Clearing the Empty Nest

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After raising children, your home can start to become a storage unit for the things your child couldn’t or didn’t take with them. You can accumulate quite a few items from toddler year toys to teenage band craze posters or memorabilia in addition to items you’ve owned since before you were a parent. This is why it is essential to clear the clutter from your empty nest.

To prepare for your next phase in life as the parent of adult children, we have a few tips to help you bring a new level of order and organization to your home.




1.       Be prepared for the emotional part of this process.

Sorting through years of memories can take you on an emotional roller coaster. According to organization expert Lisa Woodruff, “memorabilia that has been stored for decades is precious, but not actually something either the parents or the children physically want to hold onto. If your children do not want to take their own possessions, consider taking photographs of those possessions and making a digital scrapbook for them.” Creating a keepsake using photos, textiles, or other forms of art are great ways to preserve memories without cluttering your space.


2.       Purge items that should be discarded.

In most cases, we store items without checking to see if the items are in good condition or need to be discarded. There are a few items that should automatically be let go of to help you reclaim more space:

  • Dispose of broken or extremely outdated electronics.
  • Dispose of expired or excess toiletries, makeup, and grooming products.
  • Discard torn, ripped or worn decorative items like posters or old favorite pillows.
  • Discard or recycle loose papers and any accumulated junk mail.


3.       Look for items of value that could sell well.

Did you come across an original Nintendo System in the attic? This may surprisingly have a hidden value. In some cases, the items you’ve purchased for your children may need a second home or be a great find for collectors. Some of the items you should research the value for include:

  • Newer high-end Brand-Name Clothing or accessories
  • Items still in the box or with a tag (especially brand name
  • Niche or like new Sports Equipment
  • Electronics like tablets, cell phones, or laptops that are not more than 3-5 years old
  • Toys, dolls, action figures or figurines with rare value
  • Sports memorabilia from highly celebrated athletes, like baseball cards or jerseys


4.       Find out what your children would like to keep and have them store the items outside of your home if possible.

Many times, the hardest part of decluttering is starting the process especially with items tied to memories or emotions. One way to tackle this task is by allowing your adult child or children the opportunity to sort through what they would like to keep. Before discussing their belongings be sure to identify family heirlooms and keepsakes you are certain you want to pass down within the family.


5.       After items are sorted and claimed, arrange donations.

Many items we commonly take for granted could be items those less fortunate can find great benefit in. Consider donating the following items:

  • New or barely worn clothing, shoes and or coats that have never fit, currently don’t fit or have simply been taking up space (especially those that have not retained a high value)
  • Old eyeglasses could be very useful to those who cannot afford a new pair
  • Old toys that don’t have collector value, but still have tons of hours of play time left
  • Baby and toddler related items that still have great use for any parent
  • Books and magazines could be great to donate to your local library, school, medical office or charity


Clearing your home of clutter does not have to start after you have an empty nest. You can start the process now before it’s a necessity. Removing clutter and reclaiming space can be an emotional and time-consuming process if you don’t know what to look for. Consider hiring a company like Caring Transitions to help you clear excess items and find new homes for the valuables your children no longer want or need.


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