Adjusting to the empty nest

On October 19, 2016 in Family Life & Health

Adjusting to the empty nest


It’s important that your home meets your needs. But your needs change over time, right? When you are raising a family, having a bigger home might be essential to give everyone his or her own space. However, those children will inevitably grow up and move out. When they’ve gone off to college or careers, suddenly, that big home is no longer as necessary.

Deciding to stay or move

Many parents contemplate downsizing, and it’s not a bad idea. The challenge is overcoming the emotional attachment you may have to your home and the belongings in it. Walter Michka wrote for ChicagoNow about his own experience facing the fact that his once-crowded home was much bigger than he and his wife now need.

His home is where they raised four children together and is a reflection of a successful life he is proud of. However, the fact of the matter is, they no longer needed a four-bedroom home, and keeping it clean and heated was costly and time-consuming.

It’s hard to let go of a family home, but it’s even harder to do so down the road. The Washington Post pointed out that eventually, age, illness or finances may prevent you from being able to keep up with your home. If you’re considering selling your house in favor of a smaller place, doing so sooner when you’re healthy and financially stable may be the best move you can make.

However, that’s not to say every empty nester should pack up as soon as they drop their youngest off at college. If you live in a reasonably sized home that would be ideal for aging in place, and you’ve already paid off your mortgage, staying put could be a better option for you, U.S. News & Money Report explained. But that doesn’t mean you can’t downsize in your own way.

Decluttering your home

Over the past 18 or so years, you have probably collected a wide range of items that you or your children hold precious. It can be hard to get rid of that handprint your child made just for you in preschool, but there are some projects that came home over the years that you can probably part with.

The Washington Post pointed out that getting the help of a professional organizer can help with this process. They can help you straighten out your important documents and determine which things are worth keeping. Cleaning out your closets and spare rooms can be incredibly cathartic once it’s done. You’ll be left with a home that’s cleaner and easier to maintain.

Plus, as you grow into your new empty-nester lifestyle, you may pick up new hobbies that you can now fit into your home. Sending the kids off to college doesn’t just mean it’s time for them to develop new interests and learn about themselves. This is also a great time for a new wave of self-discovery for the parents. Downsizing either by decluttering your home or moving to a new one altogether can allow you to make time and room for yourself and your new hobbies.