How to Say Goodbye to Your Home Once It’s Sold

If you’re in the process of selling a home you’ve lived in for many years, it could be quite difficult to say goodbye forever to the place that has come to mean much more to you than simply four walls and a roof.

After all, this was where you made hundreds of memories, so driving off into the sunset may not suffice. Toward that end, here are six ways to cleverly honor your abode when it comes time to bid it adieu.

1. Go room by room

Since your home has ushered you and your family through special milestones in your lives, it’s a good idea to develop a ritual before leaving. Start by going into every room of the house and talking about your favorite memories in that space—like when your son drew all over a hallway wall in your home and you had to repaint it.

Also talk about something you wish you all would have done in that room, such as put glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling. Then have each family member say, ‘Goodbye, room,’ and move on to the next.

2. Commission a painting

A few weeks before leaving your home, commission a painting of the place where you’ve lived for so long from a professional artist. Then make that painting the very first thing you put up in your new house. As your children get older and ask about where they previously lived, you’ll be able to point to the painting. Maybe it will help them remember that time in their lives.

3. Erect an art installation

You might ask the buyer to let you put up a final art installation as a farewell like Gary Sweeneydid when he sold his childhood home in Manhattan Beach. The result: “A Manhattan Beach Memoir: 1945–2015,” which pays homage to his life there by covering the walls, both inside and out, in 100 enlarged photos his dad took of them as kids.

People came from across the country to see this tribute before the house was torn down, and while Sweeney was sad he had to move out, he added that the project really softened the blow.

4. Gather seeds for sowing

If you find yourself having to leave behind gorgeous plants and fruit trees that you’ve spent years nurturing, consider repotting smaller plants or taking seeds from the fruit trees. Not only is it a great way to say goodbye, but also to take a little of your previous home with you. 

5. Do one thing there you never got to do previously

Think about honoring your home with authentic luau, for example, complete with a roasted pig cooked in the ground. And be sure to invite all of your closest friends. A good time is sure to be had by all.

6. Get it on videotape

When the time comes to move away, make sure your camcorder has the right date and just started filming everything—the bedrooms, bathrooms, living room, kitchen, and hallways.