How Long Should You Wait When Your Children Move Out, To Convert Their Rooms?

Susan - posted on 08/14/2009 ( 52 moms have responded )

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My husband and I are awaiting our last child to depart for the Air Force; our daughter will be starting her senior year in college this fall. How long should we wait before converting their rooms into office space, etc?

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Annette - posted on 08/17/2009

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I waited until the end of our daughter's freshman year at college. Once I found out that she was serious about renting an apartment in the city, I started clearing out her old room, repainted and moved her youngest brother into her old room and then changed the boys' old bedroom into an office. It was done by the end of May. Our daughter was a little sad to see her room go, but understood that she would no longer be needing that room. All of our children know that if they need to move home for a SHORT while to get back on their feet that they can. But there is not a room set aside for that purpose. It is to easy for them to use that as a fall back plan.

Ail - posted on 09/14/2012

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I'm cracking up! You gals are a trip! My kids are 14 and 12, so I'm just enjoying the responses for the future, but I think you should plan for them to visit (if you still want a relationship after those teen years!) I would definitely tell them your plan, so they can get organized and take or separate items they will want handy. If you need the space, I would keep the bed or fold out couch in the room, and re-purpose the rest of the room as soon as you want. Box up all their things and store neatly in a closet, etc. until they have a "permanent" home.

Karen - posted on 09/07/2012

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Boy, it really depends on the family. My son's younger sibling was very excited to get the new room, and we went ahead pretty quickly after he moved out for college to move the younger sibling in, and move the older son's stuff in to the much smaller younger sibling's room, but without telling him. The son that moved out is heartbroken, and feels that the room he grew up in and went through so much in was taken and given away without a thought. Now we are stuck with a no-win situation. Can't really move the younger sibling back to his old room (or can we?), so either way someone will feel very slighted. Should have waited longer, and consulted older sibling. I caved to my husband and younger child's excitement. I recommend taking your time and talking to the kid. Tell them that home is family, not the room. Good luck to all.

Kathy - posted on 09/03/2009

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OMG ..... Ask them what their plans are, if they are coming back, if they will need their room or the space, then tell them what you would like to do.
I think if I was a child/adult and I cam home for Christmas or some other holiday and went to throw my stuff in my room and there was no longer a bed but a desk I would die, I would feel like I didn't belong any there any more.
I know that this has happened to a friend of mine and her daughter was devestated, me personally, my room stayed my room till my parents died and we sold the house.
Have the conversation with your kids.

Beth Ann - posted on 08/17/2009

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What we did with our older children is that we talked to them about our plans for their rooms. But we let them know that there was always space for them when they visit. That way they know that we are supportive of their move, but they always have a home to come to....

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♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 06/10/2014

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LOL...I waited...1 week. The kids know that when they leave, we are reclaiming the space. They will always be welcome, but if one moves out and then wants to move back, he'll share my sewing room with me...

Susan - posted on 06/10/2014

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I want to leave my daughters room HER room for at least 6-12 months. I want to make sure that her recent move is firmly in place before I convert her room. I don't want her to feel like I just changed things so fast when she is already dealing with alot of change with her recent move. I want her to have something familiar to come home to. I currently like with my partner who disagrees. I don't know why? Our son has a bedroom. His daughter who comes every other week has her own room. I am completely frustrated because HELLO - this is my house. A home I bought a few years before he moved in with us. He does pay half of the expenses and I respect his opinion. I do. BUT - I was completely frustrated today when I came home from work and his daughter was sleeping in my daughters bed / in my daughters room. Its been 2 days since my daughter moved out. GIVE ME SOME TIME TO GRIEVE! Please...His daughter has no boundries and is certainly not thinking of where my head is at the moment. I was a single Mother with my daughter for many many years. This was the first sense of home. The first place where we could paint the walls any color she wanted. This home is her safe place (across the street from my parents even)...Am I being too emotional? Or unreasonable about leaving this space hers??? We have plenty of space otherwise in the home. This space doesn't have to be used. Geeze.

Maggie - posted on 10/02/2013

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You don't say how old the Air Force kid is. If he is going right after high school, he will already be reeling from all the changes and he will be so looking forward to HOME (you know that place where he is loved) and a home cooked meal you can't imagine. Don't change that room until he's been in a few years. He will really need you a lot, a lot, a lot. My son is in the Navy. He was so excited to come home to the comfort of his old room and things.

You can change your daughter's room, maybe - if she lands a job then she will be on her own. If she doesn't and she might not, then where will she stay, how will she be able to rent an apartment without a good income.

