| Bargain Outlet
Expert Contributor

You’ve waited a long time to enjoy a kid-free zone in your home. Now that the empty nest has arrived, you might be wondering which home improvement project to tackle first.

Change is in the air. When it comes time to watch kids leaving for college, you may feel like shaking things up a bit. Now is not the time to act hastily. Take a breath. Just because your kids are moving on does not mean you have to make any big changes – yet, anyway. There are few things you need to consider first.


Will Your Child Be Returning Home for Breaks and Vacations?

Sending a child off to college feels like you are saying goodbye, but in reality you are only saying “so long” for a few months. Unless your child has rented an apartment and plans to stay away during school breaks and holidays, they are still going to need a place to call home. As you wave goodbye from the driveway, it may feel like the perfect time to turn your child’s space into a sanctuary for yourself, but hold on. Keep it as-is until your college student is truly on his own.


What Renovations Are You Most Looking Forward To?

Just because your child’s bedroom is off limits (for right now) doesn’t mean the rest of the house needs to remain the same. Think about the projects you have been dreaming about. Maybe your basement has been a designated kid space in the past. Youngsters used it to hold their toys, while teenagers used it as the neighborhood hangout space. If the kids are gone, why not consider turning that space into an adult place to call your own? This is the perfect time to design the craft room of your dreams, a bar area you wouldn’t have dreamed of having with kids in the house, or even an in-law suite for guests.

Make a list of all the spaces you would like to upgrade and/or renovate before you choose your first project.


What’s Your Budget Look Like?

It can be hard to reign in your expectations when you are finally free to do whatever you want with your home without worrying how it will impact your kids. But wait! You have college bills rolling in and retirement around the corner. Now is not the time to become a spendthrift. A better approach is to take a realistic look at your finances and set a budget for each individual project. That way, you know when to splurge on the fancy accessory and when to make more responsible choices.


How Much Change Are You Really Ready For?

Finally digging into those home improvement projects can send some homeowners off the deep end. Before you know it, your house looks like someone else lives there. Experiencing an empty nest for the first time can be very freeing – but it can also be a bit frightening. Before gutting your house and turning it into a place that doesn’t feel like home, consider how much change you can handle right now. Choose your projects carefully to ensure that you are making the wisest remodeling choices – ones led by your wants, not your emotions.


Where Should Your Start?

Picking the first remodeling project after your kids leave can be tricky. You want to balance your new life as empty nesters with your family’s overall needs. Consider what you want your future to look like (and then consider things like if you expect your kids or grandkids to visit regularly), and design a space that fits everyone’s needs and desires.

For some people, that may mean revamping the entire floor plan of their house. For others, it may simply mean converting a child’s bedroom into a guest space. Still others may opt to tear down the swing set and basketball court in the backyard to create an adult sanctuary.

When it comes to renovating your home – and your life – when the kids leave for college, the choice really is up to you. But plan carefully. With so many options available, you will want to take your time to make every home improvement exactly what you have always dreamed of. Your house is truly yours again — enjoy it!


Maurcia H. is a seasoned writer with 20-plus years of publishing experience which includes 10 traditional print books, three book collaborations; more than 100 ghostwritten books. Specializing in both how-to pieces as well as industry oriented articles, Maurcia has written press releases, blog posts and articles for a variety of construction companies.