Quiet. Calm. Clean.
These are just some words that may come to mind when your youngest kiddo leaves the nest. No stray sneakers cluttering up the foyer. No trail of school papers. You may even get the TV remote to yourself!
Now that the house has emptied out, though, it’s time to sift through the “stuff” that has piled up over the years.
Here are some tips to help you downsize as an empty-nester:
Clear out your closets
If your closets haven’t been purged since AOL was sending daily CDs to the world, those closets might be stuffed with outdated clothing. Here’s how to make sorting them easy.
Set up four boxes. Mark one “giveaways,” one “keepers,” one “sell” and the last “dump.” As you sort through grunge tops from the ‘90s and neon jeans from the ‘80s, consider each item: Can you donate this, keep it, sell it, or is it destined for the dump? Place each item in its designated box until you’ve gone through the entire pile. Then bring the clothing in each box to its proper destination.
Sell your spare furniture
Your furniture needs will change when the kids have left home. Create space and earn extra pocket money by hosting a garage sale for your unused furniture pieces. You can also sell spare drawer chests, desks and more on Craigslist.
Sift through your files
Remember the days when everything happened on paper? If you do, you may have a small mountain of saved files you don’t really need. It’s time to clear out the pile!
Keep all personally identifying info and sensitive documents, like birth certificates and Social Security cards in a safe place.
Shred anything that serves no purpose now, like the electricity bills from 1995 and pay stubs from your first post-college job.
For the documents that fall somewhere in between these two categories, such as your children’s report cards, keep some, and scan the rest to upload to cloud storage.
Rethink your bedrooms
Have you always dreamed of a sewing room? How about the space to indulge in your model train hobby? You can finally have that hobby room you’ve always wanted when the kids were growing up!
Your Turn: What are your best downsizing tips? Share them with us in the comments.