Organizing Blog

The Urge to Purge: Preparing for an Empty Nest


Spring is in the air and with it comes high school graduations.  

If your youngest child is preparing to leave for college, chances are you may be feeling uncertain about the future. This is the only time that being "fired" from your job means you did a great job.  

As the days to my youngest child's graduation approached, I found myself frantically purging everything in my home. My family looked at me as if I had gone crazy as load after load of our "stuff" was piled up on the sidewalk waiting for the donation truck to arrive.  

I suppose that just as a new mother has the urge to nest, a retiring mother has the urge to de-clutter the nest. As I found out, however, frantically purging is a response triggered by stress.

I would strongly suggest that you take your time in purging your empty nest. In my haste, I accidentally donated a diamond bracelet that I had tucked away in some old boots. That was 2 years ago and I still haven't told my husband!  

Instead, try to go through the rooms one by one and carefully decide what you can let go of and what should stay. If you are unsure, hire a Professional Organizer to assist you. Not only can they help you with de-cluttering your home, but they can also recognize when it is stress driven purging. They will help you make the right decisions so there are no regrets afterward.

I would also suggest that you leave your child's room the way it is for ONE year. Going off to college can be very intimidating for our children. They need to feel that they are still a part of the family and they have a safe place to land. Once they have established themselves in their new environment and are feeling confident, let them know that you plan to redo their room into something that is useful to the individuals still in the home. They may not be thrilled with the idea, but chances are if you have given them enough time they will be much more accepting.  

Through this experience, I learned that as the time approaches to say goodbye, it is best to take a deep breath and just be conscious of your feelings. The empty nest is a time to re-invent yourself, so embrace it and enjoy the next chapter of your life.

Organization IN-Sight  

After several days of working with Major Mom, one of our clients said, "Have you ever seen anyone get rid of so much stuff?"

The Major Mom Liberator on the job replied, "You are getting rid of several years worth of stuff all at one time. I have probably gotten rid of as much stuff over the years, it's just been smaller amounts of things that have moved out more often."

How do you avoid the overwhelm of de-cluttering your entire home? Begin by doing a little bit each week and--now, this is key--removing items that you are not keeping (donate, sell, give to friends) as SOON as you can.

Keep a grocery bag or box marked "DONATE" near the door on in the garage and let everyone in your household know it is there. Get to know where the nearest donation center is from your home or office and make a habit of taking items at least once or twice a month.