To Declutter or not to declutter. And when? Always a dilemma when a child flies the nest. At what point does ‘their’ room become ‘your’ room? Do you want to claim the space back for yourself, or perhaps you’re even thinking about downsizing?
When young adults take their first steps towards an independent life by starting university and college courses, and “flying the nest”, parents find themselves dealing with a whole new set of emotions, concerns, lifestyle changes – and practical difficulties.
Do you need to keep room free for when your child visits home?
Did the ‘flight’ leave you with an empty room – or with loads of belongings to take care of until your child has a place of their own? Do you need to use that space for other things – but still need to keep the room available for use in holiday times, such as Christmas, or ‘just in case’ your child should need to return?
Cassie Tillett, a professional declutterer and founder of APDO (the Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers), sees the difficulties that relate to ‘stuff’.
“I’m often asked whether the process of decluttering – or ‘stuff management’ – means throwing lots of things away,” says Cassie. “In fact, while there is a certain amount of disposal involved – we always find some genuine ‘junk’, which is just using up space that could be put to better use – it’s actually far more often about how we use and store the things that we keep.”
Cassie and her network of APDO professionals across the UK specialise in helping people to think clearly about their storage solutions, whether long- or short-term; how best to arrange their house in ways that will suit their life today, without excluding members of the family who may only live there for a few weeks of the year.
Your child is unlikely to have the space for all his belongings at university
“In the case of empty-nesters, it’s even more important to declutter properly, as there will often be genuine reasons for keeping things. Your child at university will almost certainly not have the space for his collection of precious football magazines or the formal clothes that won’t be used in the college bar, but they wouldn’t thank you for throwing these items away as soon as they go off for Freshers’ Week,” says Cassie.
Photo credit: Bill Longshaw