With three little kids under the age of 7, I have a lot of laundry. Onesies, socks, training pants—all changed at least a dozen times a day. One caveat, however, is that the clothes are all fairly small—so I can stuff a lot of them into one laundry load.
For my friends with teenagers, however, the stuff-14-outfits-in-the-washer days are over. As they tell me, all the stuffing seems to happen in their teens’ closets and drawers.
The problem with organizing most teens’ laundry is usually that they have way too many clothes. Stuck in the middle of childhood and adulthood, they often have several sizes stuffed in their drawers. Choosing between the styles of their friends and the preferences of their parents, they often have several styles stuffed in their closets, too.
Then when the charge comes to clean their rooms, many teens scoop up the entire stuffed contents and dump them into the hamper – clean clothes and all. (And every parent who has ever washed a teen’s shirt—and wondered if it had even been worn—knows exactly what I mean.)messy teen closet
The only way to achieve laundry victory is to set aside part of a day to help your child go through her complete wardrobe. Look at it as a special time together, and try to make it as fun as possible. Pick up their favorite Starbucks drink, let them choose the music (you can choose the volume), and get to work.
Here are some questions to ask about each item:
Any item that fails the test needs to be set aside. Chances are, you’ll still have plenty of clothes that work that the castoffs won’t be missed.
It might even be helpful to help your teen with a sort of personal fashion show: she can try on different outfits that work, then take a quick picture of the outfit. Then she can hang the photo on a hanger with the complete outfit, or tuck it in a drawer with the rest of the outfit’s accessories. This step will also help identify outfits that are “almost” complete—like the shirt that is cute, but just needs a camisole. Or the outfit that looks great, but doesn’t have the right shoes. Keep a running shopping list as you go, and a reward for finishing could be a trip to the mall to find the few items needed.
Once the clothes are all sorted, it’s time to put them back in the closet. And here’s where efficient storage is essential.
Here are some of our favorite clothes organizers for teens.
If you live in an older home without closets, or need to double the closet space for two kids sharing a room, a stand-alone wardrobe is an easy addition. Look at the extra storage space provided from one of these two-piece storage wardrobes (available in five colors, and delivered right to your door):
The sporty style of this locker storage furniture is both adds color and storage in a durable, long-lasting pieces. They come in a variety of colors for either guys’ or girls’ rooms.
For even more girly-style locker room furniture, we found this Baubles Locker Furniture for Girls. We like the portable feature of this rolling dresser — and it perfectly matches the rest of the Baubles collection, from this stylish bench to this study loft bed.
Speaking of rolling furniture, these next two pieces are some of our all-time closet favorites. They are affordable, colorful, and perfect for storing teens’ many accessories. From the larger, rolling drawer organizer chests to the smaller stunning storage solutions, the drawers keep accessories organized, while the wheels keep essentials accessible.
If you have a sporty teen, however, the accessories may be less baubles and hair accessories — and more balls and hats. This sturdy sports organizer center will keep it all together — and off the floor. Sports Closet Organizer
And for all those shoes, some families like to keep shoes all together in mudroom organizers like these shoe closets.
Other families (and teens) prefer to keep the clothes by the outfits. In that case, creative space-saving solutions are needed, like the classic over-the-door shoe holder (upgraded here from cheap plastic to sturdy chrome), and the retail-inspired revolving shoe tree. For low-maintenance sorting, these rolling see-through bins stash shoes in no time.
Finally, if you simply cannot get your teen to pick up her shoes from the floor, at least get a rug to match.
Good luck on those teen rooms — and be sure to send us photos of your room makeovers!
Between loads of laundry, I’ll be posting laundry solutions for everyone in the house. Stay tuned for easy, practical tips that will get you to the bottom of the hamper and out the laundry room door.