Anice - posted on 09/30/2013

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Do you not want them to visit? My sons both live away in Student accommodation, and though when the younger left a year ago, we reshuffled things about so that they now have a shared room, they still HAVE a room.

Sabrina - posted on 09/18/2013

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My 17 year old has been gone 4 month I am planning to turn the room into a closet for my extra clothing I plan to put a step climber with a new tv on the wall I will plan to buy a pull out ,

Mardi - posted on 05/16/2012

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The last couple of years my oldest was home, we had her buying things for her room to take with her when she moved out....so her room was pretty much empty after she left.

That became the office (moved from an open space off the lounge), my spare guest room was where she stayed if she came out to visit for a weekend etc.

We are doing similar with son, child number 2, but as he lived as his fathers the last 3yrs, we are well and truly behind in the furniture department/savings etc, but as son wants to travel overseas for a while, less attention is being paid on furniture and more on the savings side of things.

The youngest has just started her moving out plans,.....her new bed will be the one she takes when she leaves home in 2.5yrs, and her savings will be started once she turns 16.

At the moment, theres a chance we will move house once son moves out at the end of the year, and as he has only been back for a year and knew it would only be a tempory stay, he doesn't expect a room kept for him.

If your worried, you could always put a sofa bed into the office for if they want to come for a visit.....

Susan - posted on 09/09/2009

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WOW! so many good suggestions and yes I have decided to leave my daughters room as her own for now, because she may move back, found a job, save money and than move out; my son on the other hand will be getting shifted to the basement for future visits after he gets assigned to his duty station.

Again thanks everyone your input was well received, thought provoking, and encouraging you're a great bunch.

Karen - posted on 09/08/2009

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I have both a child in the Military and a child in college. The child in the Military has left the nest and is self supporting. Do not convert until after Boot Camp and training schools are through and he is assigned to his first real duty station. Any conversion should include accomadations for his return visits. I would suggest converting to a guest room rather than an office. The college student is still a dependent of the household. Until she is completely out on her own, graduated with a job and own apartment, her room is still home. Do not get rid of any of their stuff that they leave. Store it in the attic/basement/garage. They will want to share those "treasures" with their own children some day. When they have their own homes, they can move the storage from your attic to theirs. I lost a lot of "treasures" when I got married and my parents "cleaned house" without notice.

Renee - posted on 09/06/2009

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We told our youngest that when her brother went off to college she could have his room because it was bigger than hers... We changed it two weeks after he left. His stuff is just being switched to her old room, we are even painting it the same color as he had before. He will have still have his own space when he gets home for break, but just in the smaller bedroom.

Laurie - posted on 09/06/2009

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I waited 3 weeks. I couldn't stand the color of his room, and he moved 2 states away. I made sure he knew about it and he was okay with it. But yeah, I didn't wait long. LOL Good luck!!!

Bess - posted on 09/01/2009

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Try making it an office with a day bed that way if they need a place to crash they will still have it. We have 4 kids and as each went to college others moved up the line into bigger beds and bigger rooms. Now we have a game room and each remaining kid has their own bedroom. Has worked out great. When the others come back to visit the camp out in their brothers room and stay up all night playing in the game room! Worked good for us. Will see what happens though when we (the parents) move out of state next year...

Susan - posted on 09/01/2009

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Honestly? I personally would do it the second they step off your doorstep! Of course you're talking to a mom of 2 adult kids that left home and then moved back home....I am most probably not the best one to hear from. I really don't know what the answer is but just wanted to wish you luck in whatever direction you go. I'm thinking that if you immediately convert their rooms it'll send the message that you expect them to make it on their own, maybe I should've done the same. Keep us posted.

Susan

Shelly - posted on 08/31/2009

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How far do they live from home, and how often do they come home? I have 4 grown children that live away from home, and 3 children at home still. Only 1 son in college right now and he will be a senior this year. I always kept a room for him, until this summer when we separated the girls into their own rooms. My son is not that far away (3 hours) but when he comes home now, he can sleep on a futon in his 15 yr old brother's room. The problem we are having is storing his "lifelong" things that he does not need at college, but yet wants to keep for some day when he gets his own house. :)

[deleted account]

I think that if your children has always been made to feel they are a major aspect of your life there is no time limit. They will know you love them. My son moved out last year. I think he finds it comforting that me and his father are ok. That we expect him to move foward as a man with his own life. We will always be a part of his life. I miss him, but if I want to talk to him or see him - I do. It doesn't mean the end -its a great new beginning for everyone.

