lady looking at her wardrobe

7 Simple Yet Effective Decluttering Tips for Teen Moms That Actually Work

Lady looking at decluttered wardrobe

How To Make Your Teens Declutter – 7 Amazing Tips

Decluttering and organizing stuff is one of the biggest stress points for all of us. We don’t realise how we manage to collect so much stuff over a short span of time and it results in our wardrobes, storages and houses overflowing. Seeing us behave in this way, our children also imbibe the habit of amassing stuff without taking an effort to declutter their existing possessions. So how do we teach our teens the importance of decluttering and make them act upon it?

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Firstly, as adults, are we convinced that cluttering leads to a lot of stress in our daily lives and minds?  Here is an article that will definitely help you appreciate the importance of Decluttering – 5 Scientific Reasons Decluttering Your Home Will Make You Happier.

Decluttering tips blog

I realized the importance of frequent decluttering when we were shifting countries 2 years back. We had to clear up my house as we were giving it away on lease. I started decluttering the attic lofts, kitchen and storages 2 months before our movement date. But till the last hour, I was struggling with winding up the house.

My in-laws have stayed there for the last 45 years and me for the last 22 years after marriage. Therefore, you can imagine the amount of stuff. This is even though I religiously give out many of our pre-loved possessions to my helpers and charity. I learnt my lesson on the importance of decluttering in our life that day.

But with kids, especially teenagers, it’s different. As many articles we make them read, they will still want to add to their list of books, clothes, accessories and the likes.

Let’s start by trying to understand the reason why they do so because our answers may come right from there.

Reasons Why Teens Like To Hoard Things:

teenager amassing stuff leading to decluttering

1. Mood Elevator

Teenage is a susceptible age & these years are the most crucial years of your child’s journey. The hormonal shifts that occur during puberty & the various developmental changes in their brains add to the already complicated process. These may lead to extreme mood swings like irritation, depressions, anxiety or the complete opposite in some cases. There is no rule book on how to manage mood swings in teens. And for them, one of the best ways to elevate their mood is impulsive shopping. Let’s be fair to them; even we find retail therapy a stress reliever, so why blame our teens.

On the side, I do recommend reading my blog on How To manage Mood Swings In Teens for some useful tips for parents when such mood swings happen.

2. Online Shopping

Earlier shopping involved some effort, like dressing up and going to the stores. Now with online shopping coming right into our bedrooms, impulsive shopping has become a norm. And Easy Returns are the Cherry on the Cake. Many times, they land up ordering things that don’t fit, and exchange and returns keep them busy.

3. Aspirational Shopping

Building on the above points, if the dresses are tight, they are still kept, hoping that they will fit into it someday.

This one is so true for teenage girls, as they are constantly aiming for that perfect body, thanks to social media’s influence. Therefore some dresses will continue to be in the wardrobe for “Motivation Purposes”.

4. Change in Body Forms

During the teen years, our kids go through many changes in their body structure. Some gain height, while others may gain some weight or experience changes in their body parts. As a result, their clothes, shoes and choices may also undergo a complete transformation.

Suddenly my younger daughter did not want to wear any of her skirts or flower print shirts as she entered puberty. She wanted all collar t-shirts. What to do in such cases except to blame the hormones.

5. Following the Trends

How can today’s teenager not follow the hottest trend on social media? So whether it’s the hoodie craze, or Ariana Grande’s new clothing line or Kelly Jenner new make-up palette, it has to be a part of their collection.

Pardon me if I am quoting only girlie things here, but that’s what happened when you have two teen girls. But I am sure it’s the same case with boys too. Only their choices will be different.

6. Influencer Craze

These days social media marketing is a new craze, and our teenagers are their favourite spokespeople. So all these jewellery, teenage clothing websites will offer some 30-40% discount if you buy from them and give you an influencer code. So every time someone uses your code, you get paid. This really works for the teens as they see this as an easy way to get fame and earn some money—result- loads of unused stuff in the cupboards.

Btw this is also true for products other than clothes and jewellery. My younger one is into playing cards collection, and she is also evaluating options.

7. Social Comparison

In the social comparison, teens start evaluating their worth in terms of their own compared to others. These others can be your peers, neighbours, friends, colleagues or even an unknown person next to you. This is the start point of hoarding stuff like clothes, shoes and other articles, which may not necessarily suit them, but the damage in clutter accumulation is already done.

All right, that’s a big list. But coming to think of it, these are also why we, as adults, accumulate things. Think about it as we dwell on how we break this habit in our teens and see if you can get some tips for yourselves as well.

