You put in the time, you put in the love, and now your son or daughter is off to take on college. This day was inevitable, but empty nest syndrome isn’t mandatory! A large majority of college parents report not experiencing the standard back-to-school pains. No matter if you’re working or retired, this life transition gives parents the opportunity to pursue a number of projects, some they may have been putting off for years. Those projects can keep your hands and mind busy – the perfect way to start the season.

This fall, roll up your sleeves and try your hand at any one of these:

  1. The classic bedroom upgrade: If you’re willing and able to change up your kid’s room, carefully consider form and function. Do you want it to be a space for relaxation, like a meditation room or a reading room? Or better for something more involved, like a game room or a home gym? Recreating the area into something suited to your hobbies and/or personal goals is a productive way to go. Pinterest is a good place to get initial ideas.
  2. Make your home cost-effective: Let’s face it, your kids were never good at turning off the lights and taking short showers. Now that they’re at school, you could make some serious investments in energy efficiency. One place to start would be switching out your basic bulbs for LED lighting, nabbing ENERGY STAR® appliances to save hundreds per year in energy costs, and even setting up systems to collect rainwater. Who knew you could get creative with practicing sustainability?
  3. Create the ultimate backyard gathering place: Be the host with the most! With summer weather still going strong, you may be having more people over now that the nest is empty. Head to the furniture store for some patio or deck furniture. If you’ve got a green thumb, gardening and landscaping projects can completely transform the space – pro tip: sunflowers and marigolds are still in season! And, if all else fails (i.e., you don’t feel like putting in that much work), there’s always cornhole.

Really, you’re only limited by your creativity when it comes to empty nest projects. It may be a challenging time to go through, but making your home feel even more like home is a smart way to approach it.

If you have younger children still under your roof, you can help them get ready for the school year, too!

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