Dear Kathi,

I would like to organize my middle school son’s room so that he has space to study, sleep and play. He likes to build Lego buildings and also have friends over to play on his Xbox. His room is 10×16 with a typical sliding two-door closet. It is overcrowded now, so he has no place to study or hang out with his friends.

Janet, Escondido


Lego collections can often take over an entire room, especially if your son is into building skyscrapers or giant dinosaurs. It will help to begin with this area.

Work with your son to determine of he still wants to keep all of his completed Lego masterpieces. There are probably a few that he is ready to disassemble. Perhaps he can downsize his Lego collection and donate it to other children who might not otherwise have the means to own them. To help him make this decision, talk to him about the overall game plan for his room. Maybe he can help decide which activities are most important.

Take a look at his closet and see if there might be a better way to redesign the interior. Boys typically do not need all of that space for clothes. Your son might be better served by using half of that space for the TV, Xbox player and discs. You can also keep a few bins for Lego parts and other loose games.

Configure the clothes side of the closet with high/low clothing rods and perhaps a small drawer unit for socks and t-shirts. With proper planning on the interior of his closet, it might be possible to eliminate a dresser in the room itself.

If you decide to use half of the closet for games, simply install shelves to accommodate the intended items. Leave a large space for the TV and build smaller shelves on either side for discs, games and controllers.

Is there another area in the house where your son might be able to build his Lego’s or play the Xbox? Streamlining his room for sleep and study only might be another answer to your space dilemma.

If space is still at a premium after downsizing your son’s toys and games, consider a loft bed. It elevates the twin mattress and often includes a built-in desk and shelving below. This unit would double his floor space and make room for two beanbag cushions for Xbox gaming.

A study area needs at least 6 feet of desk space. Your son will need all of this space for books, computer, printer, iPod, etc.

Remember that whatever solutions you decide upon, create separate zones for each type of activity. This means dedicating a physical space for each activity. The study area should be able to hold all related study materials; computers, books and papers. If the space is for Xbox, all loose items must fit within that zone.

Defining and designating zones makes maintaining order easy. There is no question where each item lives and where it should be returned to after each use. This will create more harmony in your home and also help your son learn important organizing skills.
Thanks for writing and don’t hesitate to write with any other specific questions.

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San Diego Professional Organizer