Starting Fresh: Downsizing when the nest is empty 

Beth Montgomery//April 11, 2023

Starting Fresh: Downsizing when the nest is empty 

Beth Montgomery//April 11, 2023

I recently went through the process of downsizing and moving, and boy was it an adventure! I survived, and I’m here to share my story. 

First things first, downsizing can be tough. I found that my two kids and I had accumulated so much over the years and the decision about what to keep and what to toss felt overwhelming. What helped was to take it one room at a time and start right after I knew I was moving.  

I tackled the easiest room first and worked my way up to the hardest – the closets with all the bins and boxes of childhood memories. I made three piles: keep, donate, and toss. I ended up with a room full of items that I could give away and a room full of stuff I would bring or put into storage.  

Once I sorted and downsized as much as I could, it was time to think about the move itself. Making changes as a new empty nester can be exciting or daunting, depending on your perspective. I decided to embrace the adventure and make it fun. I turned on the music, danced around the house, and packed up my things with a smile. It may seem silly, but a positive attitude can go a long way in making a challenging process enjoyable. 

A typical household has a lot of heavy furniture and I moved in with a friend whose home is fully furnished. As for me, I have almost none. I sleep full-time in a hammock that folds up into a neat little bag. I don’t have dressers and other heavy pieces as I have been migrating to a minimalistic lifestyle for quite some time. As a result, that part of the transition from one place to the next was simple and what ended up in storage were memories and kitchen items. (Special shout out to CubeSmart in Mechanicsburg who had AWESOME customer service and a great deal.) 

When it came to move-in day, I enlisted the help of several friends and made a plan. I got food and coffee as a thank you and off we went. When I say we were done with moving everything in four hours, I’m not lying. It was probably the most efficient move I’ve ever made, and I’ve moved A LOT. (Super special shout out to my friends who helped move and clean.)  

One of the best things about downsizing and moving is that it gives me the opportunity to start fresh. I can redecorate, declutter, and make my new space truly my own. 

I know I’m experiencing the surface level of moving as a new empty nester. There are many emotions that have revealed themselves throughout this process and I plan to share them in future posts.  

But for now, I can confirm that downsizing and moving as a newly empty nesting single parent can be a daunting task, and it can also be an opportunity. If you’re entering a similar phase, I suggest taking it one step at a time, asking for help when you need it, and embracing the process with a positive attitude. This is your chance to start fresh and create a home that truly reflects who you are.