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How to Say Goodbye to a Beloved Home

Even if you want to move, making the transition isn’t always easy.

Say GoodbyeA home can feel like a beloved member of your family. After all, it’s the haven you return to after a difficult day, kicking off your shoes and breathing a sigh of relief. Even if you want to move, saying goodbye isn’t easy. Here are some ways to make it easier to let go.

1. Make a photo album

If you’ve staged the house for sale, it’s never looked better. The paint is fresh, the clutter is gone, and all the annoying broken things you’ve lived with for so long have finally been fixed. That’s part of what makes it so hard to say goodbye: It’s your familiar house, but the equally familiar imperfections have been scrubbed away.

Take thorough pictures before you stage and after, so you can remember what it was like when it was full of your stuff and also what it was like when it was cleaned up. Don’t rely on your real estate agent’s photos — they may be taken down when the house sells, and they won’t necessarily document your favorite parts of the house.

2. Take a piece of it with you

Unless you specifically say so in the agreement of sale, you can’t take things like hardware, light fixtures, or garden plants. But you can take cuttings — many plants root easily in a jar of water and can be transplanted to the garden at your new house. If that’s not practical, press leaves from your garden in a scrapbook. If you can’t live without the midcentury modern light fixture on the second-floor landing, replace it with a new one before you put the house on the market or specify that it’s not for sale along with the rest of the house.

3. Focus on what’s next

You have good reasons for putting your home on the market. Maybe you need to move to a less expensive home. Maybe a job change is causing you to leave the area. Maybe you need more space. If you’re grieving, revisiting the positive aspects of the change will help. Make a list about what is going to be better about your life after you move and think about how you can make your new home just as wonderful as the one you’re leaving.

4. Keep your neighborhood friends

If you’ll miss the neighbors, exchange phone numbers or ask them if they’d like to connect on social networks. You may have lived side by side for years, chatting frequently without even needing to exchange phone numbers. Your friendship will change when you’re no longer living in the neighborhood, but it doesn’t have to be over.

5. Throw a party

It’s easier to be sad when you’re alone, so throw one last party to commemorate your time in the house, or schedule a housewarming party not long after you move into your new place. There’s nothing wrong with a little nostalgia, but making new happy memories will take the sting out of a painful transition.