Susan - posted on 08/29/2009

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Why not just convert one until they are settled, you can always convert the other one at a later date.

Regards Sue

Pamela - posted on 08/27/2009

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Make one into an office and one a guest bedroom. That way if one does return home, they will have a room. Life works in mysterious ways though. The minute you transform a room into an office, they will be calling to come back home, lol Good luck dear =)

Pat - posted on 08/27/2009

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Things never change as they age, comunication is key with your children. My youngest is leaving in 2 weeks and has an off campus unfurnished apartment 3 1/2 hours from home so he has to take his furnatiure. The college he chose is 20 minutes from other family memebers he is very close to, so that will help a bunch. Plans to attend church with his Uncle & cousins, which is also our pastors old church. And he plans to come home once a month. He has alwys stuck close to his family (and life long friends) so it will be an adjustment to be "away from the family" , his words. He let us know real quick that he needed a bed in his "old room " to sleep in and will leave a few clothes so he does't have to pack a bag! LOL. So with this one we will move very slowly to make any changes. So I plan on painting our old day bed in storage for the room & take cues from him. Now when our our oldest left for college that was a different story, I'll save that for anouther day!

Crystal - posted on 08/20/2009

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It all depends on the child. My first one took everything, furniture etc.. with to her new apt at college so I converted it right away to an office with a futon just incase...My 2nd one leaves for college tommorow, I will be stripping her room tommorow night and making it into a nicer bedroom for her....guest room. She is okay with it and knows she always has her room and a place to call home.

VIVIAN - posted on 08/20/2009

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NOW THE ONE GOING INTO THE AIR FORCE THEIR ROOM CAN BE CONVERTED IMMEDIATELY BUT THE COLLEGE STUDENT WILL BE BACK AND FORTH AND YOU WILL HAVE A FIT IF YOU CHANGE IT FOR THE BETTER AND HAVE TO CLEAN IT EVERYTIME SHE COMES HOME. SO FOR HER I WOULD SAY JUST WAIT

Deborah - posted on 08/20/2009

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My son is leaving for the Air Force as well, he joined the Reserves and is leaving in November for "Boot Camp" at Lackland in San Antonio. I'm glad you asked this question. I am wondering the same thing. Although his 16 yr. old brother wants to take over his room, I'm thinking I would like to turn into a scrapbooking room. If I had two rooms, I would probably convert one, and leave the other as a guest room. is this a possibility? Good Luck.

[deleted account]

I converted my son's room to an office/den about 2 months after he left. He came back home about 7 months later, and it's back to a bedroom again. You may want to wait a year. Ha!

Betsy - posted on 08/19/2009

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I find it really funny that people say "As soon as possible, they move back!". That's exactly what happened to me! But, I had already converted the room to a guest room!
I felt terrible, because she hesitated coming home, even though it was the right decision. She felt like we wanted her out ASAP, which really wasn't true. I didn't want her to go at all!
Although, your son is going to have his own place guaranteed and the daughter is almost done with school, personally, I'm going to wait this time until she is out of school and on her own.

Isabelle - posted on 08/19/2009

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i have one that went to the service when i had two still at home so i did chang it right a way(after mourning his departing lol) but i have one his second year of college and i wont do his until he settles into his own apartment and tells me he wont return home which the way he talks will be next summer

[deleted account]

My son is in his 3rd year of varsity and I basically told him that the day he finishes varsity, he has 6 months to get a job and move out. The minute his last furniture has moved out of his room is the same minute that I convert his bedroom. I told both my that the day they move out, there is no moving back in - then it's my time. Kids need to learn to stand on their own 2 feet. My daughter moved out at 18 and is now married with a little one of her own. We still help them where we can and they live just around the corner, so we're always close by if they need us. It's not as bad as it seems. It takes a bit of getting used to, but once you've got over the initial "empty nest syndrome", that's when you really start to enjoy your life. It doesn't mean that you stop loving them, it just means that you're letting go and letting them live their lives

[deleted account]

Yikes.......I don't agree with your husband. :0) All of our children know they can move back home whenever they feel the need. Surviving life is currently very difficult. I believe families need to adjust their comfort zones to meet the need of their family. What was normal as far as kids being out on their own is no longer the norm.

[deleted account]

I can relate to your dilemma. My son has moved out and back in several time, but was still within the same town. He has recently moved out of state, but still doesn't have a job. We want all of our children to know they are always welcome to move back home, but it would be nice to have the freedom to change the room to reflect our own personalities! I welcome comments.

