What is your new vision for your Empty Nest?

As you find your nest emptying, are you seeing new possibilities for your surroundings?  This post will discuss how to create a new vision for your home as it changes occupants.  I used to joke with my son in letters to him at summer camp that I had rented out his room in his absence (I don’t think he believed that a punk rock band had really moved in, though).  Now that both of my kids are out of the home (one permanently, one in college), I am considering swapping their bigger room for my smaller bedroom.  I didn’t mind the smaller space when they were younger since they needed it more than I did, but now I would love to spread out a little bit, maybe set up that little reading area I’ve always wanted.  I will need to “socialize” this idea with my college kid so he doesn’t come back to a completely new space!

What possibilities can you see for your home?  Could one of the kid’s rooms double as a craft room, or an extra guest room?  Is your dining room no longer necessary since you and your spouse are eating dinner in the cozy kitchen instead, and you can finally have the sunny yoga and meditation area you’ve been craving for years?  I encourage you to take a fresh look at the place where you live, and put aside the traditional definition of each room (well, the bathroom might have to remain a bathroom).  What have you always wanted more space for in your life?  What about your spouse/partner?  Yes, maybe your dining room is overflowing with extra things and you will need to declutter first, or your married daughter will need to downsize her childhood belongings before her old room can become your sewing area, but this step is about creating the vision for your space.

One way to do this vision exercise is:
– Grab a notebook/pen and your favorite soothing beverage. 
– Find a quiet place that inspires dreaming.
– Center yourself.
– Begin to brainstorm ideas for your new space and what you want it to include.  It can be physical, task-based, and/or emotional qualities you would like to experience (spaciousness, peace, productivity, retreat-like).  Don’t censor yourself – no one else is looking, so let this time be yours to expand your thinking/dreaming.  You can also use pictures in addition to words. 

You may then choose to wait a few days for these ideas to settle in and percolate before you do the next step, which is:
– Center yourself again.
– Bring your written ideas with you, along with a pen.
– Starting at the bottom or top of the house, slowly wander through your space.
– Use the eyes of a stranger to detach yourself from what you have always seen.
– Take notes/draw ideas on how you could use each room in a new way.

You don’t need to act on these ideas right away, and should discuss changes with anyone else living in the space with you.  You could do this exercise again with your partner if they are open to it.  Most of all, have fun and don’t limit yourself during this step of the process!

Image: jade/ www.morguefile.com

About Melissa Belliard

Melissa is committed to helping her clients find the organizing system that works for them, with compassion and creativity. She has been helping her friends and family get organized for years, and loves decluttering closets and cabinets, especially for empty nesters and folks who are downsizing. Melissa brings her 16 years of experience as a Human Resources professional to her work, including compassionate listening, leadership, and creative problem-solving skills. Melissa is also a part-time massage therapist, and has raised two great kids. She loves being out in nature, listening to music and dancing, as well as bringing women together in community.

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