When Children Have to Share a Room

July 26, 2014


Let's face it does any child want to share his or her bedroom? I was asked recently on my Facebook page as The Zen Organizer to say a few words about how to make this situation work when you have no alternative. My list is meant to get you thinking and to spark your own creativity.  It is by no means definitive.  After all age, sex and individual personality will change the equation. 


  • Be as fair in your division of the space as is humanly possibly. I love the image above because the boy and girl each have the same storage opportunities.

  • Teach your children the rule of completion.  When you start an activity whether it's playing with all of your Barbies or opening a dresser drawer it must have an action that brings everything back to its original state.  If you return things in physical space you will do that with thoughts, projects, promises ~ everything.

  • Each child should have specific bed linens; towels and bedding (comforter, pillow sham, bed skirt et al) that are designated for his personal use. Each child should also have toy storage solutions for all of his or her toys but especially for the unique items they cherish.

  • The room needs to be picked up either at the end of the day or before they begin a new day. If the sloppy child doesn't want to make military corners on his bed like his sister he can simply smooth back the comforter.  Where there's a rule there's an adaptation.

  • If guests are allowed in the bedroom you'll want to establish rules so the child with no guest does not feel his space is compromised.  Play and guests are easier if confined to the family or living room. 

  • Establish a board at Pinterest with ideas you pull from other boards.  Show your children what you like and discuss the solutions you have in mind. If they are old enough have them create boards of their own or add to yours.  As much as their chronological years and maturity will allow let them be co-creators in the project.  You however as the parent have the final say. After all you are footing the bill.


This list should get you thinking about what is possible for your children and the space they share. In addition to Pinterest I would go to websites for stores that carry ideal solutions like Pottery Barn or The Container Store.  You may not be able to afford the dream store’s selection but you might find a substitute at your local thrift or consignment store.  A coat of fresh paint can do wonders to transform what was old into something fresh and new.  In fact you might want to check what's in your home and see if anything can be repurposed.


Let's talk about the elephant in the room, shall we?  At a certain age (to be determined by you as parents with input from your pediatrician or child psychologist) it is in fact not appropriate for two children of the opposite sex to share a room. No amount of decorating or organizing prowess can circumvent the power of inexperienced hormones.  Better safe than sorry.



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