Cleaning up after your kids

You've waited for this since they were little, and now that your kids have grown up and gone off to their own lives, you probably have a myriad of stud that they left behind. Not only is empty nest cleaning necessary at this point, it can be therapeutic for dealing with the empty nest blues.

Hopefully you'll only have to deal with one empty nest cleaning bedroom at a time, but you probably have some of their stuff in the garage or attic, too. Part of empty nest cleaning is to invite them back--for a mucking out of what they want to keep and what they would like to store.

If you have an extra shed or truly have the room, you can store some of your child's things for them for awhile, but what usually happens is that you end up storing it for years. So, if they've gone off to college temporarily, that's one thing, but if they've moved out into their first place, you have to put your foot down. If they have more stuff than they want to move, they'll need to rent a storage unit and pay for it themselves. Empty nest cleaning is also about regaining some of your personal space.

So set a day when they can come home and help. Go through their room with them, and if they haven't used something in a few months, suggest that they donate it to charity. There may be a few mementos that you can't bear to part with, but try to keep it to a minimum. I kept it down to one box for each kid.

Empty nest cleaning provides a time that the two of you can get together and talk like adults. They need to move on and you need to let go. This is easier said than done, I know, but it will help if you can go through their belongings together. Discuss freely with them plans that you may have for their old bedroom. Maybe you've always wanted your own sewing room, or craft area, or a home office. Look at the solution oriented plans rather than focusing on the sadness of saying good bye to your child--it's not forever, they do tend to come back from time to time to visit!

Remember, a pile for storage, a pile for the dump, and a pile to donate. That's the key to empty nest cleaning. If you want to keep a box of their things for your own sentimentality, be sure to store it where you will actually take it down and look through it from time to time, you'll probably do this often in the first few months, but that's okay, you may want to move it to the attic for now and bring it out in a few years, as well. Now you can get excited about new paint, new carpeting, and a different look for your extra room.