You watched your graduating senior walk across the stage for their diploma, threw them an amazing graduation party, and helped them pack and settle into their new digs — what's next? If you’re a new or soon-to-be empty nester, you may be wondering what to do with all your new space. While we're not suggesting that you clear out all their stuff immediately (after all, they'll probably be home for the holidays and important family gatherings) this is the perfect time to start making some plans to make good use of that space and transform it into something that works for you and your new lifestyle. Check out these tips and ideas for turning your grad's room into the ultimate flex room, or whatever else is missing in your life.
1. First Steps: Imagining Your New Space
You may already know exactly how you want to transform your (now) spare room into the perfect space for your needs. But if you haven't, take some time to research your options. Some ideas for using your new space include:
- Outfit a home workout room
- Turn it into a she shed for the lady of the house
- Make it a man cave for the lord of the manor
- Turn it into a multifunctional flex space
- Create a home office that maximizes productivity
- Rent it out on Airbnb
- Create a guest bedroom and invite your friends over
Those are just a handful of ideas to get you thinking of the best ways to use your new space. The possibilities are endless.
2. Next: Prep the Room
Now that you know what you want to do with your room, it's time to get it ready for its new life. That's going to mean a little elbow grease and a lot of planning. Before you get started, consider these questions:
- What kind of furniture and fittings will you need? Will some of the furnishing in the room suit the purpose?
- What will you do with the extra stuff — furniture you don't need, your kids' memorabilia and belongings, the clothes they didn't take with them?
If you’re worried about upsetting your graduating child by making an abrupt change to their childhood room, getting buy-in from them can make the entire process less traumatic for everyone involved. Let them know your plans and set aside a weekend to go through their room together. You can help them pack up the things they want to keep so you can move them to self storage, and make plans for the things they don't want to save. Feel free to get sentimental and sneak a few of the mementos you can't bear to part with — chances are, they'll want them someday and will be grateful you held onto them.
Tip: You can do it in stages over the next few years so your child will have a room to come home to during their college years. Just slowly start moving things out and moving your things into the space.
3. Design Your Space
Now that you've got an empty canvas, you can create your dream room. Let your imagination run loose — use a combination of color, style, and practical tips to design a room that will be comfortable, inspiring, or whatever fits your mood best. Some design ideas you can use for inspiration include:
- Get in tune with nature with biophilic design trends
- Invite serenity with Japandi design tips
- Spark joy with maximalist design flourishes
- Get cozy with cottagecore elements
Apply a little feng shui for harmony and luck.
4. Is It Time to Downsize?
For many parents, sending the last child off to college, or watching them move out on their own, means it's time to downsize. The house that was just right for you and three growing kids can feel awfully big to manage when it's just the two of you. If your empty nester house plans include moving to a smaller place, consider these questions to help you organize and make your move as easy and smart as possible.
What will you bring with you?
The answer can vary from "clothes and mementos" to "most of my stuff," depending on how much space your new place will have. In most cases, you'll have to figure out what to do with a lot of excess furniture and belongings you've collected over the years.
What will you do with the rest of your belongings?
- Give it away to family members who want it and have room for it.
- Use a self-storage unit to safely keep pieces that have sentimental value and will be passed on when family members have room for it.
- Sell items on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or local consignment stores.
- Donate items to local organizations that help people recovering from homelessness or disasters.
What about your vehicles?
One of the luxuries of a single-family home is a driveway and garage where you can keep your RV, motorcycle, boat, or snowmobile. If you're moving to an apartment complex or retirement village, you're not likely to have that option. If you're not ready to part with your recreational equipment, consider storing it with SmartStop. We offer all kinds of storage, including household units and car, boat, and RV storage.
|Tip: Stay calm through a move with our 10 Tips to Soothe the Nerves While Moving.
5. Live Your Best Life
Saying goodbye to your graduating and relocating children can be a bittersweet experience. You've done your job well, and they're moving on to live their own lives. The sweet part of it is that you also now have the freedom to live your best life. Whatever your empty nester plans are, we're here to make it easier for you to realize them. So go for it — imagine your best life, and let us help you create the space for living it.