A few weeks ago my youngest children headed off to college. After 26 years of sharing a home with four kids, my husband and I will officially became empty nesters and I believe it is time to declutter my space. Although I am a professional downsizer, it can still feel overwhelming to sort through what is left in my home. Here are some conclusions I have reached as I set about the task of “redoing my nest”!
Just because my children have headed off to school or starting careers, they will be back. (Is this wishful thinking on my part?!) There are holidays, summer vacations, long weekends. But it does mean you won’t have as many people living in your home so reducing all the extra stuff is key. Think about your kitchen. Fewer people will be regularly eating meals at home so there’s no need for extra plates, cups, mugs, etc. Be sure to leave enough for guests, but remember this is all about simplifying. Is your pantry stacked full of your children’s favorite foods? Send your kids with their favorite non-perishables or donate items that you won’t eat to local food pantries.
One of the larger categories when it comes to downsizing is clothing. More than likely my kids have old clothing laying around that no longer fits, no longer suits their style, or is in bad condition.. Encourage your children to sort through their bedrooms before heading off to school to part ways with what they no longer want or need.
Think about furniture and other items your children will no longer need once they are out of the house. Chances are your daughter will never again need the homework desk sitting in her room. Linens are another item to sort through. With fewer people filling beds, you’ll need fewer linens. I typically suggest two sets of linens per bed. Towels, blankets and pillows can be pared down based on their condition. You might consider donating your towels and twin size flat sheets to your local animal shelter.
We’re not suggesting you get rid of too much and find yourself in an empty looking house. Ideally you will have more space in your home to fill with what you love. Now is your time to be selfish! Always wanted to learn how to rollerblade? Buy yourself a pair and store it in your now de-cluttered basement space. You can now fill your shelves with books you’ve been dying to read and puzzles you want to solve instead of your childrens’ high school textbooks.
Remember, this time is about you! Fill your home with pieces that make you smile or bring joy to your new empty nester days! While it’s hard to say goodbye to our children, think about this as an exciting new journey in your life and enjoy it.