Entering a new phase in our lives can be confusing and unsettling. Often, a bold re-organising project at home can give our life and ambitions a new direction.
When the kids move out (and leave their stuff at home)
Some years ago, Mrs Empty Nest was an ‘all-time organiser’: she was running a busy household, managing the family life with three daughters, and also looking after the paperwork of her husband’s small business.
When I met her, her daughters had moved out some time ago and had left behind three empty rooms in their parents’ house.
However, those ‘empty’ rooms actually were the opposite of empty: posters on the walls, overflowing bookshelves, the wardrobes full of teenager clothes, and the floors covered with plastic containers of toys, music boxes and tennis rackets and much other stuff.
Becoming an ‘empty nester’ definitely hadn’t been an enjoyable experience for Mrs Empty Nest – the fact that there no longer was anyone around she had to take care of had turned her life upside down. She felt she no longer had a purpose, or mission, and that her life lacked direction.
Recently, Mrs Empty Nest had become a grandmother, and that, somehow, had opened her mind up to new opportunities. She now accepted the fact that her daughters had moved out, had their own lives and families and never would come back. She had to (and could!) concentrate on her own now.
But what should she do with the stuff in the former kids’ rooms? And how could they, she and her husband, make use of those rooms in future?
We started clearing up the girls’ rooms. Her daughters had decided they didn’t want to take any of the stuff – a very easy solution for them, I found. But it made it easier for us, too, because it made Mrs Empty Nest a bit angry. This, in return, allowed her to make very quick decisions. It took us only one day to create three ‘truly empty nests’.
When I left that evening, Mrs Empty Nest said she would call me as soon as she had made a decision about the future use of the three rooms.
I didn’t hear from her for some weeks. Then Mrs Empty Nest called. She was very excited because she had made a decision – in fact she had made several decisions.
How an ’empty nest’ can make space for new developments
One decision was to use one of the rooms as a guest and play room for her grandchildren. So she would have lots of space for them whenever they came visiting their grandparents during the school holidays.
The other two now empty rooms she would use – for her new little business! A ‘How to sew’ training business!
Mrs Empty Nest had all her life loved sewing. She hadn’t done much sewing during the past 20 years but now she’d started again and she enjoyed creating unique clothes for herself and her friends. And her friends actually had brought up the business idea.
She could start immediately because she had the space now.
It took us only two days to rearrange and add some furniture and to organise her home office and the sewing training room.
Now Mrs Empty Nest has a new mission: Becoming a successful business woman!