Have your kids left for Uni or are leaving soon? Desperate to make the most out of your new found space? Chrissy from Organise My House shares her advice on how to approach a potentially sensitive situation followed by some great ideas on how to change the space.
Autumn. The season where we all go back to normal routines after a long summer (weather optional lol) – and the season that the kids go back to school.
If you have older children they may well be flying the nest and either starting Uni soon, or in a later year of their course.
This means two things – of course it goes without saying that you’ll miss them, but also – you’ll have more space to play with in your home!
With a lot of people struggling to move nowadays due to high home prices, and wanting to make the most of every spare inch of the place they live in – this extra space can come as a blessing
You get to have some more room without having to move house to get it – perfect!
Obviously it may not all be champagne and roses when your child goes – not many of us are happy to see them go completely, and as such it can be quite a controversial topic to look at changing your childs room the moment they go away.
After all –
- Where will they call their space when they come back?
- Will they feel like you’ve kicked them out for good?
- What if they need to come back to live after Uni.
- Where will all their stuff go?
But there are also some great reasons for doing so: -
- You get to sort everything out and not create a room that’s more like a museum devoted to your child, which a lot of people struggle with if left for too long (both kids AND parents)
- You can use the extra space for something useful, rather than leaving the door closed for most of the year. You’re paying for your home so you may as well use as much of it as often as possible.
Wherever you stand on this, I wanted to look at ways to use that room that has been, at least for a few months, left redundant.
They may give you some ideas of what to do with the space, and how you can create the perfect balance of making your child feel at home still, while still being able to use the space in a useful way too.
This is a great way to transition everyone into a new stage of life – and should be seen as exciting rather than daunting.
You with me?...
First things first
It’s always best to sit down and chat to your child about their thoughts on the matter.
They may well be open to you taking over the room, or they may be very reticent at the idea. You don’t know though until you ask them.
If they are happy to let you use the space – at whatever level – then here are my top 4 ways to do so, in ascending order of how big the change would be…
4 Ways to Change the Space
1) USE FOR EXTRA STORAGE
Your child will be taking quite a bit of their stuff to Uni – so now is the perfect time to re-allocate part of their room for other storage for you.
This is a great option if you, like many others, struggle for space in the rest of the home. For example - what about using half of their wardrobe for out of season clothes (that way you won’t have to keep using it all the time should they be back for the holidays).
Change will help your child move out bit by bit (you want them to be independent!), and will help you to gradually see them go – making the transition that much easier.
It simply doesn’t make sense to not use some of that room for something else now – otherwise it’s a wasted opportunity, and there is always a solution that works for both of you.
2) CREATE A MULTI-PURPOSE ROOM
What about keeping it as their bedroom for the main part, but also adding in a place for hobbies or work?
Whether you sew, play music, want a TV room or even a home office space, you can easily move things around a bit to make room for what you need, and it needn’t be a permanent change then.
Simply work out what you need and how to make it as easy as possible to create what you want.
This is often the perfect balance for all concerned, as a lot of parents struggle to find space to do the things they love in their home and children can see that their space won’t change to drastically as a result.
3) CREATE A GUEST ROOM
If you currently don’t have a guest room then this is the easiest way to change the space.
You don’t need to change everything either - simply decluttering a little can create a lovely environment both for guests, and for your child when they visit again.
It’s an easy transition to make, and is the very soft approach to change.
An added benefit of this is that decluttering now will give your child an opportunity to decide what’s really important to them.
- I moved out a few years before my parents moved house, and as such all my stuff that I didn’t take with me ended up in their loft. When they moved out, myself and my two siblings spent ages sorting things out – a mammoth job in a dark space that would have definitely been made easier if we’d done it when we moved out rather than left it for my parents to store!.
– make sure anything that is stored away for their future home is stored well. We lived in the country and stored soft items in plastic bags – suffice to say a small animal had nibbled their way into the bag and everything in it had to be thrown away – it’s no good if you can’t use it when you want to!
4) UPSIZE YOUR OTHER CHILDRENS ROOMS
This is the biggest change of the group, but will make total sense to many families.
If you have younger children they may currently be sharing their room with each other, or in the smaller bedrooms.
Now may be the perfect time to switch them to a room of their own, or to give them the larger room.
After all – they are there full time, and your older child may only be popping back from now on.
Your older child would still have a room of their own (albeit smaller) and the positive here for them would be that they could decorate it and make it completely their own space for when they come home in holidays etc…
Whatever you do with the room, I would suggest that making a few changes is key to everyone moving on a little.
As a last thought
- one thing I want to make sure of is that, no matter what, you always have a bed and a space that they can come back to at any stage. The very last thing you want from all this is to make them feel unwelcome – your child will always of course be welcome to come home – it’s just that you don’t have to keep things exactly as they currently are for this to happen.
I hope that this has given you a few ideas, and inspiration on how to change things.
It’s a new, exciting stage of life – a new chapter for all of you – so embrace it and enjoy!