Entering a new phase in life can be confusing and unsettling. A bold home re-organising project can give your life and ambitions a new direction.
When the kids move out (and leave their stuff at home)
In the past, Sue was an ‘all-time organiser’: she ran a busy household, managed the family life (three daughters), and also looked after the paperwork of her husband’s small business.
This phase of her life ended when her daughters moved out after finishing school – and 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 Sue – 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, Sue 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, that they had their own lives and families and would never come back.
She had to (and could!) concentrate on herself and her interests now.
Sue decided she was ready to move on and she booked some coaching sessions with me to help her find out where she wanted to go.
At our first appointment, we took a tour of the house and Sue presented what she thought was her main problem: 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 the future?
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 finally easier for Sue to make bold decisions.
When we were talking about her home-reorganising project, Sue realised that she felt angry about the mess the girls had left for her to take care of, and that this anger intensified her motivation to get things sorted out.
She ordered a skip bin and organised some boxes to collect the stuff she wanted to donate.
We got started and she was able to make a series of quick decisions (she was still angry). It took us only one day to create three ‘truly empty nests’.
When I left that evening, Sue 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 Sue called. She was very excited because she had made some bigger decisions and wanted my help to realise them.
How an ’empty nest’ can make space for new developments
One decision was to use one of the rooms as a guest room for her daughters and as a playroom for her grandchildren. She wanted to have a dedicated place for them, so she would be ready prepared whenever the kids came to visit during the school holidays.
Sue’s second big decision was to use the other two – now also empty – rooms for – her new business! She wanted to open a sewing school in her home, offering sewing classes for beginners.
Sue had loved sewing all her life. 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.
It was not difficult for Sue to make the decision to start her own business. She had the space she needed – two empty rooms in her home. And she had made space in her mind because all the decluttering and rearranging of physical stuff had helped clear up her thoughts about herself and her future as well.
We didn’t need much time to create a detailed action plan for Sue. And it took her only two weeks to organise the two rooms around her business needs. She added some furniture – and 5 sewing machines for her future students! – in the new sewing training room and a desk in her new home office.
She now has all she needs to become a successful business woman – the space and the equipment and the courage, determination, and confidence.
And, as an empty nester, she has the time and energy to make things – her things! – happen.