when a home stops being a home: letting go

The moment the decision is made to sell a home it stops being a home and becomes a house, a product, a commodity; a product for sell in a highly competitive market. It is problematic for many home owners who have difficulty detaching emotionally, who have trouble making the transition from home to product.

It’s hard to be objective about our homes, our taste, our furnishings, and our things. (I mean come on; we’re talking about our Stuff here.) Additionally, a home is often the repository of new dreams and old memories. Of course it’s hard for many people to detach and see the house and its furnishings objectively, to view their home as four walls, a floor, and a ceiling…a product.

 If it’s hard to let go, then consider these 5 thoughts:

 Look ahead:

1) Looking ahead is easier if you’ve already chosen the new space you’ll be living in. Visualize where the furniture will go, what colors you’ll use, where your treasures will live. Count up all the advantages of the new space: bigger yard, larger kitchen, more storage.

If you haven’t chosen a new space yet, imagine all the wonderful possibilities of what might be…the things you’ve always wanted that weren’t viable in your current home: walk-in closet in the master bedroom…no stairs… hot tub in the back yard…

 2) Count up the advantages of the impending move: closer to work, closer to Mom, farther away from Mom, more money on the new job, lower mortgage payments.

While honoring what’s being left behind:

3) Take photos: photograph what you love best about the house, and the areas that hold special memories: the view from the window, the flower garden, the children’s bedrooms and the growth chart penciled on the wall. Everything you want to remember about the house when you’re no longer living in it. Put the pictures into an album. No one else needs to see it, so be just as maudlin and sentimental as you chose. Consider including written memories. Add tangibles: a pressed flower from the garden or a leaf from the maple tree in the front yard.

4) Not everyone sees a house as an inanimate object. Some houses seem to have energy, a feel, an aura, an air that’s hard to explain in scientific terms. Ghost and horror stories thrive on the concept although that kind of energy is usually dark and malevolent. The other side of the coin is light and benevolent energy, perhaps the house is nurturing, or welcoming, or protective. Many folk will think that’s crazy. That’s okay; they can skip this part and move on. If you don’t find the concept crazy and if you feel that way about your house, it makes it even tougher to let go. So express it… think it, speak it, or write it. Explain, apologize, grieve, and above all give thanks for the sheltering, the memories, and the joys. Whatever your beliefs, giving thanks for the good things in our lives is nothing but positive. So express yourself, give thanks, and then move ahead. No matter who buys the house, what their style might be, or what changes they will make, your memories of the house will forever remain intact and unalterable. 


 5) And finally, realize that home is not defined by place. It is the people and relationships, the nurturing, trust, laughter, sharing, and joy that ultimately define a home. And that is something you can carry with you into the new house…to make a new home.

“Many a man who pays rent all his life owns his own home; and many a family has successfully saved for a home only to find itself at last with nothing but a house.”                                                                                                                    Bruce Barton                          


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