Y’all, my house is really empty and quiet. It’s official. I’m a new empty nester. My strange new empty nest suddenly feels vacuous since the last birdie has launched. And, likewise, I’m feeling a bit scattered and unsettled as well. Change has come, whether I’m ready or not.
(But, it’s 2020 so everything feels weird right now.) I know, that reminder doesn’t help, does it? Working from home these days just seems to make the emptiness echo louder.
This uneasiness in my heart reminds me of the day I dropped my oldest off at preschool for the first time. It was scary handing my baby over to someone else – even for a few hours. There were a few tears in the car when I left. Then it hit me. I realized that I could escape to Target for a couple hours…..alone.
I’ve been caring for babies for 27 years. I’m that old.
And now, there’s a new normal.
It feels different. Unfamiliar. I feel a bit lost. My thoughts drift often to the chilluns and what I should be doing for them. Favorite snack food I should be shopping for. Prescriptions that need to be ordered. Appointments that need to be made. Habits run deep.
Then I remember.
And suddenly the time seems empty and I think about how to fill it. And then, just as quickly, I feel a little guilty filling it with my own desires.
Empty nesting is defined as that unfamiliar time when we get to decide how to focus our time.
Exciting, yes. Scary, absolutely!
I’d love to send you my free printable Empty * Nest – Practical Ways to Embrace the Quiet. Just shoot me your email at the end of this post.
Honestly, the last few weeks, I’ve kind of been avoiding ‘dealing’ with things that need to be done. Kind of skating along, unsure of what to focus on. Struggling to find my footing.
The weather has begun to change, along with the leaves. Seeing the colors change has gently spurred me into action.
Last week we donated the ‘college car’. We’ve had a car for almost 10 years that has been passed down and around to all four of my newer drivers. We bought it used and it has served well above the call of duty. It was driven hard and put away wet (as the southern saying goes). My driveway now looks a little empty.
This was our small start. But it’s a start.
So where do you start to find your footing with your newly empty nest? Well, here’s the five areas that I’ve been working on. They don’t take a lot of time. But decluttering these simple areas seems to be getting me ‘over the hump’ of recreating my empty nest.
Put your garden to bed.
We had a bumper crop of tomatoes this year. Ok. We planted way too many tomato plants. And I have real issues with waste. So I learned how to can. Jars and jars and JARS of tomato sauce, salsa, and spaghetti sauce now line my pantry shelves.
This was a new endeavor for me, as a I am not a pioneer woman. I made mistakes. But, I learned something new.
It’s time to clean out your garden or flower bed and ready it for the fall and winter. This simple act serves multiple purposes. It allows you to focus your mind on a productive task, which is a stress reliever in itself. And, it gets you outside to soak up some vitamin D, along with a little light exercise.
Make your front porch beautiful. Add a pumpkin or two. Maybe a cornstalk. Shop for a new welcome mat. This is a quick ‘redo’ with instant gratification.
Clean out your medicine cabinet.
I don’t know about you, but we have a cabinet in the kitchen that contains all the household meds. Somehow with kids and autoimmune issues and menopause…….there’s a lot of bottles in there.
And, it’s 2020, the year of COVID-19 and we are headed into cold and flu season.
It’s time to clean out old meds, both prescriptions and over-the-counter. Look at the dates on the packaging. Medicines expire after a year or so and don’t work effectively. Find a medicine safe disposal location here.
This year, we NEED to be prepared with effective medicines.
Clean out your refrigerator.
Now that there’s just two of you in your nest, your cooking is going to change.
Another weird transition.
Give your fridge a good cleaning. Pull out everything and check the dates on all your condiments. Odds are, there’s lot of stuff in there that you and your husband just won’t eat. Get rid of it.
Finally, you get to cook for you! I just happen to have a Pinterest board with recipes for 2 people. Check it out here.
Make a fresh start.
Clean out your garage.
Guess what? With a new empty nest, you’ve also got more room in your garage now.
At our house, we usually sweep out the garage in the spring when the weather warms a bit. We sweep out all the gunk from months of snow and gunk. This spring we sat ‘stress paralyzed’ in our homes wondering if COVID was going to come and take us all. Ugh.
Now is the time my friends. Sweep out the garage. Purge garage ‘toys’ if you need to. Take back your space.
Clean out your closet.
Finally, let’s think about you for a minute. For a couple of hours.
My last chick to flee the nest also took with her a lot of ‘my’ clothes. Not a problem here. I get to replace those things with new pieces that I like more.
The last few months in seclusion have also impacted our closets. Our wardrobes have suddenly become….shall we say……different. Our work commutes have shortened to exactly 5 seconds with just enough time to head down the hall and login to a computer. And leggings became infinitely more important.
That being said, let’s take stock of what clothes we need to (or want to) get rid of. You, my mama friend, are becoming a new gal. Full of energy and self confidence. What pieces do you need to pull together a hip new wardrobe? (Yes, this can include leggings.)
Pull out everything from your closet. Examine every item before you put it back and be honest about whether you’d wear it. If if won’t make you feel like the new hip you that you are, toss it or donate it.
I hope these 5 quick tasks will allow you to navigate your new empty nest and envision your new life in the post raising kids era. It’s your time now, Mama! Change is your thing. You’ve raised those babies well, and now it’s your turn to raise yourself a bit. Allow these simple purges spring you into action for bigger projects.
You got this!
Don’t forget to grab my FREE printable called Empty * Nest – Practical Ways to Embrace the Quiet just below. You’ll also get VIP access to the WHOLE Resource Library that’s filled with an ever-growing list of free help and printables for your midlife journey.