Saying Goodbye to One Home and Hello to Another
Honor your past and embrace your future with these ideas for easing the transition during a move
Leaving a home, especially one you’ve lived in for many years, can be hard — and so can getting settled into a new house that doesn’t really feel like home yet. Whether you are downsizing or moving into your dream home, these ideas should help ease the transition.
Take photos of your old home before you pack your stuff. Part of what’s hard about leaving a place is knowing you’re also leaving the time you inhabited it. Little ones will be growing bigger in the next home, and everyone will be on to new things. Documenting your old house is just as much about treasuring where you are at this moment in life as it is about those hardwood floors and great light. If you have kids, be sure to include a few photos of them in your old home, doing what they do best: playing, building, drawing on the table, dropping cereal on the floor; you’ll appreciate it later.
Take pictures of your rooms when they’re not clean and tidy, but just as they are on a normal day. The snapshot of life as you live it is far more meaningful than tidiness. If you want, collect the photos into a small album with a photo of your home and the address on the front. This album has a dual purpose — it’s good for working through emotions you may be feeling about leaving a beloved home, and it acts as a realistic record to look back on when you find yourself waxing nostalgic.
Leave your mark. If you’ve ever found an artifact from another time hidden in an attic or under a floorboard, you know how thrilling it can be. Why not leave your own little treasure for some future owner to find? Go classic with a time capsule, write a letter or let your child leave a small treasure box. Or leave your mark in a more literal way by carving your initials into a secret spot, like in an attic or on the ceiling of a closet.
Have a “goodbye, house” party. Invite your closest friends and family to celebrate at your old place one last time. There’s no need to clean up — partying amid the moving boxes is totally acceptable. If you can, have music playing for ambience, and ask friends to bring paper plates and takeout snacks. And if you’ve made friends of some of the neighbors, don’t forget to invite them, too.
Toast your old home. Raise a glass of champagne or cider, and toast your old house before you go. If one toast doesn’t seem like enough, invite friends and family to share stories about things that happened at this house, and end each story with a hearty “To the house!”
Freshen up. Moving into a new house can be an unsettling experience. Nothing looks, feels or even smells the same. Start things out on the right foot by giving the new place a quick refreshing with good-smelling organic cleaning spray in cupboards and on counters and floors. Open the windows on your first day in the new home and light a few candles in the evening.
Treat your new home to a few special goodies. They don’t need to be much, because after a big move, even the littlest pleasures will be most welcome. Think a bouquet of flowers from the grocery store, a bar of your favorite soap or a stack of fluffy new hand towels.
Host a housewarming party, no gifts required. It should be about bringing some life and love into your new space, not getting stuff, so feel free to include a friendly “no gifts, please” on the invites (or in the email). Who you invite is totally up to you — some folks enjoy inviting all of the new neighbors, open-house style; some enjoy a more tightly knit celebration with family and a few friends.
Put your stamp on the new place. Paint a wall, hang some art, order curtains — it doesn’t really matter what, just do something that makes your new place feel like you. Investing time and bringing treasures into your new house will help propel you toward feeling at home.