As children grow up and leave the nest, parents are often left with a mix of emotions. While they may feel proud of their children for branching out and starting their own lives, they may also feel a sense of loss and loneliness. This can be a difficult time, but it can also be an opportunity for empty nesters to explore new interests and make changes to their living situation.

Here are some tips for empty nesters on how to manage the transition when kids leave their homes, how to use their space, and considering downsizing:

  1. Acknowledge and embrace your feelings: It’s normal to feel a mix of emotions when your children leave home. Take time to acknowledge and embrace these feelings, and don’t be afraid to talk to your partner, family, or friends about how you’re feeling.

  1. Minimize and declutter: As you re-evaluate your living space, take the opportunity to purge and organize your belongings. This can be a cathartic experience and will make it easier to keep your home tidy and organized. Organizing a garage sale can be a great way to make some extra cash and clear out space in your home. If you need help getting started, I can provide you with A Guide for planning a successful garage sale to ensure your sale is a success. Just reach out to me for more information.

  1. Explore new interests: With more free time on your hands, you can explore new interests or hobbies. Sign up for a class, join a club, or take up a new sport or activity. What are the things you didn’t have time for while you were investing time in your children/family? Let this season be the time to explore that list and fill your cup. It is never too late to start a passion project. 

Here are some practical suggestions to help you explore new interests or hobbies:


  • Take a Cooking Class

  • Join a Book Club

  • Learn a New Language

  • Join a Fitness Class

  • Take Up Golf: 

  • Join a Photography Club 

  1. Connect with your partner: Now that your children have moved out, you may find that you have more time to connect with your partner. Plan date nights, take a trip together, or simply enjoy each other’s company. 

Here are some suggestions to rekindle the fire:

Take a Romantic Stroll: 

  • Plan a Day Trip

  • Attend a Concert

  • Book a Spa Day

  • Take a Cooking Class

  • Plan a Staycation

These activities are just the beginning! Take some time to research what’s available in your area and find activities that you both enjoy. Whether it’s planning a romantic weekend getaway or simply enjoying a meal at a new restaurant, making time for each other is key. Start exploring today and create lasting memories with your partner!”

  1. Stay connected with your children: Just because your children have left home doesn’t mean you can’t stay connected with them. Make an effort to stay in touch through phone calls, texts, or video chats.

Here are some specific ways to stay connected with your children in New Jersey as an empty nester:

  • Host a Family Reunion

  • Attend Sporting Events Together

  • Plan a Weekend Getaway

  • Join a Family Fitness Class

  • Share a Hobby

  • Attend Cultural Events

  • Share Recipes

These are just a few examples of how you can stay connected with your children as an empty nester. Keep in mind that it’s important to communicate regularly through phone calls, texts, or video chats as well. Find activities and experiences that your family can enjoy together to strengthen your relationships.

  1. Create a welcoming space for visitors: With more space and free time, you may find that friends and family members want to visit more often. Create a welcoming space for visitors, whether that means setting up a guest room or simply making sure you have plenty of comfortable seating.

  1. Giving back to the community: is a great way for empty nesters to stay engaged and keep their skills sharp. Volunteering with a nonprofit organization or serving on a board can provide opportunities to learn new skills, meet new people, and make a positive impact in the community.

Here are some suggestions on giving back:

  • Join a Local Environmental Group

  • Serve on a Nonprofit Board

  • Tutor or Mentor Youth

  • Join a Disaster Relief Team

  1. Re-evaluate your living space: Now that your children have moved out, you may find that you have more space than you need or may want to transition to a place with less maintenance and property taxes.. Consider downsizing to a smaller home or converting a bedroom into a guest room or home office.

The transition to empty nest life can be difficult, but it can also be an opportunity for growth and change. By acknowledging your feelings, re-evaluating your living space, and exploring new interests, you can create a fulfilling and enjoyable life as an empty nester.

If you’re an empty nester looking to make the most of this new chapter in your life, start by taking action today using the suggestions shared in this blog.

If you found this blog helpful, feel free to share with a fellow empty nester.

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.