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TheStreet Open House

10 DIY Projects for Empty Nesters

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- Sending your kids off to college is a bittersweet moment: You're excited they're about to embark on a great journey, but you're sad to see them leave the house. While they'll be home for the major holidays and during the summer, your household undoubtedly changes as you're now considered an "empty nester."

Parents may decide to sell the house and downsize after the kids leave for college or take the time to focus on some home improvements. Regardless of your choice, taking on a few do-it-yourself projects to spruce up the home and add value is a wise idea whether you plan to sell or stay in the home.

MainStreet asked the design pros to weigh in on 10 DIY projects for empty nesters.

Garage shelving

It may not be enough to simply clean out the garage. Your garage may need a complete overhaul.

Robert Palmarozza, President of Mr. Handyman Tri-County offers these steps for getting your garage into shape:

  • 1. Clean everything out of the garage and wash down the floor with a dish detergent and bleach - rinse well.
  • 2. If you wish to paint the floor, a one-part epoxy is available from most home centers and is fairly easy to use. Follow the directions on the can and allow plenty of drying time.
  • 3. For shelving, the last 18 inches of space near the ceiling is rarely used and is great for storing items you only use occasionally.
  • 4. Purchase enough brackets so each shelf has at least three brackets.
  • 5. Purchase shelves - shelves can be simple ' plywood (ask the home center to cut a full sheet of plywood into 16 inch x 8 foot pieces, 3 per sheet).
  • 6. Once you find a stud in the wall, use a level to draw a vertical line to mark the stud when installing multiple shelves below each other. Start at the highest shelf and work down.
  • 7. Use 1 ' inch deck screws to secure the brackets to the wall and use shorter screws to secure the shelf to the bracket (a powered screwdriver or pre-drilling holes works best here).
  • Home gym

    There's no excuse not to work out if there's a gym inside your house. Turning a spare bedroom into a home gym is bound to get you to work out more and add value to your home if you're aiming to put your house on the market. Palmarozza shares these tips:

  • 1. Purchase rubber floor tiles, which provide soundproofing and some water resistance. It may be a good idea to install an extra piece of the rubber tile under any heavy pieces of equipment.
  • 2. Consider installing mirrors on one side of the room so you can see if you are following proper exercise technique.
  • a. Mirrors can be installed with special mirror clips

    b. Measure for the mirror location and install the two bottom clips loosely

    c. Put one piece of double sided tape on the top side of the back of the mirror

    d. Install the mirror on the bottom clips and push the top to the wall

    e. Install the top clips while the double stick tape holds the mirror in place

    Installing a ceiling fan

    Whether you're adding a ceiling fan in your new home gym or in another bedroom, a ceiling fan is a cost effective way to cool down a room without having to run the air conditioning.

    For this DIY project, you'll need a screwdriver, wire cutters, a ladder and, in some cases, an extra set of hands to help.

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