A month ago our family was packing up to leave our home in New York to head to Arizona. At about that time Danell, a fellow contributor, posted on the very topic we were experiencing. There were a few differences, but big moves are often met with similar sentiments.
The hardest part for me, as I think Danell would agree, isn’t physically packing and loading; the emotional packing is what gets us. My family has moved four times in the last two years, and as someone fairly experienced in this life event, I can offer a few bits that I’ve picked up along the way.
Whether you’ve lived there one year or twenty, memories were made. You may hate that toilet that always runs, but it is the one your child learned to use. As we packed, I walked around the house, often in tears, remembering where my son took his first steps. I watched him run around as he did every day, nearly wearing his mark into the wood floors. This is the house where I became “Baba”, where we watched five feet of snow create a frozen fort on our front lawn, where our son discovered the garbage truck and became fascinated with the snowplow. I’ll think of these moments fondly the rest of my life.
That being said, it’s important to say goodbye. In my case, I hug walls like Monica did in Bermuda (Friends reference, for the win). As goofy as it looks, if it’s something that brings me peace, so I do it. I go around and thank every single room for the shelter, warmth, and memories. My husband thinks it’s wacky but he deals with things his own way. Even if you don’t hug a wall, make sure you thank the house for all it has given you.
Don’t Pack Pictures
Being a highly sensitive person, this process is all very difficult for me. One task my husband takes on is packing pictures. I’m not entirely certain why this bothers me so, but it could be because it leaves the walls so bare. Bare walls are cold and uninviting, and it almost hurts to watch your home become so cold in the last few days.
In the time leading up to the move, we prepare ourselves as best as the Internet allows for our next location. A week before our feet hit the desert ground, I knew three restaurants I wanted to try, the gyms I needed to check out, and had a list of splash pads to visit. It always takes about a month for the dust to settle, but there will be times where you just want to drop the unpacking and cleaning and enjoy your new city or town.
By saying a proper “goodbye” to your home, you are mentally and emotionally processing the event in a healthy way. If there are chores that bring you added grief, switch them with someone. I’ll take packing the dishes any day if hubby handles the pictures. And don’t forget to get excited! Yes, moving is sad at times, but there is something sensational about discovering a new place for the first time.
There’s a reason why moving is listed as one of the most stressful events we go through as humans; I truly don’t know how my husband survives my moving neurosis. Just remember, there are ways we can avoid a little added baggage in the midst of it.