Estate agents’ windows are full of images of smiling people opening their bright new front door and enjoying coffee in their sparkling new kitchens. While moving home does represent a new start, you can’t escape the fact that you have to leave your old home behind and this can be very painful for many people, for many different reasons.
Selling your home can feel like selling part of your history
If you’ve been in your home for quite a while, then you’ll have been through quite a lot, especially if it’s the place you brought up your children. Your home may feel like your refuge or your castle and well and truly, well, yours. No-one else’s.
Giving up that stability and sense of belonging is naturally going to be hard, even if you’re looking forward to the move, so don’t try to fight it; just look for ways to make it easier.
Start the process by depersonalising your property
Part of what makes a place yours is the things in it. Your cricket trophies, the kids’ artwork on the fridge, your books, the squeaky kitchen door…
You probably already started to declutter and depersonalise when you went on the market, so continue this process and fix that squeaky door so your property starts to sound and feel less like home. This might seem brutal, but you’re disconnecting from the pile of bricks and mortar and gathering your feelings and memories into a bubble that you can take with you.
Collect some artefacts
No-one can take your memories from you, but you can take some mementoes with you to your next home. You could create an artwork from some old wallpaper, an old carpet cutoff or curtain fabric, for example. If you love your garden, sealing some cuttings in acrylic might be an idea, or you could collect seeds from your favourite flower or herb to plant in your new home.
Don’t feel like you have to put on a brave face
Bottling up your emotions just makes things worse, so talk about your sadness with friends and family. You might find that they have some good ideas for staying in touch. Another good idea is to join the social media pages for your old home so you can stay abreast of events there and feel part of things. Let people know you’re excited but sad about leaving and share stories about times past.
Start to build bridges in your new home
Social media can be invaluable when it comes to maintaining older connections and it’s also useful in forging new ones. Join local pages for your new area and make yourself known, even before you move. You might find you’re going to a ready-made social circle. Part of the reason we feel sad at leaving a familiar place is because we’re not quite sure what we’re moving to, so making connections and finding out when the dog-walking group meets can create a soft landing.
Finally, throw a party to say goodbye
Lots of us need a defining event to make any sort of transition, so if you feel up to it, have a big neighbourhood party to say your goodbyes. You can also use the party to offload any belongings that aren’t going to be going with you, as well as to make sure that everyone has your new address.
Ultimately, remember that a house is just bricks and mortar and it’s the life you lived in it that made it a home.