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5 ways to make the most of your empty nest.

When it comes to parenting, the only challenge greater than raising a self-sufficient adult is saying goodbye when they move out. It’s an exciting moment for them, and an equally proud and sad moment for you. It’s not easy to transition to an empty nest, but it’s a great opportunity to refocus on you, your house and your interests. One of the best places to start is your own house, which is likely feeling quiet, big and empty right now. Here are five projects you can tackle to start to bring new life to your house:

  1. Create a new space for your favorite hobby.
    Have you always loved painting but have never had the space for a studio? Do you love tackling puzzles, playing strategy games or watching classic movies? Whatever your passion is, consider dedicating a new space to it in your house.

    You could also start a new hobby, either by taking classes or looking up tutorials online. You might try learning a new language, dance, craft (like knitting) or skill.

  2. Declutter and organize.
    After years of sports equipment and textbooks filling up your entryway and living room, you deserve to live clutter-free. Go through each room in your house and sort items according to what you’ll keep, throw away or donate. If needed, set up an organization system for anything that seems to have no home, like shoes, mail and keys.

    If you’ll be repurposing your child’s bedroom, designate a clean, dry area to store their belongings. Ask them if they’d like to help you sort everything and decide what to keep. Identify a weekend visit or school break during which you’ll work on it together.

  3. Tackle that dream remodel.
    Knock down that wall, install a luxury tub or put in those new cabinets you’ve been dreaming about. Whether you intend to stay in your house or sell it at some point, making renovations to your home can increase its value. And it’ll help you enjoy your house more in the meantime.

    Keep in mind you can use the equity in your home to help fund the project. You can apply for a home equity loan or line of credit and possibly secure lower interest rates than with credit cards or traditional loans. To learn more about using home equity, you might read “Big expense on the horizon – your home equity could help.

  4. Redecorate some rooms.
    Give rooms in your house new life with paint, new art on the walls or by simply rearranging the furniture. Play around with the colors or trends you’ve been too busy or nervous to attempt. You can also shop flea markets and garage sales for new accessories to try out.

    It might help you feel better if you decorate with something that reminds you of your child or children. For instance, you could turn their old t-shirts into a quilt (with their permission) or hang a recent family photo in a nice frame.

  5. Start fresh in a new house.
    You might love your house and its many memories. But if it doesn’t fit your lifestyle or needs anymore, you may consider selling and moving to a house that suits you better. If you determine selling your house is in your future, start making improvements to prepare. If you think moving to a new home may be in your future, be sure to check out our article “Smart steps for homebuyers” if you decide to move.

An empty nest often comes with mixed emotions. Every parent wants to see their children thrive on their own, but that doesn’t mean you don’t feel sad that they’re out of the house. The good news is, they’ll always be your baby, and now you can focus on you. Reinvesting in your home, or deciding to start again in a new one, is a great way to practice self-care during this time. After all the hard work you put into raising your children, you deserve it.

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