It becomes the home for discarded clothes, odd collections of things that were once all the rage, loose bits of paper and anything else that was once on the floor until you complained.
And yet, the desk is the way you commit to your teenagers success. It sends the message, “schoolwork is important”, “we want you to fulfill your potential”, “we believe in you”!
The question is … how can we move this piece of furniture from symbolic support to the real world support?. To have it actually helping your child to succeed.
The answer lies in tapping into how your teenager works, and setting the desk up for ease of use. (and yes, finding a place for all the other crap that normally lives there!)
If your child is a traveling worker, then you need to think differently about how to set up. That is a topic for another day. If your teenager works in their room then the desk becomes the focus for organization.
The surface should be kept clear so as to minimize distractions. Supplies should be kept within easy reach. Keep supplies to a minimum; overflowing drawers just make it harder to find things. If you have large stocks, store them elsewhere and replenish as necessary.
Set up a filing system for papers. This is best done in a box kept in the open where it is easy to use. Even if the desk has a drawer for files, out of sight is out of mind. Work together to decide how best to arrange the files. Make sure it is easy for the student to retrieve information; otherwise it will not get used.
There is a lot more depth than I can get into in this post, but by making this start you will be beginning the process and encouraging your student to think about how they work and how they can organize to support themselves.