empty nestYour last child has left home, and as you look around, you’re a bit sad all your ducklings have waddled away from the pond. While being an empty-nester can take some getting used to, there are also plenty of benefits to getting the house back to yourself. The following reminders and tips can take the sting out of this new stage of life:

Redecorate Your Home

For the past 18-plus years, home redecoration focused mostly on the kids. Now you can reclaim the entire house and do some serious remodeling. Maybe it’s time to convert one of their bedrooms into the space you’ve always wanted. These ideas can help transform your empty nest into a relaxing getaway right at home:

Keep Your House Clean for More Than 5 Minutes

Once the kids have moved out, you will probably find yourself contending with far fewer mystery spills. Dirty dishes will not be left all over the home, you won’t find milk-stained glasses under the bed and wet bathroom towels will actually stay on the towel bar. After years of playing zone defense against the variety of messes that are an inherent part of having kids at home, take a few deep breaths and enjoy what it feels like to have a clean home.

De-Clutter in Peace

Once the kids have all moved out, you will finally have the opportunity to do what you have been trying to accomplish for years: some serious de-cluttering. Go room by room or closet by closet, and consider donating the old clothing that nobody wears anymore, books that have not been read in years and some or all of the kids’ sports equipment.

Consider Downsizing

You bought your home with the kids’ needs in mind. Now that they have left home, you may have realized you don’t really need 2,300 square feet of living space. Many baby boomers are happily taking this opportunity to sell their homes and downsize into something more manageable. Selling your home can also provide you with much-needed equity, which you can use during your retirement years. This extra money can provide baby boomers with priceless peace of mind; as the 2013 Retirement Confidence Survey conducted by the Employee Benefits Research Institute notes, only 17 percent of people past the age of 55 said they are confident that they will have enough money to tide them over during retirement. Moving to a smaller place usually means spending less on the mortgage, utilities and taxes, too.