7 Unique Ways To Teach Decluttering To Teens That Actually Work

1. Explain the Difference between Needs & Wants

Needs Vs Wants

I think this is the first lesson any kid should be taught. While I learnt this difference in the marketing class in my MBA, today’s kids should know the difference as soon as possible. Our society is consumerist, and we are constantly bombarded with various products that appeal to our ego. And we go ahead and buy; the same is the case with our teens.

When the kids are small, parents are responsible for hoarding as they are too small to decide. That’s not the case in teens. They can assimilate the information shared,  evaluate and decide on what to purchase. Therefore let’s equip them with the principles of needs and wants to make responsible decisions and not get sucked in the consumerist cycle.

A brilliant way to tackle this is to introduce the concept of pocket money. We, as parents, fund all the “Needs”. But all the “Wants” are to be funded by them from their pocket money. We started this for our teens almost a year back, and we see a change in their spending patterns. A lot of careful thinking is going into their earlier impulse purchases, including eating in their school café Vs taking home-cooked meals.

2. Learn To Say No

Mom saying No

Our kids must learn that they may not always get what they want. If they already enough sweatshirts, there is no reason to add more to the pile. Another shoe pair added to their already overflowing shoe rack is not a good idea. This not only teaches them how to reduce & reuse but also inculcates some fiscal awareness.

We have to learn to say No while actually not saying “No”. Well, that’s a tough one but saying no directly to your kids, especially teens, may make them defiant.  We need to use a different approach, and you may find my blog – How To Say No To Your Teens, useful.

Pocket Money also helps in this cause. We have these intense discussions on whether a proposed purchase is a want or a need, and sometimes the need to say NO does not arise at all.

Matter closed.

3. Inculcate The Habit Of Giving

Teenager donating clothes

I have made a rule for myself, which I have tried to inculcate in my teens. Whenever I get something for the house or myself, I remove something to give away. Like this, I try to balance my belongings plus also donate as a habit. Same for my teens.

Every time they want something, I ask them first go and look into their cupboards on what they will take out in a bargain. And these things have to be in good condition so that they can be used by someone else. No point in donating rags or broken shoes. In case they can’t, then maybe they have enough and can wait for some time.

Now, this may not work all the time, but it at least forces your teen to give their cupboards a look and realise that they do have enough.

Another point of consideration can be that if they have not worn an outfit in the last 6 months, they will not wear it at all. Well, that’s definitely true for adults & I see it being proved in my teen daughter’s case. Pandemic was a special cause, so it should not be considered in this equation.

4. Share Pre Loved Possessions with Siblings

sharing stuff with sibling

Sharing is Caring is an old saying, but its merits are more useful now than ever.  If you have more than one kid, always encourage them to share their belongings as long as they can. I know it’s tough when genders are different and sizes differ. And most importantly, in teens, their choices also differ, and they are unwilling to adjust.

But persistence always pays. If not with their siblings, then with others in the family. My elder daughter shares her make up stuff with me, and we do exchange clothes ( sometimes!!). While my daughters are like chalk and cheese, they manage to come to a common ground on jackets and shoes, which I am thankful for.

This improves the bonding and ensures you don’t have two similar types in the house, and reduces the clutter.

5. Mom Threat

Mom threatening her daughter

Haha, this one is hilarious but works most of the time. I literally threaten them that I will clean up their room if they don’t. Nothing is scarier to a teen than their mom invading their room or cupboard. They feel their privacy will get compromised, and they will do anything to protect it.

I know my elder daughter dreads the moment I enter her room as my eyes will fall on a crumpled ice cream wrapper or her stinking socks. And if I move towards the cupboard, hell breaks loose.

So she makes sure she cleans up & takes out all the unwanted stuff at least once a month. (that’ quite an achievement btw).

As long as the decluttering happens, some fear is productive.

6. Give them Aids

Storage boxes

Once your teen is motivated to clean up her wardrobe, please help them with whatever aids/ tools they require.

To help them organise better, I got these hanging wardrobe organisers in their cupboards to segregate their leisure clothes, party clothes and nightwear. Well, it’s a different thing that you will find them all mixed up after a few days, but at least they have all the aids.

I also got small jewellery boxes for my daughters to store her never-ending jewellery collection and always encourage her to remove some pieces for giving away.

7. Be Patient & Set An Example.

Mom showing patience sign

Patience is the key with teenagers, and this case is no different. It would be best to reiterate the importance of decluttering until it becomes a habit with them.