Judy - posted on 08/18/2009

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I am having that same dilemma. I believe we should do it once they have their own apartment. My husband feels differently.

Susan - posted on 08/17/2009

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All of your responses are good advice and some very funny...I let my husband know about the topic and he said the rooms should change the moment they accept their high school diploma...NO!!! too soon from moms' perspective...

Vivian - posted on 08/17/2009

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We waited a week, but that was only because I had to get finished with the school semester and he had to take vacation. So I say make the changes soon. If they need to come back, they are now in your space and it gives them incentive to hurry and get back on their feet to get out again.

ANISSA - posted on 08/17/2009

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IMMEDIATLEY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DO NOT WAIT ANYLONGER

Shonna - posted on 08/17/2009

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Well I made the mistake of doing that a little too soon it was only a couple months and she moved back home and she's still here. So I guess maybe 6 months to a year.

Dawn - posted on 08/17/2009

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We have redecorated, but not really repurposed. For me, I will be waiting until they either get married, or until they live in another city, long term. However, I think it is always nice to have a place, maybe not their original space, that they can come and stay at. I know a number of my kids friends who were devastated that their parents immediately bought a smaller house without an extra bedroom or just made the room an office, without any ability to use it again as a bedroom, even for weekend visits.
I love the weekend visits from the kids, so I will always have a place for them!

Marilyn - posted on 08/17/2009

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depends on what is discussed between parents and children, there are kids that when they leave home, and have the opportunity, they'd be heading back home as soon as they can;unfortunately,some are too happy to leave home and would hate to be back. on the other hand some are excited to be independent but would like to still be part of their home, this makes them feel secure, knowing there is still a place for them to go back ... wherever they go.... family ties will be a factor here

Kelli - posted on 08/16/2009

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Sounds like your kids have left the nest with positive results. Personally, my Mom redecorated my room the day after I moved out. I was devistated. Would have moved back after 2 weeks. But didn't feel like I had a home to return to. I was only 17. Left on bad circumstances. But in your case, I think you could move forward without fear. Just ask your kids. They sound very amicable and capable. BEST WISHES!!

Jackie - posted on 08/16/2009

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My youngest is in Kuwait and his wife came earlier this month and moved his stuff to there apt. at college. So hubby and bro decided last Friday to make me a craft room in that room. So I'd say its time when the spouse of youngest child moves them out. LOL

Charmele - posted on 08/16/2009

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5 minutes after they step out the door, if you're not behind them, LOL.

Maria - posted on 08/16/2009

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I have 1 child that just graduated law school she still comes home from time to time even though she has her own apt in Boston she likes to come home to her room, I have redone it to a mature girls room but she knowes she always has a place to come home too. My son just came back from 3 tours in Iraq after getting wounded and again his room as been redone but he is back home going to DCC

Michele - posted on 08/16/2009

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Congratulations on getting your Daughter through College! This is such an emotional question that depends on what type of relationship you have with your children. To show them how grown up they are - converting as soon as possible is best. It lets them know that you believe in them to make it on their own and aren't "Waiting at home" for them to fail by keeping their room. It allows you to move forward too. You'll always be a Mom, but you're also a woman and have your own life besides. Move ahead with joy and IF they ever need to come back home... then you can always rearrange the space until they are on their feet again, right?? Before the transition - take photos of the room and special momentos... then frame them and hang them in the room to honor your child. Good luck Susan! :)

Gail - posted on 08/15/2009

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It depends on the circumstance of their leaving. Going to the military or getting married, definitely go forward. Otherwise a guest room conversion leaves the options open for their return.

Susan - posted on 08/15/2009

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The doors are definitely revolving as I know they do return and they still need our help from time to time. My husband and I just want to know how to make the extra space useful.

Mandy - posted on 08/15/2009

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I think it should be at least 6 months to make sure they have settled in their new omes but your door should always be open for them to return, as my son was in a relationship had two children but then sadly when it broke down he came back to his mum ;-) the best and safest place on earth ;-) Hope this will help you to make your decesion ;-)

Pamela - posted on 08/15/2009

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Well that all depends on your children and how attached they are to you. What I mean is did you do your best to show them that they have to do everything u use to do for them, for there selves. I mean there is nothing wrong with converting there rooms but I think I would have a little bit of a hard time doing right away I would probley wait for a couple of months after that you could and if they needed to come back home well you could just make room for them in there old room, or find a diffrent area for your things.

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