The unthinkable has happened. Whether through death, divorce, or separation, you’ve become a single parent. From now on, for the foreseeable future, it will be your children and you against the world.

Along with the other adjustments you’re making, you should rearrange your living space to accommodate your new family structure. A little planning now can make life easier for you and more pleasant for everyone in the household in the challenging months ahead.

The pleasant part of this operation will be that you, as the sole adult in the exercise, will be the boss. You can set things up according to your preferences, to make your life easier. You’ll be assuming extra responsibilities in the days ahead, and time-consuming housekeeping chores should not be a high-priority.

Let’s consider a room-by-room makeover. Changes don’t have to be all made at once, but if you have a final outcome in mind, you can take small steps toward its fulfilment as financing and opportunity become available.

Your bedroom: this is going to be your refuge, your retreat from the hustle and bustle of the world and from the challenges of your new life. It should be decorated in your favorite colors and as comfortable and welcoming as you can make it. Nice to have: a phone, a TV, good books, lots of pillows and whatever else will help you relax. You should have a desk or table where you can keep important papers, records, pay bills, and take care of correspondence.

The children’s rooms: they should choose the color schemes. There should be a desk for each one to do homework, lots of shelving to make tidying up easier, and a laundry hamper for each child to deposit his dirty clothes. If the child is old enough, he should be responsible for keeping his own space tidy.

When the child can read, it’s helpful to label dresser drawers with what goes into them. Then, they can put their own laundry away.

If children must share a bedroom, they will have to agree on a color scheme and present you with their decision. They should also have input into how the furniture is arranged. They will be jointly responsible for keeping the area tidy.

Kitchen: meals may be less regulated than before in your former well-ordered life, and that’s OK.