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Ideas for Empty Nesters: How to Use Your Extra Space and Time

When your children leave home, it is easy to fall into the loneliness of empty nest syndrome. But there’s no reason that a child’s now-empty room and your now-unoccupied time have to signal an ending. Instead, turn your newfound space and time into a brand-new beginning. Here are 11 ideas for empty nesters to get you started.

after the kids move out graphic

What to Do With the Extra Room

craft room

Create a craft room.

Set up a Craft or Hobby Room

Chances are your hobbies took a backseat to parenting duties while the kids were still in the house. Now you have more time to spend on your favorite pastimes. Turn your child’s old bedroom into a craft or hobby room to have a dedicated space for your labor of love.

Decorate a Luxurious Guest Room

Whether your kid will be coming home to visit or you have out-of-town guests stopping in, a guest room is sure to come in handy. Use that spare room to create a welcoming space for visitors. Upgrade the bedding and window treatments to create a more relaxing environment fit for grown-ups.

Build Your Dream Library

When you had children in the house, you probably did not have room for a huge collection of reading material. Now that you have an empty room, why not turn it into your dream library? Purchase some bookshelves and a comfortable lounge chair to create a peaceful reading room.

Create a Fitness Room

Exercising is a perfect way to spend the free time you may have once your kids have moved out. Turn that extra space into a yoga studio or exercise room, and get a great workout at home. You can even purchase special flooring that will decrease the damage done to both your joints and your home’s floors.

Stock up a Man Cave

Have you always wanted a room to watch the game in peace? Now’s the time to make that dream a reality. Turn a spare room into a man cave with some comfortable seating, a big screen TV, and a mini-fridge or bar.


What to Do With Your Extra Time

historic church

Travel the world.

Travel the World

Once your kids are out of the house, you are likely to have more time and fewer expenses. Save up some of that money and hit the road! Now you can travel to all those places you wanted to visit when you were younger. Need some ideas? Check out’s guide to 10 top retirement travel destinations.

Adopt a Pet

Do you need something to dote on now that your children are out on their own? Why not focus that attention on a new pet! Adopt a furry (or scaly or feathered) friend to keep you company around the house. If you later downsize and move into a retirement community, you’ll be glad to know that most senior housing is pet-friendly.

Start a Business

Turn your extra time into extra cash by starting a small business. Whether you do landscaping, crochet afghans, or help people with their taxes, you can earn some extra money by putting your skills to good use. Here are just a few gig-economy jobs that can offer some retirement cash.

Join a League or Club

Making friends as an adult can be tricky, but it is much easier when you know you have something in common. Join a local league or club to find other people who have similar interests.


Using your extra time to help others is incredibly rewarding. Now that you have some spare time, you can use it to volunteer in your community. It will be just as beneficial to you as it is for others.

Go Back to School

Now that your kids are off to school, maybe you should head back, too! That does not have to mean going back to college as a senior, although it can. In many states, adults as young as 55 can get free or reduced tuition. Even outside of a college, however, now can be the time to learn a new language, master a new skill, or learn to play an instrument.

By refocusing yourself on all the possibilities your “empty nest” has in store, you will start to be excited about this new chapter in your life. So get out there and enjoy your new freedom!

Related articles for empty nesters and downsizers:

How to Get a Grown Child to Move Out

When Is It Time to Downsize Your Home?

Downsizing Tips: 10 Steps to a Smaller Home

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    About :

    I’m Jessica Hill, the slightly-unbalanced blogger of Mad in Crafts. I used to spend my days teaching Shakespeare and Longfellow to high school students, trying desperately to make the classics modern for my students… or at least to keep them awake for the 45 minute class period. Now, I teach readers how to combine classic style with modern trends in decorating, DIY, cooking, writing, and more! And hopefully you stay awake in the meantime!

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