closet organization – tips for tweens


Years ago my son was playing with Jenga blocks and when he was done he left them scattered all over the floor. I asked him to clean them up, and he said, “I tried”. Puzzled I looked around at all the blocks and asked him, “What do you mean you tried?”. He said, “I couldn’t get them to fit in the box, so I just gave up.”

That’s how organizing goes for a lot of us huh? We tried. We gave it a good effort. We had good intentions,………….but we just couldn’t get it together just right;…………so we gave up.

The truth is though, it’s not your fault. Really, it isn’t. Contrary to what you might think organizing is not something most people are born knowing how to do, it’s something we have to learn.

All these years later and we still keep our Jenga blocks in a giant mason jar, and well, pretty much all board games are kept in large ziploc bags instead of the boxes they came in. Why? Because they’re 100 times easier to clean up that way. Because if a system doesn’t work for you, get rid of it. You don’t have to fit yourself into a box.

What does this have to do with closet organization for tweens? The tween years are the best years to get a jump on developing good organization habits. So today I’m sharing a few tips that have helped me to teach my 11 year old son how to organize his closet. And I think no matter if you have a tween or newborn or no kids at all there are some great, helpful and easy to implement takeaways here!

closet organization - tips for tweens
1. Make it Easy.
The Jenga block scenario taught me a lot. The easier it is to put things away the more likely that things will actually get put away. This might sound elementary, but we’ve been programmed to think that certain things should be put stored in certain ways. Organization isn’t about how it should be done, but rather how you’ve decided to do it. Don’t run out and buy all the organizing things before you figure out exactly how you want to organize. Whatever the system, you want it to be as easy as possible for your tween to use in their daily life.
closet organized for tween - make it easy for them to put things away

2. Containment is key.

Bins, baskets, suitcases, boxes…..whatever you choose to store things in shouldn’t just be for the sake of storing but for a visual cue of how much of an item you need/want. If my son gets to a point where he has more hats then will fit into this bin, it’s time to purge a few old ones or let go of few lesser worn. I think learning that lesson as a kid is so important as we’re living in such a time of excess. More often than not an organization issue isn’t even about organization it’s about the fact that we have too much darn stuff. As it stands now, my son has more than what he needs; so if things are overflowing in here, it’s time to donate.

use labeled bins and baskets to store and organize

3. Encourage helpful habits.

I don’t know if he’ll always want or need to set out his clothes for the week, but it’s definitely helpful for his early school mornings right now. He’s using a sweater organizer (that I hand painted the days of the week on) as a weekly organizer for his school clothes which makes mornings run mostly smooth around here.

use a sweater organizer as a days of the week organizer for weekly outfit planning

He’s also using a white board calendar that I used command strips to hang on the back of his closet door which is encouraging him to stay on top of his own schedule. He can see when he gets dressed in the morning if he has tennis that day or if he has a project or test coming soon. I’m trying to prepare him to manage his schedule on his own……because someday he’ll be heading off to college and mom won’t be coming along.

keep a calendar in a tween's closet to encourage them to manage their own schedule

4. Forget folding, teach rolling.

If he ever gets a job at Abercrombie they can show him how it’s done. 😉 I’m not wasting my time teaching him how to fold. Folded clothes almost never stay folded neatly anyway, no matter if they are stacked on a shelf or stuffed into a drawer. Instead I’ve taught him how to roll. It’s easy for him to do, and it’s easy for him to see each piece at one time.

roll clothes instead of folding - makes it easier to see everything at one time

5. Get them involved in creating the plan.

This one really ties in with the first tip of “making it easy” as if you want the system to be easy for them to use you have to get their thoughts and opinions. As much as you the parent might want your tween to keep their room and closet organized, neat and clean, it just isn’t going to happen if you don’t include them in the process. They’ll take more ownership if you don’t do it all for them. At least that’s what I’ve observed with my own kids. So find out where they want to keep things. Do they want their jeans on hangers? Would they rather have shoes shelves or a hanging shoe organizer? Including them in the decision making and planning process will not only teach them how to organize, but it will make them more excited about keeping things organized…… I mean as excited as a kid, oh excuse me, a tween can get about closet organization. 😉 The stacked organizer on the floor of my son’s closet was all his idea. I was originally thinking of adding another hanging clothes rod for pants, but my son said he doesn’t really like hanging clothes and would rather have more bins to put things away in instead. I’m glad I got his opinion as he’s done a really great job of keeping his closet neat and putting things back where they go. And that’s the goal isn’t it moms?

tween boys closet - organization tips

So there you go my best tips for helping your tween to get their closet organized and keep it that way. Now it’s your turn. What are your best tips for closet organization? Or for teaching tweens/teens how to organize their closets?

Want to see more of my son’s room? Check here.

Looking for more organization ideas? Check out my organization tips for kids closets and also for mens closets. And in the spirit of “not fitting into the box” check out how I created a vanity/desk space in the guest room closet at our old house.


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