Almost a year after I was born, my parents bought a new house and sold their old one. Left in limbo for a few months between the official move, my family decided to settle in with my grandmother, Mary.
Mary raised my dad and his two brothers back in the 60’s and 70’s. So, when my parents barged in with a two-year old and a one-year-old forty years later, Mary had to make some major changes to her home. Baby proofing, decorating rooms, mentally preparing herself to be surrounded by four extra people – you name it.
Since I was a baby, I don’t remember much about the experience. But, I do know that this situation is not uncommon among families. Whether it’s right after college or once a baby is born, children move back in with their parents for many reasons. However, this transition can prove difficult.
If you do find yourself welcoming back your children with open arms, you’ll probably have to make a few changes to your home.
Create A Unique Space
Depending on the layout of your home, you may need to rearrange some things to create a bedroom for your grown child. If they are moving in solo, give them a space of their own. The room should feel mature and inviting. If you haven’t redecorated your son or daughter’s room since they were in middle school, now is probably the time.
An issue that my grandmother faced when we moved in was where she would store all of my brother’s and my toys. Luckily, we lived with her during the spring, so outside served as a great storage space. However, timing is not always ideal, so devise a plan with your son or daughter about what items will be used and what items can be packed away.
Avoid Food Fights
When it comes to shared spaces, the kitchen can cause the most controversy. Are you the sole cook? Is your child on his or her own? These questions should be discussed so necessary steps can be taken.
When my family lived with my grandmother 20 years ago, my mother was responsible for cooking for my father, my brother, and I. Cooking separately from my grandmother seemed to work out well for my family, however, every situation is different!
Establish Ground Rules
Establishing ground rules doesn’t involve any physical changes to your home, but it will make your time together as smooth as possible. Before your child moves in, remind him or her how you operate your household. Whether it’s been five years or 15 years since they’ve lived under your roof, your way of living has changed. Remember that you are already sacrificing your personal space for the sake of your children, you don’t need to sacrifice your sanity too.
Also, don’t forget that your children are no longer children anymore. Treat them like their age, not like you are still raising them.
Pick a Parking Spot
Depending on where you live, both you and your child may own cars. Subsequently, you may find yourself in a battle on the driveway over who parks where. Both parties should be aware of each other’s schedules to avoid park-ins, conflicts, or any other issues.
For the past two summers, my family has dealt with four cars in our driveway. The garage was reserved for my parents’ cars and the right side of the driveway was designated for my brother and I. The pavement was packed, but our system made dilemmas avoidable.
Welcoming your child back into your home offers a wonderful opportunity to reconnect and spend time together. However, don’t be afraid to set boundaries and ask for privacy – they are necessary for a healthy life.
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Step Two: Sell
Once your items are sorted, revisit the “throw away” pile and determine which items should be donated and which should be sold. When making the decision, monetary value will come back into play. You can bring items to a pawn shop or pursue online selling sites, such as Craigslist or Ebay, to see how much your items are worth.
Several different apps exist to make the sell step a lot easier. Try LetGo—an app similar to Craigslist that allows you to buy and sell locally. Simply download the app, create an account, take a picture of your item, upload your sale, and wait for the item to sell. LetGo customers can buy and sell electronics, furniture, home decor, cars, and more.
If you have items that aren’t worth much money but are still in good condition, consider donating them to a local shelter or another charity. Keeping in mind that not all charities are created equal, you might want to consider using Charity Watch to help you determine the best place to donate your items. Charity Watch is an independent watchdog organization that researches and evaluates the efficiency, accountability, and governance of nonprofit organizations. Each organization is given a letter grade based on a robust set of criteria.
Step Three: Store
Once you have said goodbye to some of your things, the next task on your list is to begin storing everything you decided to keep. Everything should be placed with purpose. Whether you find a place in your home to display some of your long-lost items or you decide to tuck them away in storage somewhere, keep everything organized.
Consider renting a storage unit or ask your children and family if they would like any of your items. You will free up space while also keeping precious pieces in the family. When packing things up, put similar items together. Label every box and take inventory of the things you kept so that when you are searching for something in the future, you will know exactly where to look.
You can make the most of your old family photographs by transferring them onto your computer using a printer with scanning capabilities. Refer to your printer’s manufacturing instructions for exact instructions on how your machine scans. For the future, start working on a digital scrapbook! You can avoid the clutter of printed photographs while also keeping your memories easily accessible.
Downsizing will allow you to rediscover hidden memories and free yourself of items you have no attachment to.
Need some help setting up the LetGo app? Or maybe with selecting which charity to donate your items? Ask a Pup! We’d be happy to help!
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