And most importantly set an example by following all the above points yourself.

Our Kids learn more from our actions than our words, so if they see us making a conscious effort to declutter our house, they will follow suit.

Decluttering before and after

Hope you find these tips useful in getting your teen into the habit of decluttering. Please do try these out and share this blog with your family and friends.

Thank you my dear sister -Dr Minni Chadha for the lovely artwork for the header.

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Here Are 7 Amazing Tips To Reduce Your Decluttering Stress.

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Rippy Gauba
Rippy Gauba

I am a working professional and a mom of 2 teen daughters. I realised my passion for writing during the pandemic and thus My Ripple Effect was born. Though my corporate commitments take a major part of my day, I am very particular about spending quality time with my family, my pet CoCo, painting and blogging.

I write on Mindset, Motivation & Management. These are everyday, practical tips I picked up from my personal & professional life. These learnings have impacted my life as an individual, as a parent and as a working professional. I am sure these will be useful for you too and help create Ripples of change in your lives & that’s my intention.

Welcome Aboard!!

14 thoughts on “7 Simple Yet Effective Decluttering Tips for Teen Moms That Actually Work”

  1. Dr Minni Chadha?

    Retail therapy is a mood elevator… there is no doubt about it and yes that leads to some cluttering in the closet…
    One policy works for me… any stuff I haven’t used or worn for about 6 months…I .give that away whenI buy new ones… although the stuff given away is as good as the new ones…. but that’s a different story ?…
    I have this amazing collection of jewellery collected over a period of last 20/25 years… I have stored them in my almari in such a way that I know where each & every piece is… but I think that comes with time & experience …
    Teenagers are just too otherwise occupied to WASTE their time organising their closets … they have so many other interesting things to do… so I guess the Mom threats are the best option to get them to clean up?

      1. Dr. Anshu Blaggana

        Such a relatable topic. I just finished decluttering for the upcoming house painting session and i couldn’t believe myself on the amount of stuff we were holding on to thinking it might be of use later. Disposing bags and bags of unwanted stuff gave such a liberating feeling. Keep up the good work!

    1. Wow ! I think every woman faces this problem of clutterred cupboards n house in all stages of life,as a teenager herself n then as a mother of teenager. I too end up decluttering my girls’ rooms every two three months and feel so heart broken when they refuse using or wearing the most beautiful or even recently purchased stuff.
      I never thought about the reasons behind this. Now I know how to get to the cause and eliminate the problems from the root???. The tips given by you are very practical and they will also train my daughters for their future.
      Thank u so much maam
      Keep blogging..??

  2. Pandemic has taught us to be simple .This is the right time to inculcate the habit to declutter, by giving away things to the needy.
    Not only will it help in developing a sense of cleanliness,but also empathy and compassion.
    By setting an example parents need to be role models.
    One of the best and most useful blog

  3. This article is so relatable! While reading I kept on thinking, most of the tips and tricks, I still apply to myself to drag myself up on a lazy day and declutter.
    And yes, I totally agree, our children learn by watching us. They learn more from what they observe from our habits rather than what we tell them to do.
    It’s always a pleasure reading your blogs and the wonderful sketches you bring with them.

  4. Dr.Sweta Rastogi

    Thanks for the amazing post . It’s holds true for so many of us .. Shopping and chocolates are two big time stress relievers . I totally agree that with the easy access to online shopping the wardrobes are filled up most of times … This time when I was doing the shuffling between my winter and summer clothes I did the same thing I decided to give away a handful of them to make space.. I felt relaxed seeing ample space in my otherwise filled cupboard .. Giving away things also gives a feeling of happiness that we are able to help someone .

    1. Dear Dr Ankit,

      Thanks again for your feedback on my blog.

      And glad to know that you find these tips helpful.
      Have a great day, and please do keep on sharing your valuable feedback on my blogs.
      I really look forward to that. Have a good day!

  5. Lokesh Chandra

    It’s great post for moms of teenagers.. holds good even for us.. sometimes I feel with digital shopping and ease of buying things, we have become teenagers again.. collecting the things without discarding anything.. such good tips will definitely help me also to declutter my closets..

    1. Dear Lokesh,

      Thanks again for your feedback on my blog.
      Yes, we are no less than teenagers and get influenced by the same factors to amass things. Decluttering needs to start with us first. I am glad you found these useful for yourself too.

      All the very best on your decluttering initiative.

      Have a great day, and please do keep on sharing your valuable feedback on my blogs.

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