Today is all about Empty Nest Downsizing-Cleaning Out Your Adult Children’s Closet And Room. While I am waiting for professionals to paint my office, I decide it is time to tackle the kid’s rooms. All my children are adults and have homes. The twins are married and Anna has her own house.
I have been putting it off because it is such a daunting task, and quite emotional. ( I am NOT an emotional person)
Empty Nest Downsizing- Cleaning Out Your Adult Children’s Closet And Room
Empty Nest Downsizing-Is It Time?
If your kids are still in “flux”, meaning not in their own established home, it may not be time to tackle this project. Many times when you do tackle this, it is only when you are forced to by moving or major downsizing. Sometimes that is a good thing because you don’t have time to “ponder” over your decisions.
I have tried to do this many times, and the task is just so big that I get frustrated and stop and shut the door, out of sight and out of mind. But now I feel like I am ready.
We Deserve A Home That Is Not A Dumping Ground For Our Kid’s Stuff
I felt for years that my home was the dumping ground for their unwanted stuff. It may be that you are “sandwiched in between” your parents/grandparents dumping their unwanted stuff (or stuff you have acquired after their death) and your children’s stuff. You may be up to your ears in STUFF.
I have been slowly clearing out the clutter. Now, I am in somewhat of a “hyperdrive’ in the need to have my home settled and decluttered. I deserve it!
Empty Nest Downsizing- Ask For Help
To be honest, this task I need emotional and physical support. Physical support because there is a LOT of heavy lifting involved. Emotional support to mostly keep me from going to “Memory Road” in deciding what to keep, toss, donate, give to kids. For years these closets have been full of “decisions not ready to be made”. I don’t want to spend hours going through only to put most of it back.
Ask for kids’ help. Know your children and who will be helpful and who would not. I have asked Anna to come over and help me go through her closet (the biggest one of the decisions to be made). It has been a dumping ground for years.
Rule- If They Want To Keep It- They Have To Take It
Set a rule, If they want to keep it, they have to take it. If your child is unable to participate and you have a pile of things they may want to keep, set a VERY SHORT time limit for when they can claim it. Your child lives out of town, take pictures of the items and ask them to tell you what they want to keep. Then ship them the items IMMEDIATELY. If not, it will just go back into the closet to be REDONE another day (total time wasted).
Empty Nest Downsizing- Create A Keepsake Box
Each of my children has a Keepsake Box that is full of school records, and personal memorabilia that I know they will want to keep. Later this year, or next year’s January Project, I plan to give each of them a photo album as I clear out all the old photos.
If They Say “NO, I Do Not Want”, Respect Their Decision
Remember, it is ‘stuff” that has been sitting in a closet for years. If they do not want any of it, or do not want to participate in the process, respect that decision. Keep telling yourself, it is just STUFF. Keep it unemotional and not personal.
Chances Are HIGH, If It Is Still In The Closet, They DO NOT Want It
Chances are high, if it is still in the closet, they don’t want it. DO NOT make them take something they don’t want. I remember many, many, many times I was forced to take things from my grandmother’s house I did not want. Don’t use emotional tactics! Not fair! Our goal is a simplified life, not a life full of stuff that someone has attached some “meaning to”. It is just stuff!
Quickly remove items that are not wanted. Trash, or donate but get it out of your house. Many organizations such as Goodwill will set up appointments to come by and pick up items to be donated. In my community, I can find donations bins in many locations. Do not procrastinate, do it!
The Ultimate Goal Is A Simplified Life
The ultimate goal is a simplified life, free of clutter and less hindered by “stuff”. Years down the road, your children will thank you for not leaving them a to “clean up” your mess after you are gone.
Need help in decluttering paper? Check out my post, Decluttering The Home Office- What To Keep? What To Trash?
*** I have completed Anna’s closet!!! It took about 2 hours of hard work with Dan doing the “heavy hauling”. Today we will be tackling the twin closets.