Ask the Experts

Q: “How Can We Slay Our Kids’ Messy Bedroom This Summer?”

Messy bedrooms (especially in small spaces) require diligence — and creative organization tricks like pegboards, hanging shoe bags, storage ottomans, and other ADHD-friendly solutions like the ones recommended here.

Messy children's room

Q: “My 10-year-old has ADHD and shares a bedroom that is overwhelmed with clutter. I need some good organizing ideas for my sons since we’re super tight on space. I want to try to tackle this over the summer when school is finally over, but I don’t know where to start.” —ShortSpaceMom

Hi ShortSpaceMom:

Children’s bedrooms are usually small, often shared, and must be multi-functional – storage unit, homework station, play space. It’s not easy to keep the clutter at bay and the room organized. Here are some of my tried-and-true tips to calm the chaos for your son with ADHD, and his brother.

1. Sort and Store. When we live in small spaces, we need to consistently edit and weed out our belongings. The change of seasons or before holidays and birthdays is a great time to sort through clothes, books, toys, etc., and pare down what’s not needed or used. In the process, take a hard look at what is living in their shared space. Can out-of-season clothing be stored in the attic or basement? Can some of their books or toys live in the den? The editing process will give you a clear picture of what’s to be stored in the bedroom and the organizing pieces you’ll need.

Extra Bonus? Less stuff means less stuff to keep track of. Beneficial for a child with ADHD.

2. Set Up Specific Spaces. Designate specific storage spaces for EACH child. Tall thin bookcases, under-the-bed storage boxes, even closet shelves will create natural and separate zones. Don’t forget to clearly label any bins or baskets you use with each child’s name. This will take the guesswork out of knowing to whom the boxes belong and make it easier for both boys to find their belongings.

[Read: The Messy Bedroom (and Backpack and Locker) Cure for Kids with ADHD]

3. Use Air Space. Wall or vertical storage helps maximize space by using every inch of the room possible. Hang pegboards (my favorite) with little baskets filled with hard-to-organize stuff. If your children share a desk, place a tall hutch on top to give them a dedicated homework zone and a place to store school supplies and materials. Clear shoe bags can be used in closets, and behind bedroom or bathroom doors. Repurpose them to store small toys, electronic cords and wires, socks and underwear — or any other small item — for instant organization and to maximize vertical space. And don’t forget inside the closet! Anywhere you see available space, hang hooks! Perfect for belts, hats, sweatshirts, and jackets.

Extra Bonus? Using your vertical space provides visual cues. Taking the “what I don’t see, doesn’t exist” mantra out of the equation.

4. Make Furniture Multi-Functional. If you can, swap out a regular bed for a platform one with storage drawers underneath. Or use a storage ottoman instead of a chair. In other words, multi-purpose pieces will instantly maximize your storage spaces.

And, if you would like more organizing tips, I hope you will check out my website,

Good Luck!

Messy Bedroom Cures: Next Steps

ADHD Family Coach Leslie Josel, of Order Out of Chaos, will answer questions from ADDitude readers about everything from paper clutter to disaster-zone bedrooms and from mastering to-do lists to arriving on time every time.

Submit your questions to the ADHD Family Coach here!

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