We are moving from the across the county from Colorado to New York, selling the house we have lived in for the last 16 years.
This house is the only one our children remember, and for several of them the only house they have ever lived in.
My husband and I asked the kids about some special memories they wanted to share. “All my memories are here, mom,” my daughter Kiersten reminded me. “I can’t choose.” This is all our children know when they think of the word home.
How do you say goodbye to a house you have loved?
How do you begin to bring closure to a place that holds so much shared history?
Last weekend we had the chance to gather for a time of devotion and blessing. It wasn’t long or fancy, but it was meaningful for our family. Here is what we did.
How to Say Goodbye to a House You Have Loved
1. Share Memories in Each Room
We walked through the rooms of our house and shared memories in each one. We shared positive memories, but didn’t shy away from the negative ones either. Mike and I learned some of the stuff the kids got away with. Our kids learned parts of family history from when they were too little to remember.
- We reminisced about when we finished the basement and the kids were too scared to sleep downstairs at first. Now they are teenagers and we have to pound on the walls to get them to come up.
- We talked about years of Christmases with different locations of the Christmas tree.
- We talked about all the colors of bedroom walls over the years, and found teeny places where you can still see flecks of blues, reds, and pinks if you know where to look.
- We remembered who shared bedrooms when, and where there was placement of cribs, toddler beds, bunk beds, and lofts.
There was plenty of, “Oh yeah, I remember that!” and, “I never knew that!” and, “That was my favorite one.”
2. Say a House Blessing
As we walked from room to room sharing our memories, Mike also said a house blessing in each room.
Mike used a house blessing similar to this one: How to Do a House Blessing
(Here is another house blessing resource.)
While a house blessing is often done by a pastor, it can be done by any leader of the home. We often think of a house blessing as proper when you move into a house (a great time to do it!), but it can be done at any time.
If your family has gone through a time of trial or difficulty within your home, consider a house blessing as a way to ask God to come into your home and refresh your family’s faith life.
These words are not a magical incantation and will not cause everything in your house to suddenly turn into perfection. Yet there is power here, often beyond what we can humanly understand. Consider Isaiah 55:11, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (KJV)
3. Break Bad Memories
Not all memories in a house are good ones. We decided to formally say goodbye to the bad memories.
We took an old desk that was in the Goodwill pile (lots and lots of stuff is currently in the Goodwill pile) and took turns writing down negative memories we had from our time living in this house.
Then we destroyed it! Time to let it go. We are forgiven and ready to start fresh.
4. Leave a Secret Message
We are leaving the kids’ backyard play fort behind, so we figured that would be the perfect place to leave a fun secret message for the new owners of our home. Maybe soon or maybe later, their kids will find our hidden messages!
5. Take Pictures
Some of the most helpful advice I’ve learned when it comes to sorting through the stuff and de-cluttering of moving is to take pictures of meaningful items instead of keeping all the items. That way your house won’t be cluttered with stuff you don’t use. What matters is the memories, and you have those.
The same is true of a house you have loved. Take plenty of pictures and remember it’s the memories that matter.
There are many ways to say goodbye to a house you have loved. It doesn’t have to be fancy to be meaningful.
How have you said goodbye to a house you have loved?
After the Boxes Are UnPacked — book
Moving with Kids — book
Moving Stretch Wrap –highly recommend!
1-800-Got Junk — removal company, highly recommend
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