It’s been said that home is where the heart is. Your home has seen holiday dinners and birthday parties, playdates and science projects, arguments and reconciliations. Moving out of the house where you raised your family may feel like leaving a piece of your heart behind.
For many empty nesters, a decision will come to move out of the family home. Perhaps you are embarking on your long awaited beach retirement or realizing your dream of a smaller, low-maintenance home. Although you are happy about your future plans, you may feel sadness when the time comes to move out. While this is to be expected, there are some things you can do to help with this transition.
1. Make a keepsake album.
Family photos are often taken in the home, but the house itself is rarely the main subject. Begin with a nice exterior picture of the house and then take pictures of each room. Don’t forget to take a few close-up pictures. Did you spend days deciding on new faucets in the bathroom? Is there a wallpaper border or decorative moulding that you always loved? Be sure to include these details.
By putting pictures of your home in their own album, you not only make a memory book for yourself but for your children as well. Someday your grown children will love to flip back through the book and show their own children the home where they grew up.
2. Have one last family get-together.
Invite your children for a family dinner and plan to spend the evening doing something that you all enjoy. Your family may even decide to spend one last night in their old rooms and have breakfast together in the morning.
This is a great time to talk about your memories of growing up together in your home and how all of your lives are changing. Even though they no longer live with you, your grown children may have mixed feelings about your move and feel the need to say a final goodbye to the home where they grew up.
3. Host a house cooling party.
House warming parties have long been in vogue, but house cooling parties are a rising trend. The many wonderful years in your home deserve a celebration. Bring together your closest family and friends to reminisce and say goodbye.
A house cooling party can range from a simple dinner to a full blown party. It can even be a pizza party in the empty house after the furniture has been moved out -- but be careful not to spill before the new owners move in. The idea is to simply gather your family and close friends for one last get-together in your home.
4. Write a note for the new owners.
Leaving a note for the new owners can help you remember that your home will still be loved. In this note, do not attempt to tell your life story. The new owners will want to make their own memories and not feel like they are living in someone else’s home. Write a few simple lines in a card saying that you loved raising a family in this home and hope that they will be happy here as well.
Transition periods are often bittersweet. Celebrating the moments spent in your family home will help you say goodbye to this phase of your life and move more freely into your next adventure.