Downsizing Tips For Empty Nesters

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Kids out of the house? Look no further than these downsizing tips for empty nesters!

It actually happened! Your child has grown up and moved out. Where did the time go?! I think that's a question that all parents have been and will continue to ask. :)

But I can tell you where the space disappeared when your child entered the world. And now, after all of these years, you can start reclaiming it. Hooray!

Here are 3 things you can get rid of once your kids move out of the house. Happy decluttering and enjoy these downsizing tips!

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Downsizing Tips: 3 Things Empty Nesters
Can Declutter After Kids

1. Paper

School work, artistic masterpieces, correspondence from teachers, flyers from past events and on and on and on. The amount of paper that comes in related to your child is overwhelming, to say the least.

BUT, now your little munchkin isn't so little anymore and has moved out. !!!!

It's time to start going through all of that paper you've been holding on to that relates to your child and decluttering it. You have my permission to let it go, so let's get to it.

Here are 3 types of paper you can start with:

Art & School Work

This refers to any work your child did related to school including graded assignments, homework, projects, practice sheets, tests and art. Go through it and keep only the best stuff.

If you're unsure about something, make a "maybe" pile to go through at the end. Then you'll be able to see that you have multiple copies of a 3rd grade math test that your child aced and only need to hold on to one.

Then, if you want to take it one step further, get one of these portfolios (or two) and organize your child's memorabilia into it. This way the items you decided to keep stay protected and can also be easily flipped through as a fun trip down memory lane. :)


This is all of that other paper that came home in your kid's backpack including things like flyers of past events, book catalogs, forms, announcements and so on. Since all of it is probably outdated, expired, past, etc, it's a lot easier to let go of it (which is awesome). Go with it and recycle, recycle, recycle.

Medical Papers

Keep the papers that show the medical history of your child and would be useful for future reference. No need to hold on to things like past appointment reminders, completed and paid insurance claims, prescription drug information sheets, etc.

2. Toys & Books

Start with the obvious stuff and let go of anything that is broken, ripped, torn, stained, and/or not usable in any way. Then you can tackle the stuff that has been outgrown. If it has sentimental value or you'd like to pass it on to your future grandchildren, keep it for later but do this with an editing eye and only keep the absolute favorite and/or timeless items.

If there are things you are just unsure about, create a "maybe" box and put them inside. Put a reminder on your calendar to look through this box in 6 months, and revisit your decision to keep the items.

3. Kid Spaces

This depends on your situation.

Did your child JUST leave for college? If so, then it's probably too early to think about using their room in a different way. However, what about the other spaces in the house their stuff occupies? Kitchen cabinets? Entryway closet? Family room? Perhaps, their belongings can be sorted through and stored only in their room since they are no longer living in the house for the majority of the year.

On the other hand, if you've already done that and your child is definitely not moving back in, then what could their room be now? An office? A guest room? An exercise space? A craft/hobby room? A meditation area? It's up to you! Have fun with it. :)

There you have it! Decluttering those 3 types of things once the kids have moved out will free up a ton of space. I hope these downsizing tips are helpful to you in your status as an empty nester, and if you have any downsizing tips to add please leave me a comment below. Also, has a useful 10-step infographic for moving into a smaller house. Check it out and enjoy!

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