Friday, October 19, 2012

Organizing Systems In J's Room

On Monday I showed you the before and after photos of my youngest son's bedroom makeover.

On Wednesday I showed how I converted an old dresser into this entertainment centre.  Today I want to show you some of the organizing systems that I have put in place in J's room.

As a professional organizer it is my job to work with your organizing personality in order to set up systems that will work for you.  To say that my youngest, J, has an organizing personality is stretching it!  He is extremely disorganized.  J has ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and sometimes chronic disorganization comes along with it.  When we decided to remodel J's room I knew that it was time to implement systems that would work for him and get rid of the ones that work for me (because those ones were not working).

On Wednesday I showed one of the things that I used to help J deal with his ADD.

I painted the end of the entertainment centre with chalkboard paint.  This way if J needs to remember something important he can write it down.  It also works if I need to remind him of something.

Another thing you may notice about J's room is the lack of flat surfaces.  To J a flat surface is simply a place to put more stuff.  By limiting the flat surfaces it forces him to deal with the stuff, either by putting it in the garbage (clearly labeled) or by putting it away.

He used to have a dresser where the chair now sits.  It was another flat surface for J to pile things on.

I have tried everything to get J to put things away in his dresser.  I even labelled all of the drawers so that he would know precisely where to put his clothes.  The thing is, the act of opening a dresser drawer, sorting the items, placing them in their proper place neatly and then closing the drawer again was simply too much for J.  His clothes never made it in there.  And, since the room is quite small, it made no sense to keep an empty dresser in there.

Before I show you the closet I wanted to show you one more thing that I am using to help J.  J's floor of his room was always covered in loose change.  He used to keep it in a mason jar.

It didn't take long to fill a mason jar and then the coin would get left on a flat surface and eventually land on the floor.  I saw this container at Home Sense and thought that it would be perfect for his change.

At just over 2 feet tall it would take a long time to fill it with loose coin.  It also has a nice wide opening at the top so that J does not have to drop the coins in a few at a time (because he would never do that).  He can drop in a whole handful at once and it is easier for him to retrieve the money too.

Now for J's closet.  Here is the before picture.

We were fortunate in that the closet was already full of shelving when we bought the house.  When we first converted J's room back into a bedroom we removed 2 shelves in order for him to have room to hang his shirts.  Hanging J's T-shirts is one way of keeping him more organized.  He doesn't have to put them neatly piled into a drawer and he can see them all at once.  J is also an out of sight, out of mind type of person.

Here's is J's closet after.

I painted the inside of the closet and we put all of J's T-shirts back in.  I also added 3 large, clear, plastic bins to hold his clothes.  They are labelled, pants, shorts, and work clothes.  I took the lids off of the bins because, in the same way that J can't seem to open a drawer, he also won't open a lid to put things away.  J can just chuck his clothes into the bins and the best part, the bins are clear so that he can still see all of the clothes that he has and won't forget a pair of pants at the bottom because he couldn't see them.

I picked up this set of wire drawers at Ikea.  They had one with a plastic top but I chose the one that was open on top.  This way J can simply chuck his socks and undies into the top drawer and won't have to open it to do so.  The next drawer holds extra sheets and pillow cases.  He can do whatever he likes with the bottom drawers.

I had J go through a lot of his stuff to purge some before bringing it back into his room.  It's hard for J to get rid of things because he has so many interests and upon seeing the object he becomes interested in it again.  I had a conversation with J while going through his stuff that went something like this:

Me - J, now that you're 18 do you think that we could finally get rid of your Pokemon card collection?
J -No way!  That's like the only good memory that I have from my childhood!
Me - Thanks J........thanks a lot.
J - You know what I mean.

I think he means that Pokemon cards were a better memory than Christmas mornings, birthday parties, fishing trips up north, hockey tournaments, tobogganing in the woods behind the house, home made chocolate chips cookies after school, and yes, even Disney World.  So, of course, J kept his Pokemon card collection.  And his coin collection and his stamp collection but I drew the line at the rock collection!

I added some hooks on the walls for his hats and some on the opposite wall for belts and whatever.

There's one last thing that we did to make J's room more manageable for him.  Mr. P built him a bed frame.

The bed frame is designed so that the box spring will fit inside the frame and rest on the 2x4's.  We covered the outside with faux leather.  The best part about this frame is that it was designed so that nothing can get under J's bed.  J would rather go to the dentist and have a tooth pulled than clean out under his bed!  And the junk that we would get out of there on a regular basis was awful.  It was the whole "out of sight, out of mind" thing again.  If he couldn't see the stuff under his bed then it wasn't there.  The same way that fewer flat surfaces in J's room forces him to deal with objects, no space under his bed also forces him to deal with items so that he can still see his floor.  There is no way that anything will be able to get under J's bed.  However, when we informed him of this his answer was, "Is that a challenge!"  (sigh)

Thank you for taking the time to have a look at this room makeover.  It has now been a couple of weeks since J has moved back into his room and I have to say that it is still looking pretty good, organizational wise.  Because of his ADD J will continue to struggle with organization his entire life.

Please come back on Monday when I will post about trying to get organized when you suffer from ADD.


  1. Wow, your J sounds like my 12 year old J !!! Do you get constant battles and panic attacks when he can't find something??

    1. Actually, J's ADD is quite mild. He has never had to take medication for it. His grades were fine in school, not a lot of A's but not failing anything either. J is also a very laid back kid (for having ADD). I've never seen a panic attack and J would never dream of battling with us. He dislikes confrontation and would be upset for hours for even a small reprimand.

      You have me thinking though. He doesn't seem to lose too much and I wonder if he somehow figured out years ago that, if it is something important, give it to Mom and she will take care of it. It's our whole family dynamic. Everybody hands the important stuff to me to deal with because they know I won't lose it.

      Good luck with your J. 12 year olds tend to have more stuff than 18 year olds. Keep systems super simple and easy to access and maybe he won't lose things too often.

  2. OMG! I must have ADD! J and I sound so much alike it is scary. I too am an out of site out of mind kind of person. Mr.T. always complains that if there is a flat surface I will put things on it. I too have problems opening drawers or taking lids off things (although, as an adult, I am really trying to change this). Wow.

    I do love how you organized his room. I am going to use some of your ideas to help me stay organized.

    Thanks for the excellent blog!