When it’s time to sell your home, whether due to financial necessity or another reason, it can be hard to let go. This is especially true if you have lived in a place for a long time and have a lot of memories tied to it. Maybe you brought your first child home there or it was the first house you bought with your significant other.
It’s completely normal to feel sad about leaving a home that you have loved, particularly if you aren’t leaving willingly. If you are selling because you need the money, because you’re getting divorced, or because you have a new job in another location, this can make it even harder to let the old house go. Fortunately, there are ways to make the process easier on yourself. (See also: 5 Signs You’re Ready to Sell Your House)
Focus on what you gain
Start by remembering what you stand to gain from selling your home. If you need the money, think about the debt you can pay off by selling the house. If you’re struggling to pay the mortgage, consider what your life will be like without that stress every month. Consider the freedom you’ll have, the better pay or office environment waiting at your new job, or the way you’ll be better able to focus on other goals and values.
This may feel forced at the beginning, but make yourself list these things out. It will help to write them down where you can see them. Then, when you start to feel down about moving, look at your list and remember why you chose to sell in the first place. (See also: 8 Signs You’re Paying Too Much for Your Mortgage)
You may find that your real home is wherever the people you love are. This may be your spouse, your parents, your kids, or friends who are like family. When you think of home in terms of people rather than in terms of a place, it can make it easier to leave a house that you have loved.
Neutralize the home early
Most realtors suggest making your home less personal so that it will appeal to potential buyers. This means removing family portraits, framed diplomas, and anything else personalized that screams you. While their intent is to make it easier for potential buyers to see themselves and their own things in your home, it can also help you let go, too.
Sure, it’s hard to take your memories down off the wall. Once you’re used to not seeing them there, though, you’ll find yourself beginning to detach emotionally from the home. Slowly, you’ll realize that you carry your memories within yourself — they don’t require the house. If you’re really struggling to let go of your home, it may be a good idea to do this earlier rather than later. That will give you more time to detach and will help you see your home as a product to be sold.
Give yourself the time and space you need to say goodbye to your home in your own way. This will look different for everyone. You may want to throw one last big party at your house. On the other hand, you may want to kick everyone else out and spend time alone in each room, remembering the things that happened there and why you hold those memories so dear.
Some people find that it helps to go through some sort of goodbye ritual. They may want to burn sage in every room, or say a prayer or blessing. The important thing is that you find something you feel is right in helping you make peace with saying goodbye and moving forward.
Let yourself grieve
Grief is not a process you can complete overnight. Even if you effectively say goodbye to your house, you may find yourself thinking of it and feeling sad for a long time after your move. Instead of pushing these feelings away and telling yourself that they aren’t helpful, let yourself feel them. You may experience more than sadness, as grief can take make forms; anger, confusion, frustration, and more. Acknowledge these feelings, recognize that you won’t feel this way forever, and give yourself proper time to get over your loss.
It can be hard to leave a house you loved, but with time, your heart will heal and move on. Remember that one chapter closing means another is opening, so try to take an optimistic point of view in embracing the next adventure. You’ll have a new place to call home, which means you get to make new memories there with the people you love. Eventually, you’ll look back on your old home with a fondness that comes without sadness.