Hey Red! How do I empty my empty nest?

Hey Red! How do I empty my empty nest? - Organizing with a Side of Fabulous Blog
Hey Red! How do I empty my empty nest? - Organizing with a Side of Fabulous Blog

Hey Red! My children moved out quite some time ago but their things did not. How do I empty my not-so-empty nest? The Nest is Still Full

Dear Nest,

First determine this:

How much space do you want to give to your adult children's things?

Some people want everything out. Some people don't mind a few things tucked away in an unused closet. Others leave the room exactly as it was when the children lived there. How much space you want to dedicate is completely your call.

Once you've determined how much space you'll allow, you have a couple of options. Some parents will gather the things and send them off to the child. Others will have the child come over and deal with it themselves. Again, this is your call and depends upon how quickly you want/need to free up that space. If you're going to gather their things, sort them according to each child. That will make it quicker and easier on both of you. Plus, you get to have some fun with the nostalgia too!

Pro tip: for either option you choose, give them a deadline on when to get it out of the house or else it's all going away. You may find that your children don't want much, if any, of their old things.

Pro tip #2: do you find yourself saying, "but they live in a small home." This could be an excuse. Have you talked to them about it? I find that many of my clients who say this haven't spoken to their children about it. So no matter what size home your child lives in, at least talk to them about it. Some may ask that you hold on to some things for a little while longer until they have the space. Many may wonder why you hung on so long to begin with!

I've worked with many people who didn't like the amount of space their adult children's things were taking up, but also didn't want to force the things on their children. I've also worked with the adult children who suddenly get a box of their childhood belongings and don't want any of it. No matter what, to clear the space you're going to have to face the conversation. And it's OK. It can be really fun to go through the old things, take a moment, then let it all go to create space for the future! So determine how much space you'll allow to children's nostalgia. Ask the kids if they want any of their old stuff. If they don't, toss/donate/sell. If so, give them a deadline on when to get it.

Then make it happen!

Have a burning question of your own? Email it to heyred@melindamassie.com to be answered in a future post.