If the nest is empty. . . why is it still so damn full?!
It seems to be true of most families, when the kids leave home, they never really leave. Maybe the teenaged bedroom is still the same as it was fifteen years ago, or perhaps it’s been converted to a guestroom.. but open the wardrobe, look under the bed, check the pile of crates in the corner .. you’d think they’d just popped off to Bali for a couple of weeks.
Whilst it’s nice to have the kids still feeling so at home when with you (as evidenced by the feet on the coffee table) and whilst they’re always welcome back (favourite child of the week award to whichever one cleans the gutters), you might want to remind yourself – your home is not a storage facility!
How long since anyone put those roller blades on? Will the queue of ballgowns in the wardrobe ever get another shot at the red carpet? If you turn-over the motor of the partially restored Ducati in the garage and no-one is there to hear it, did it actually make a sound?
Reality check #1: Coming home to the folks’ place is actually more about the folks than the place. All that stuff, it’s just stuff!
Ready to start loading up the truck? Hang on, let’s back it up a little.
What we don’t recommend is that said offspring pops round one day to be greeted by a skip bin swinging above the driveway with the sounds of Donkey Kongs I, II and III crunching under a tween sized wheelie chair and a Beverley Hills 90210 lamp. Whilst those Kong’s almost certainly have a slow battery leak dating back thirty years, the chair is only one busted solder short of being a deadly booby trap and the dust encrusted 90210 lamp is now about as bright as Donna Martin, things are going to stay a whole lot nicer if you do your kids the courtesy of asking. As well as keeping the peace, you’ll save yourself a shedload of hard work and anxiety if they come and do the cleaning out for themselves.
Before you bring up the elephant in the room (and all the other random stuff in there), work out exactly what you plan to do with the space and when you need it by. Close your eyes.. visualise that bedroom as your awesome new craft room with so much storage, you’ll have no choice but to go shopping for more crafty supplies. Imagine if you can, a garage turned into a space for (call me crazy) parking the car!
Having a defined plan for the space, should give your procrastinators the hurry up they need. It also means that if you end up doing the cleanout yourself, you’ve got something nice and cheery to look forward to at the end of it (G&T also recommended – best if sourced from the room in question).
Then again, maybe you don’t need all that unused space. Maybe you’re just sick of cleaning it. Maybe this big ol’ family home needn’t be so big now that the big ol’ family isn’t here. Could it be, that holding onto your kids’ stuff is stopping you from downsizing and living the life you want?
Reality check #2: If you’re not prioritising your needs ahead of their stuff, you’re not doing retirement right!
Nostalgia is nice.. but how nice it would be to look forward to something new? New spaces for new things, new friends, new adventures…
Making the move to a home that’s just right for you – just you – could be just the gentle kick in the bum your kids were needing.
No time like the present. Give the kids a call. Make them a nice big lunch.
“no, no, no need to bring anything at all. Except just one thing. . a trailer.”