The emotional effects of becoming an empty nester can hit you hard, but loss isn’t always devastating.
Choosing to get rid of some possessions and ditch clutter to downsize into a smaller home can help reboot your life. Of course, change is challenging, but you have the power to label change as positive or negative and give certain meaning to it.
So, if you’re an empty nester who’s ready to start your new journey, here are four things to know before you downsize and move your empty nest, and embrace a more simple lifestyle without the kids.
Your mind may know that change is good, but your heart may be telling you something different. Once all the kids move away from home, you may experience empty nest syndrome and a real psychological void, states Psychology Today.
Moving to a new city to live a brand new life can distract you as you transition into this next chapter of your life, so you can build a new norm. Think of it as overcoming change, with more change.
Rather than feeling stuck with the emotional loss and physical vacancy of your children, you can fill up with a sense of adventure during this new beginning. Commit to a positive perspective to get through each step, from preparing for the move to establishing a new life in the city.
Don’t wait to downsize.
Feeling overwhelmed causes stress, which can lead to paralysis. The moving date is set, but where do you begin?
The thought of having to organize, de-clutter, donate unused items and pack combined with that persistent feeling of emotional emptiness can keep your frozen, waiting until the last minute to prepare to move.
If you’re moving to a large metro like New York City, Vancouver or Miami, finding the right apartment might be overwhelming.
Conduct your apartment search online and make sure you know the square footage and floor plans of your top options. This way you have a blueprint from which you can design your smaller space in advance.
Start early and set mini goals.
Break the process down into categories or by rooms.
Determine how much you should get rid of, such as a full box of books or half the wardrobe.
Write down goals and guidelines to help you stay on track.
Ask yourself, “Have I used this in the last 12 months?” or “Does this bring me joy?”
Go vertical to maximize space.
Get creative with your space, starting with multifunctional furniture with hidden storage options.
Ottomans can open up to a large, hollow storage space.
A bed platform creates another level with additional drawers or cubbies, while also adding a unique dynamic to the bedroom.
Next, build elongated shelving or storage cubes into the walls. For a unique look, install cubes that come in various sizes and paint them a bold color to form an eye-catching, asymmetrical design.
If you still have vacant wall space, hang mirrors to expand your home’s visual appearance.
Leave room for the “things” that matter most.
Once you’re moved and settled in, you will see the benefits of owning and being surrounded by less.
There’s charm and reward with living simply, especially in a new city where there’s so much to discover.
It’s common to start shopping to fill the emotional emptiness of empty nesting, but living with less clears away unnecessary clutter as well as the chaos and stress that comes with it.
You have more room to find a different kind of happiness and fulfillment at this stage in your life without distractions. By letting go of stress that comes with change, you open up space for exploration, travel, creativity, new friendships and a new you.
Keep in mind, it takes training and conscious decisions to become a minimalist.
Constantly ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” or “How can I free my mind of this negativity?”
You can even find local support and meet people who also believe in the joy of minimalism and clutter-free, simple living.