Being a pre-teen or early teenager is difficult. Trying to both conform and fit in with all of your classmates whilst seeming unique is a hard thing to do. I personally went to a grammar and high school with a very restrictive dress code, so I know very well how to operate within the “letter of the law” and still seem unique.
I read an article in the New York Times called: Middle School Girls Unlock a Room of Their Own, in Miniature. It discussed how middle school students are decorating their lockers to their personal tastes. Everything from small shag rugs, to wallpaper and wallpaper borders, to even little chandeliers hanging from the top of the locker were used to create a small oasis in the school day.
The locker represents for some kids the very first bit of privacy and freedom to decorate in their lives. At home, their parents dictate acceptable room cleanliness and overall house decoration. I personally believe that this opportunity for self-expression is necessary for their social health.
In this spirit, I helped a friend shop with her son for his own locker accoutrements. Our budget was small, so it would be a fun activity to try and “pimp his locker” for less than 100 dollars.
First and foremost, we had to find a cheap way to cover the sides of his locker. Since all of the modifications to this space had to be temporary (the school still owns the locker) paint was out of the question. We searched online and found great wallpaper her son liked and got it for cheap. A small roll of double-sided tape later, and we had a great start.
Second, there was the problem of organizing the space. We thought of hanging some shelves, but again we ran into the problem of not being able to modify the locker in any permanent way. A quick trip to Target solved that problem. Plastic shelving was cheap, and they had models that were specifically designed for lockers.
Third, we had to cover the bottom of the locker. We happened to have some old carpet lying around in black, so a couple of quick measurements later and we had a great way to cover the bottom of the locker.
To accessorize, we headed back to Target and got a way to organize his pencils, pens, and other little knick-knacks. All in all, we spent about $85 dollars for her son to have a space to call his own. To this day, we hear him talking about how cool everyone thinks it is.
For his self-esteem, and his social growth, $85 dollars was a cheap price to pay.
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