How early is too early to make your kid’s bedroom into a guest room? (Or exercise room or craft room or whatever your selfish homeowner heart desires?) Can you pull down his posters and sports trophies as soon as he drives away for college? Must you leave her homecoming mums and ballet slippers in a makeshift shrine until her wedding day?

It’s been the topic of conversation in my newly-empty-nest circles lately, but we moms-of-new-graduates couldn’t seem to agree. Some had the paint cans ready while the LH cap and gown were still warm, others call that heresy.

I sought advice yesterday from LH’s Mary Beth Hickman. In some ways, she’s no expert – her oldest child is barely out of elementary school – but she’s young enough to remember the day SHE graduated from Lake Highlands High and set out for Baylor University. Best of all, she has the skills I needed to get me started. She’s gloriously organized and creative, and she works at the Container Store near NorthPark.

Mary Beth didn’t advise me on when I was allowed to paint Ben’s room a pale salmon or robin’s egg blue and she didn’t authorize me to put his keepsakes out on the curb for the trash man, but with a place for everything and everything in its place, I think I can finally see carpet again. Big win.

Note: Mary Beth also owns Lone Star Yard Art and paints the customized yardsigns promoting the various activities of students in LH (including the graduation cap/mortar board sign in the photo). You can see her work and order your sign here.