My daughter, her dog, and about 99% of her stuff left my house yesterday, leaving me with an empty nest (again). I thought the last time she left it was for the last time, but she graciously agreed to move home and house & dog-sit for me while I was in England. The last time she moved out, I didn’t make many changes, but this time I’m already using the freed-up space to create more freed-up space.

Yesterday evening, I cleaned the carpet in the master bedroom, which I had insisted my daughter use (more privacy and quiet for studying) and moved my clothes to that bedroom’s closet. Today, I plan to move — and here’s the key to this entire process — only the items I want to keep permanently and that belong in my bedroom from my old bedroom to the master bedroom.

No more storing scrapbook supplies under the bed; left behind is the stack of Sports Illustrated magazines I’m keeping until my son’s next visit; not making the move is the basket holding my rudimentary first aid kit. If it doesn’t belong in my bedroom on a permanent basis, the item will be left in the now-spare bedroom. So how will that enable me to create an even-emptier nest? Here’s the plan.

As I gear up my preparations for moving to a smaller home, anything I do not love and/or use will go to one of 6 places. Things I plan to donate will immediately go into one of the large bins or bags I’ve placed in the garage for that reason; as soon as a couple of  bins or bags are full, I’ll drop them off at a charity resale shop. Anything I don’t want to keep and know neither of my children want will go directly into the trash bin in the garage.

That leaves the 4 areas I’ve sectioned-off in the spare bedroom. The large walk-in closet will hold all my scrapbooking supplies, photos, and memorabilia, as well as any items I want my son and daughter to have first dibs on. In the bedroom itself, one section will hold items I intend to sell but haven’t yet listed on the neighborhood facebook sell/trade site or on ebay. A second area will hold the items that have been listed but remain unsold, as well as my postal scale and shipping supplies. The last area will be reserved for boxes and bins already packed for the move;  Christmas decorations, stored off-season in large plastic bins in the basement, will go there, for example.

My goal is to remove from each room every single item I don’t want to keep long-term and to empty out the basement; additionally, I want all of the things I want to get rid of to be very visible, very much “in my face”. You see, I know myself pretty well. I don’t like basements and only go in them when 100% absolutely necessary (think tornado sirens blaring). As a result, I can easily forget all about the accumulation of stuff down there. I can’t ignore stuff that’s right under my nose, however, and I hate clutter, so walking past that bedroom (I’m going to leave the door open except if/when I get company) every day and seeing all that stuff will spur me to get rid of it.

I also want the items I’m going to keep, but that I “store” (seasonal decorations), to be very visible. I don’t want to lose sight of how much stuff I have. My hope is that seeing it all, en masse and consuming the space I have available to live in, will provide the impetus I need to purge even more.

Watching empty spaces appear as the movers, my daughter, and I took things out was bittersweet. I’m sure, though, that seeing even more empty space as unwanted and unneeded items leave my home will be liberating.