Making the Most of an Empty Nest

Your children have flown the coop.  What do you do with what they've left behind?

Your children have flown the coop. What do you do with what they’ve left behind?

Once your child is truly launched into the world as an independent adult, the challenges and opportunities of being an empty nester arise.

 Challenges:
  • how to make them feel welcome in the home without keeping their room untouchable – a shrine
  • how to set up the space so it can be used when they aren’t there but easily host their visits
  • what to do with memorabilia – what to display vs. store vs. jettison
  • what to do with useable but unneeded items in general

Opportunities:

  • Create new space to re-purpose for hobbies, exercise, guests
  • Provide extra income by renting out space
  • Help your child transition into adulthood. Re-defining “their room” re-inforces the idea that they are creating their own lives.
  • Re-claiming “their” room for general use reinforces their autonomy

 

Clearing out space helps you to take stock of the memories and the gifts you shared with your offspring.  You can step back and appreciate the work you put into being the best parent or caretaker that you could be.  What you’re left with is discerning what you own, what you want to use the space for and what new adventures might await you with this opening.

So how do you go about it?

  • If possible, have a conversation with your kid to discern what’s important to them and invite them into the process
  • If you can’t imagine tackling the whole room at once, can you approach one drawer, one closet, or one corner of the garage
  • Think of who else can get benefit from outgrown soccer shoes or an unused weight set.  You can pass on these outgrown tools of parenting to someone who could use the boost.
  • Be kind to yourself and take your time. The emotional impact of this change can be daunting and those emotions can slow the process

This isn’t usually a “fun” process, but going through it to the other side can open up new avenues for bringing in richness.

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Filed under Empty Nest, General Organizing, Kids, Strategies

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