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After the Kids are Grown: Moving Into a Smaller Space

Jon Fesmire | September 4, 2019 @ 8:48 AM

The phrase “empty nest syndrome” exists for good reason. Many parents feel sad and lonely after their children grow up and move away. You may have experienced this.

Over time it gets easier, but your home, meant for you and your children, probably feels pretty empty with just you and your spouse living in it.

Moving into a smaller home may be the solution you need.


If you own your home, will you sell it, or rent it out? If you do plan to sell it, you’ll want to get more for it than you’ll pay for a smaller place. In fact, if you’ve paid off your home and get a good price for it, and are able to buy a cozier place for less, you can completely pay off your new home and set aside the extra money to help with your retirement.

Lower Expenses

Most of the time, moving into a new home will mean lower expenses. There are fewer rooms to heat during the winter and keep cool during the summer. A smaller yard means less water for the lawn. Your rent, or mortgage payments, will probably be lower in a smaller home.

However, it will depend on where you move. If you move nearby, then yes, you’ll probably end up paying less for most things. If your child has moved somewhere more expensive and you want to live near them, you could end up paying more than you do to live in your current home. Make sure to do a budget and be aware of price differences.

More Free Time

The larger a home, the more goes into maintaining it. Perhaps you find yourself dusting your kids’ rooms every few days, doing a lot of yard work, or paying for repairs now and then. With a smaller place, there’s less to dust, less to vacuum, and simply less to do to keep your home clean and comfortable.

We also have a couple of tips for what you’ll need to do when preparing to move into a smaller home.


The amount of things we own seems to grow in proportion to the size of our homes. If you like to be surrounded with a lot of collectibles, your home will reflect that. If you prefer a spartan look, your home will instead reflect that. If you move everything into a smaller home, your new place will feel cluttered to you.

So, when you plan to move to a smaller place, you’ll need to take a serious look at all your belongings and decide what stays and what goes. We’ve written all about the process elsewhere, so read up on our solutions for home clutter, and simplify before you move.

We do have one important thing to add here. Since your planned move has to do with your child or children no longer living at home, you may want to get them involved. Have them take the things they want to keep and together, you can decide what to do with the rest.

Take Advantage of Self Storage

Self storage is a valuable tool for people who need a little extra space, whether for a few months or for years.

You can use a storage unit as an off-season wardrobe closet, or for just a few months to facilitate your move, or you can put some of your children’s things in a unit until they’re able to retrieve them. Just remember to get a climate controlled unit if you live anywhere that the weather gets hot and humid, cold and dry, or both.

Oh yes, and when it comes time to move, get your kids to help. You raised them to be responsible adults able to thrive on their own, after all! And remind them they can visit any time, though they’ll have to sleep on the couch bed.

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