My "close the door and don't ask" approach to her room just wasn't working. When she left town for a few days, it was the perfect opportunity to go in and start over.
Time: 4 DaysDifficulty: Medium
Clearly, built-in storage isn't a silver bullet to good organization. But it didn't help that this bedroom has no real closet.
The first step was to clear the room completely, so I could get rid of things she no longer wanted/needed and know exactly what I needed storage for. We hauled everything outside...
In four days we completely cleaned the room, painted the walls, researched storage options, bought supplies, and put everything back in, only better.
We discovered ways to use lots of common items in new ways. Ikea's kitchen section has lots of great stuff for bedroom storage:
...and old magazine racks became a perfect way to store/display library books separately from the books she owns (so we'll have a better chance of getting them back to the library on time.
We found it was the smallest things that could be the most useful, such as a box of plain cup hooks:
More importantly than any organization tricks, though, were the lessons I learned about how to negotiate the project with my daughter in such a way that she felt supported and empowered--because I knew if I couldn't do that, the room would quickly devolve right back into its former messy state.
For the full story and more organization strategies, please check out our final post on the blog (see link below). It contains links to posts with steps we took each day, as well as one with 7 questions to ask yourself before embarking on a similar project.
We didn't end up with a Pinterest-perfect room--but that's not what my teen wanted. She wanted a room with her stuff, organized how she wanted it. And that's what she got. Best of all? She's keeping it much cleaner! :-)