Tired of staring at the space your young adult use to call home? Transform your kid’s empty room for under $100 with these simple tips.
No more silent treatment.
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The first time my son referred to his dorm room as “home”, I thought I would cry buckets. Instead, I took a slow, deep breath (labor once again comes in handy), and told myself he was well-adjusted.
This post is the last in my Downsize and Organize series. Binge-read them all!
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Instead of screaming, “This is your home, not the room that smells like moldy socks and has 25 half-empty Mountain Dew cans scattered like landmines on the floor!!”, I went to a happy place in my mind palace.
Then I reminded myself I was once afraid he would drop out after first semester. At least my fears of my son living in our basement were unfounded.
Although it was difficult, I made the choice to frame his words as a parenting victory instead of as a mothering defeat. My son has since brought the topic up more than once. Just as I dreaded having “the talk” with him, he seemed to walk on eggshells as he discussed his transition to adulthood.
In his most compassionate voice, he explained he knew he’d always be welcome with us, but that he was on his own for good.
Behind the Scenes
If you’ve found yourself walking past their old room with a tear in your eye, I feel your pain. But, instead of moping around and waiting for them to call, it’s time to transform your kid’s empty room into a space that fits your life going forward.
Admit it, you’ve dreamed of leaving your craft supplies spread all over the table or designing an incredible Bat Cave aka home office.
Now’s the time! Sure, you’ll leave a bed set up and some closet space for when your young adult comes home to visit. But you have full permission to transform your kid’s empty room into your own personal sanctuary.
Transform Your Kid’s Empty Room
Start by letting your young adult know what you’re doing. I dreaded this conversation for far too long. By the time I brought it up on winter break, both my kids were eager to part with their rooms full of childhood memorabilia.
Before you get started creating the room of your dreams, have your grown kids come and take any mementos or souvenirs from their former bedrooms.The Spruce
My son requested I warehouse his extensive Lego collection, my daughter wanted her American Girl dolls kept safe. Other than that, they gave me free reign to pitch or save whatever I chose.
After taking a tearful walk down memory lane, I saved just a few of their childhood art pieces and school papers. The rest went in the trash.
In the end, I realized most of these were my precious treasures. My son had no memory of his pudgy preschool hands forming salt clay figurines. My daughter has long forgotten the wintry day we sat at the kitchen table sipping hot chocolate. We talked about school and cut out tiny, paper snowflakes.
Even though sifting through these priceless creations wore me out, the end result was so worthwhile. No longer did I dread our basement storage room or fear opening my children’s closets.
Instead, I felt a sense of pride that I’d tackled a giant project. I had kept only the best items to show my future grand kids. Give yourself a deadline to finish going through kids’ memorabilia, then set up a reward when you finish.
Both of these will motivate you to stick to this intimidating task and reap the benefits once you transform your kid’s empty room.
Not sure how to get started?
Print this list of ideas for a space you can call your own.
Make a Change
Creating the space of your dreams really doesn’t need to cost a fortune. You’ve done the hard part, now it’s time to imagine what would make you happy in this space.
When they are off into their new apartments, after you have sent them off with whatever furniture they can use/ you don’t want/ you think they must have, then it is time to deploy furnishings from one part of home to another. Shop at home and re-merchandise those rooms.Grown and Flown
Do some research online or in stores to determine colors, styles, and accessories that speak to you. Take pictures and measurements and draw up a simple plan for the room.
Next, decide where you really need to invest. If you’re starting a home business, you may need to look for a standing desk. If this room will become your yoga studio, you may decide to splurge on a piece of art for your focal point.
Now it’s time to go shopping-in your own home! Most of us have outdated or banged up furniture pieces that would work perfectly. All they need is a new coat of paint or some updated drawer pulls.
I’m writing from my new office. I’ve repurposed plastic storage shelves to stash my business supplies and my daughter’s bookcases for 3 ring binders.
Because I chose a unifying color scheme and decorated them accordingly, I was able to give these pieces new life. For the price of some paint and a few organizer tubs, my room looks high-end and makes me feel great.
Consider swapping furniture and decor pieces with friends in the same situation. You may be surprised that what you’re ready to donate is just the thing they’ve been looking for.
Check out thrift stores and online market places for deals. Many of my favorite trays and chairs are someone’s cast offs I’ve brought back to life.
Not only will you easy stay in budget with this approach, you’ll be making connections within your community and keeping one or two items out of the landfill.
On The Other Side
Once I stopped thinking of my kid’s empty room as a museum of the past, I was excited to move ahead. Although samples of their childhood are safely tucked away, they’re no longer part of our decor decisions.
For every tearful moment I spent filing through mementos, I’ve had hours of fun decorating my new office. Yes, I miss seeing my kids’ sweet faces each day. But instead of living in the past, I prefer to embrace the future.
Empty Nest Moms have a tough transition, but carving out a place to grow and cultivate your interests will help you take a giant step forward.
Share with us! What kind of new space have you created?