Young teen girl meditating on a yoga mat in her room.

Helping Teens Create a Space of Their Own

For most teens, their room is their sanctuary. It can be a safe space where they can be truly themselves, a refuge from the stressors of daily life, and even a vehicle for self-expression. It’s a place where they can experiment with their style, foster their interests, and explore their identity. To say the least, having a physical space at home they call their own is invaluable for both physical and emotional growth, development, and life satisfaction. 

Ultimately, it is incredibly beneficial to teach your teen the value of their space and how to use it to its full potential. So, let’s talk about how to encourage teens to take ownership of their personal spaces and treat them with care to promote independence, responsibility, relaxation, and even reducing stress and anxiety. Keep reading to find out more about the value of space and how to encourage prioritizing your teen’s room organization.

Taking Ownership

Everyone needs a place to go to rest, recharge, and escape from reality even for just a brief moment. But teens need their rooms to explore their interests and identity too! So encourage them to take ownership of their personal space and make it truly feel like theirs. Ask them if there is anything they might like help with to organize their room or deck it out to match their personal style. 

Maybe you have a bookworm who needs a more effective way to store their heaps of new novels or a fashionista with an ever-growing collection of vintage clothing starting to spill out of their drawers. On the other hand, you might have a stress-cleaning teen who is having trouble finding balance with their things or a minimalist who needs encouragement to put up a picture or poster to create a space that brings them joy. Consider your teen’s unique situation and have a talk with them about ways they can feel more comfortable and successful in their space.

Forming Habits

Teens have probably been told before to keep their room clean. While they might interpret this as a begrudging task to please their parents, it is important that they understand that it is more than just to be considerate to other housemates. Your teen’s room organization practices now are key to forming healthy habits. By choosing to get up in the morning every day a few minutes early to make their bed and tidy their space, they can make a conscious prioritization of themselves and their mental health. 

Just like dressing correctly for events can make people feel good, coming home after a stressful day at school to a tidy room can help to ease stress and promote relaxation. By encouraging your teen now to start taking care of their personal space for them, not just you, you are setting them up for a lifetime of increased order and peace in their surroundings. So if you have a messy teen, sit down with them to explain the vast short term and long term benefits of an orderly room.

Fostering Independence

A teen’s room is often the perfect place to get time alone to rest, relax, and even just work through their thoughts. Keeping a clean room can allow teens the space to practice the hobbies they love or research their curiosities. Maybe your teen would like a spot by the window to read, look at the stars, or birdwatch. Instead, they might need an open space in the middle to do floor exercises or have their own private silent disco. Whatever your teen likes to do, let them know that they are free to use their space to catch up with their emotions and to get to know themselves better, working towards a life-long self love. 

So, if your teen spends a lot of time in their room, remember that it can be well spent growing and exploring what excites them! Be sure to avoid checking in on them too often so they can truly feel like they have time and space to practice self care. However, if you can’t seem to get them to emerge from their haven, suggest spending some quality family time together or going outside for some fresh air and sunshine!

Reducing Anxiety

While it may be surprising to some teens and nothing new to others, cleaning and organizing can be powerful mental health activities for teens. For many, cleaning relieves stress, even if they strongly dislike doing it. Taking a few minutes each day to tidy up, or one big day of reorganizing each season to get a fresh start, can create a sense of order and peace in their lives. Keeping their space clean eliminates the thought of clutter and the feeling that more things are piling up or coming in on them. Figuratively and literally! 

So, if you have a messy teen who is feeling stressed, encourage them to take charge by cleaning up their space first. Maybe they have an important test to study for, a big game coming up, or are nervous for their first date. Whatever is on their mind, help them fixate on something positive by providing a feeling of progress towards something meaningful in the meantime. Start by suggesting a quick tidy up and then offer your helping hand if needed.Remind them that getting their room clean allows them to focus on the exciting parts of life and cherish their free time that much more!

At Tilly’s Life Center, we believe that supporting teens means promoting their best physical and mental health, both within themselves and through their immediate surroundings. Our mission is to provide teens with the tools they need to handle difficult situations and emotions effectively to lead positive, fulfilling, and healthy lives. To learn more about the mental health resources for teens we offer, visit us at