I have been asked to talk next month at a function for women who are around the age of empty nesters and my topic is going to be: Reclaiming your home after the children have gone.
Not having kids myself I can’t really relate to this topic, but I have two sisters who are going through this stage as we speak: one is quite depressed, while the other is jumping for joy!
So I have been doing some research and found this fabulous blog post called Views from the Empty Nest which pretty much summed up the syndrome quite well, from someone who is actually going through it herself ; take a read:
I wanted to discuss downsizing today. No, we are not selling everything off and moving, but I hate being taken by surprise, so I have started the process. It is painful. It is painful to let go of stuff because of the memories attached to these things, whether it is a book we read when she was little, or something she made in high school.
We have been on our property for almost 20 years. I can’t believe how all the nooks and crannies have filled up. I know what happened, we got busy living and enjoying life, and so we just didn’t deal with the stuff.
“What should I do with this?” “I don’t know!” And so another thing would get put . . . in my office. Since my job ended, I haven’t used my office much. Still, it should not become a dumping ground for things without a home. It has become the room where everything gets shoved when we “clean house.” This past weekend I started working on clearing my office out so that I can work in there.
Don’t get me wrong, I do have a laptop. So why would I want my office back? Well, want to be able to do “office stuff” in my office–stuff like pay the bills and file them away, work on my ongoing education (taking some FREE tax preparation classes to perhaps become a volunteer tax preparer), work on my photographs, etc.
And I want to be able to leave my stuff out if I want. Right now, I schlep it all into the living room, do what needs to be done, and then schlep it all back into my office until the next time.
To get myself geared up for serious cleaning, I watch a few episodes of “Hoarders”. A couple of things always come to mind:
1) We hold on to things because of the emotion: She was so cute in that.
2) We shop for comfort, for that adrenalin rush, for the thrill of a deal. And who knows, some day we might need it. We never do use “it”, so it sits on a shelf gathering dust.
3) We let our kids store stuff at home when they begin their voyage into the wide world, and 10 years later it is still in our garage. So, they come home and go through it, and say “Oh, just get rid of it.” So now it is my job–my time, my effort– to get rid of their stuff. (Learning to say “E-bay” for this and “it is yours, you deal with it”)
4) Also, older family members give us stuff. They give it to us because they know we will “take care of it.” Yikes!! I personally have all the family history for my husband’s family. I can’t make decisions on what is important and what isn’t. It isn’t mine. He has to decide that — or his son or his daughter. But not me.
To read more go to: http://markbarendt.com/anna/2010/07/12/downsizing/