Downsizing or “Right-sizing” Tips for Empty Nesters
So, it’s a little quieter than you’re used to. But on the upside, you are no longer tripping over the flotsam and jetsam of your kids’ busy lives. Still, becoming an empty nester can be a little unsettling—at first. So, the best advice for empty nesters is to press pause, take a breath, and allow yourself to process this huge life passage. Yes, one door has closed, but another has been thrown wide open and the sweet breeze of freedom is wafting through.
Once you gain a little perspective and begin to contemplate what moving forward looks like, it will be time to start thinking about your empty nester house plans. Will you be downsizing, or as we like to call it “right-sizing” when the kids leave for college? If you are looking around your house and now seeing an oversized, underpopulated living space that has outlived its primary purpose, the answer may be a resounding yes. In that case, the first step toward transitioning out of your long-term home into a fresh new environment that supports your active adult lifestyle is a necessary evil: Clutter control.
Let the De-Cluttering Begin
Your house has a lot of stuff in it. A smaller space will not have room for all that stuff. It is a mathematical fact. If you are even thinking of downsizing from your house to an apartment, the first order of business is to face the clutter chaos head-on and pare down your possessions. As you begin thinking about the process of wading through decades of accumulation, remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Tackle one room at a time and when you get to the photos and childhood memorabilia section, enlist the help of those kids. Provide snacks—and tissues—as the process can be an emotional stroll down memory lane. Getting rid of unnecessary belongings can create its own kind of separation anxiety. Stay focused on how wonderful it will be to live a newly streamlined life.
Oddly enough, the departure of the children is much like their arrival. It throws you for a loop initially, but once you get the hang of it, you realize you are ready to celebrate and embrace this new chapter with the same enthusiasm you brought to parenthood. And seriously, no matter where the kids are, staying in touch is easily facilitated by technology. Between facetime and texting, you won’t even realize they’re gone! So, get to the gym, pursue a new passion, make a new friend, or pack a suitcase and head off on a bucket list trip. This is your time and you’ve earned the right to enjoy it to the fullest!