity is incredibly transformative, simply because some, or even all, of the below may occur:

  • your room/house is far easier to maintain
  • there’s less to clean and tidy up
  • there’s more time for the fun stuff
  • you’re able to focus better and are able to finish homework/studies more efficiently and in a more intentional way
  • you learn to be mindful of your consuming habits (what, why, and how much you buy..)
  • you explore your own passions, talents, and gifts and find out more about the true YOU
  • you feel inspired, empowered, and free to be who you are
  • you learn valuable lessons about how our spaces reflect us and affect us
  • you’ve been given the gift of the ‘simplicity mindset’ to take into adulthood

#4 DON’T: get rid of your youngster’s stuff without consent

You wouldn’t want anyone to go through your stuff either behind your back, would you?! Mutual respect is key. Just don’t do it.

#5 DON’T: nag or tidy up for them

Once you’ve embarked on this project there are certain rules you as a parent will need to follow too. Once the plan has been set into place there is no room for control anymore. You need to let go and give them space, responsibility, and a chance. Nagging and tidying up for them is not an option. Believe in your teen and allow them to make their own space truly their own.

Declutter with teens
My Swiss Story: Declutter with teens – 6 rules to create a happy space and simple lifestyle

#6 DO: teach the foundations for a tidy home, mind, and life

Make sure to talk about all aspects of clutter and why it can impact us, our moods, and even our actions, negatively. Understanding the basics of sustainability and how much any mindful consumption choice can change the world. Especially when it comes to fashion and the clothing industry. I love to emphasize how important it is to teach our young humans how to care for and honour themselves through the way they in turn care for their belongings. It’s about self-love, self-care, compassion, and creating good habits for yourself.

And finally….CELEBRATE!

Every new season of your life will be an opportunity for you to learn and grow. Don’t celebrate the good without celebrating the bad because they both work together to prepare you for the next season of your life.

Theresa Lewis

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