So You’re An Empty Nester, Now What?

What often can be one of the greatest accomplishments in parenting, sending your child off to college, also comes with many changes – financial, emotional and spatial ones, to name a few. But, for four years, parents still can expect their children to come home during holiday and summer breaks.

The biggest change happens post-graduation, when your child begins to transition into a career and “real” adulthood. It’s after this that parents truly become empty nesters, which comes with its own set of opportunities and challenges.

For many empty nesters , a newfound sense of freedom emerges, whether it be traveling, picking up new hobbies or reconnecting with old friends. However, for others, this new stage comes with grief, loss and confusion once the last child leaves the home, which the Mayo Clinic characterizes as empty nest syndrome.

Whichever side of this emotional spectrum you may fall in, downsizing and decluttering your home can be a productive, positive step forward. A number of health professionals say there is a direct effect decluttering can have on your mental state – that freeing up space in your home subsequently lowers your stress level and clears up brain space.

If you’re an empty nester, here are a few empty nester house plans  to best utilize your home as you enter this new life stage.

Declutter

Once you’ve become an empty nester, the first step in transforming your home is to declutter your house. For many, it’s difficult to envision an updated living space when their home is filled with belongings from important and memorable parts of their life. But it’s helpful to remember you don’t need to do everything at once. Decluttering in stages is a good way to start, particularly for those who may be anxious to do so.

Check with your children to see if there’s anything they want to take with them, as you plan to free up space around the house. Having a deadline to declutter, both for your children to retrieve items and for yourself to finish the task, is a good way to keep the process moving.

Decluttering also is a good way to make a couple extra dollars or donate items to a worthy cause. Depending on your situation, you can sell old or unwanted clothes on Poshmark, relics on eBay or make a couple of trips to the local Goodwill.

Create a new space in an existing space

It might seem practical, and yes, easiest to keep rooms as is, but this leaves those spaces underutilized. Updating these rooms can be quite effective at giving you a new perspective on your home.

For empty nesters wondering what to do with the newly freed space, here are a few ideas to get started.

  • Update your child’s bedroom into a guest suite: While the space still will be a bedroom, updating it gives you more options. For example, for empty nesters who are looking to rekindle old friendships, a proper guest suite makes for a more inviting space should they want to invite guests to stay for a long weekend.
  • Convert it into to a hobby room: Are you a lover of literature or do you have a passion for art? If there’s just been no time, and space for that matter, in the past, now is the chance to transform one of the no-longer-used bedrooms into a hobby or craft room or even a personal library.
  • Turn the space into a home office: For years you’ve had to catch up on work while crowded on the couch or at a cluttered kitchen table. Now, there’s a space you can turn into a personal office, which will increase productivity and motivation, especially when working from home.
  • Add a home gym: There aren’t just physical benefits to updating an old room into a home gym. Exercise is one of the most effective ways to increase your mental health and clarity, which is especially important for a family that may be struggling with empty nest syndrome.

Downsize

For families who had multiple children in the house, the newfound space can seem jarring. This can leave you wondering if all the extra space is still necessary at this point and how to downsize your home. Before you put your home on the market, consider the following:

  • Even after weighing the pros and cons of updating some of the rooms within the house, there’s still just too much space.
  • It’s just time to move on – this home has done its job dutifully, but now, it’s time for new horizons and new memories.
  • It’s something that you’ve wanted to do for years, but never were able to accomplish because moving with children can add stress to an already taxing endeavor.

If you found yourself nodding along to any of these, it might be time to contact a local real estate agent.

No matter the route a family decides to go, becoming empty nesters offers parents a number of exciting options. And while there is no “right way” to navigate this new time, it’s important to determine what path is best for you and your future. Should you decide to  downsize and declutter or send some of your belongings into storage, know we are here to help. Hilldrup is proud to be one of the best moving and storage companies in the country!


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